TERRE HAUTE —
Jake Odum led Indiana State with 12 points in the Sycamores’ 62-59 win over Bradley on Saturday at Hulman Center. Odum also had four rebounds and four assists.
It wasn’t Odum’s greatest performance of his four-year career, but the influence that Odum had on the game, notably, in the way Bradley prepared its defense, was still considerable.
Bradley coach Geno Ford didn’t hold back the praise when asked about his team’s defensive plan against ISU. Bradley trapped ISU at times and went zone at others. Odum was in the crosshairs of Bradley’s plan.
“We felt like Odum’s way too good to have the ball on a string and go where he wants to. He’s so smart,” Ford said.
Ford then testified as to why Odum is so difficult to play against.
“You watch tape and let’s say Eitel makes a big one. I guarantee you if Eitel’s open for 0.1 seconds on the next trip, he’s going to get the ball because Jake registers all that stuff. He knows who’s got it going and who doesn’t. That’s what sets him apart from every other guard in our league and many in the country,” Ford said.
“I’ve seen clips of Cummings or Khristian Smith get going and he just spoon-feeds them,” Ford added. “He’ll drive just so you have to help. He doesn’t even drive thinking score; he can, but he’ll drive in there and probe, he kind of turns his back, and backs you down like a 40-year-old at the Y.”
Ford added that he thinks Odum could be a good coach if he wanted to be because of his smarts.
Ford also thinks the Sycamores are legitimate contenders for the Missouri Valley Conference championship. ISU has its first 4-0 MVC start since 1979. With Bradley playing at Wichita State on Tuesday, Ford has been able to compare and contrast both teams as he prepared for a short turnaround to his next contest.
“I’ve watched a ton of tape of them and a ton of tape of Wichita. Wichita is outstanding — great coach, great roster of players — but if there’s one team [in the MVC], I think Indiana State is right there with them. They’re as close to being as good as them as you can be,” Ford said.