The 2012-13 Louisville basketball schedule continues to grow stronger as Illinois State announced late Tuesday night that it will be facing the Cardinals on Dec. 1 at the KFC Yum Center.
"I want to prepare our team for tough conference play and put our program and team in position to make the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid or winning the (Missouri Valley Conference) tournament," said new ISU coach Dan Muller. "You want to get exposure for your program.
"(This) will give us the opportunity to play against one of the best coaches in the country and one of the best teams."
It's been a tumultuous offseason for Illinois State, which first lost Tim Jankovich to a coach-in-waiting deal at SMU, and then star freshman point guard Nic Moore to transfer. Still, former Vanderbilt assistant Muller has more than enough pieces in place to at least make a run at earning an NCAA Tournament bid. Senior forward Jackie Carmichael is a force in the paint and the only player in the Missouri Valley who appears capable of going toe-to-toe with Creighton star Doug McDermott.
Most experts believe ISU will head into this season as the MVC's No. 2 team behind Creighton. The Redbirds fell to the Bluejays in overtime of the conference championship game last season.
This will be the second meeting between Louisville and Illinois State. The Redbirds lost to No. 16 Louisville, 117-107, on March 4, 1974 at Freedom Hall in Louisville. ISU has defeated three straight teams from the Big East, the most recent of which being a 76-70 win over Rutgers last season.
Though Valley teams don't typically engage in "guarantee" games, this deal requires no return trip for Louisville.