HAWL IN: Muller’s tweet for opponent brings incredible idea

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NORMAL, Ill. – He has every right to be upset. Oddly enough, being mad over a wrong by a basketball selection committee may have created a right.

Even if it was done in a place where a little bit of ranting doesn’t always lead to a desirable ending.

Dan Muller’s Illinois State team was left off the bracket for the NCAA Tournament this year. The coach was not happy – and he had reason to be. His Redbirds finished with a 26-6 record and were co-champions of the Missouri Valley Conference. They had a strong 33 RPI rating and reached the MVC Tournament Championship Game.

It wasn’t enough as the mid-major program got a major selection Sunday rejection as they finished as one of the first four out of the tournament. One of the reasons cited was lack of wins against big time opponents and that’s why Muller took to Twitter.

The coach has put out the call to major conference teams in hopes of attracting a game for next year and, in the process, giving Illinois State a shot at the win they were “missing” during their 2016-2017 campaign.

Well someone took him up on the offer.

This was from Ross Bjork, the athletic director of Mississippi, responding to Mullers’ offer. Indeed the Redbirds coach called up Andy Kennedy, the coach referred to in Bjork’s tweet, and an agreement was reached.

So was an incredible idea for this match-up.

The bitmoji is quite impressive but the idea for the game is heartwarming. The “TWARD Invitational” refers to the late Illinois State assistant coach Torrey Ward, who has had an impact on both programs.

He was an assistant for the Redbirds starting in 2012 and was elevated to associate head coach under Muller in 2014. Before that, Ward was an assistant for Kennedy at Ole Miss from 2006-2011 and even played for Andy when he was an assistant at UAB from 1997-2001.

Both sides mourned when Ward was killed along with six others in a plane crash on April 7, 2015. Illinois State kept the memory of Ward close over the last two seasons, wearing a patch with his initials along with the others killed in the accident.

The idea of using this game to honor Ward would be an incredible tribute to a man who had a lasting impact on both programs. Muller and his school were sure for it – and it sounds like Ole Miss feels the same.

Who said nothing good ever comes from expressing your opinion on Twitter.

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