TERRE HAUTE —
Soooo … who wants to talk about the 2012 Indiana State men’s basketball season?
It’s funny. Ever since Tuesday’s hard-to-fathom, fall-from-ahead 67-60 loss to Robert Morris in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at Hulman Center, anyone who had a stake in the 2012 season — fans, etc. — couldn’t run far enough away from it.
There’s really no point in doing a lengthy autopsy here. ISU’s season was defined by lack of toughness. ISU coach Greg Lansing put it another way, repeatedly saying during the season that the team, “couldn’t handle success.” Very true.
Yet another way to put that is that the Sycamores’ 2011 NCAA Tournament run, and expectations that came from it going into the season, conspired to create overconfidence. Too often forgotten by the Sycamores in the multitude of disappointing 2012 performances was the work ethic displayed by the 2011 team that got them to a point of earning expectations to begin with.
The 2011 team was hungry and had something to prove. The 2012 team? Too often they walked into a gym wondering why the food wasn’t already on the plate.
Even the unquestioned highlight of the season — the 61-55 win at No. 25 Vanderbilt on Dec. 17 — probably worked against the Sycamores in hindsight. The last thing this particular ISU team needed was a belief that they had arrived prior to the Missouri Valley Conference season. One 2-7 MVC start later, they had arrived all right — in ninth place.
(From a basketball standpoint, the Sycamores also missed Aaron Carter. Carter was a decent defender during his senior season and ISU did not have an effective combination shooter-driver in 2012 in his mold.)
The bittersweet taste of an 18-15 season that left hungry ISU fans feeling empty in its wake has been understandably disconcerting. I’ve heard more than one ISU fan say the 2011 season was a mirage — that the NCAA Tournament bid was the by-product of three days of good fortune in St. Louis and wasn’t representative of where the program really is.
As gloomy as some of my assessments of 2012 are, this is where I light a candle in the darkness. I’m not buying it that the program is stuck in neutral.
The truth of where ISU’s program is lies somewhere in-between. Were expectations of MVC contention too much for the 2012 Sycamores to handle? Clearly. But is this team capable of better than eighth place? They are. And for all of the angst that that the 2012 season produced, there is hope for 2013.
It starts with junior-to-be Jake Odum, but it only partly has to do with his on-floor production. Odum is the unquestioned leader of this team — on and off the floor — for the next two years.
There’s no one on the roster who has the gravitas, experience (would-be senior Koang Doluony won’t be back), productivity, or the grit of playing through injury-related adversity as Odum has displayed in his first two seasons to challenge him as the team leader.
Odum has been the on-floor leader as the starting point guard since early in his freshman season, so one might ask how is this any different from the last two seasons? While he’s led on-the-court, Odum’s ability to lead off of it — a role he wants to have — has proven more difficult.
Odum didn’t always have a bully pulpit with the older players on the roster, a contributing factor in the disappointing season. With those players gone, Odum can and should be trusted to demand accountability from his teammates.
Accountability … it is so vital when it is demanded from a teammate or teammates in addition to the coaches. Odum has to demand it. He can’t worry about irking his teammates if the occasion calls for it.
One of ISU characteristics in the eight years I’ve covered the men’s basketball team is the dearth of players who could do that. While the Sycamores have almost universally had good guys in that time period, very few of them had the gumption to challenge a teammate to get better or get in their face if he was slacking or holding the team back.
Odum has a unique opportunity to have a two-year window to amend that. He doesn’t need to go around raving like a lunatic, but his teammates should know they have to answer to him as well as the coaches if they aren’t doing their jobs.
Juniors Steve McWhorter, R.J. Mahurin and Lucas Eitel also need to be more vocal and join Odum to change the culture of teammate-to-teammate accountability. To wit, that trio all has segments of their games that they need to improve. Via their work ethic, they can not only improve their own games, but set the example for their teammates as to how things are done.
Past that, the various basketball-related pieces the other 2013 Sycamores have in tow — Manny Arop and Khristian Smith’s potential scoring prowess, Rhett Smith’s versatility, Devonte Brown’s quickness, improvement from Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell, etc. — will only be maximized if they demonstrate complete buy-in. A lot of that buy-in has to come from Odum.
Past is prologue. The 2012-13 roster will be almost entirely comprised of players whose college basketball experiences have been formed from the delight of 2011 and the disappointment of 2012. They have two years left to turn the bad experience into a positive one.
It won’t be easy — the MVC is going to be good in 2013 and there’s no smoothly-paved road back to league contention.
But Odum is the wellspring if the Sycamores are to get there. Presuming he can return to health, Odum has the fortitude to lead the Sycamores to a happier place than where they are now.
He is the man. We’ll see where he can take this team as an upperclassman.
Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or email@example.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.
TERRE HAUTE —
Soooo … who wants to talk about the 2012 Indiana State men’s basketball season?
Abrams leads Illini over IU in Big Ten tournament
Now, Indiana waits.
To see if the NIT wants the Hoosiers for an at-large berth.
To see if Noah Vonleh will head to the NBA after one season in Bloomington.
No. 24 Ohio State holds off Purdue 63-61
Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter appreciated his team’s effort Thursday.
He still didn’t like the numbers on the box score — or the scoreboard.
Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross combined to score nine points in a late 12-4 run that gave No. 24 Ohio State control and the Buckeyes held on for a 63-61 win — only after Terone Johnson’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer came up short in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
ISU’s Abdul-Qaadir, Munn All-MVC selections
Senior guards Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Anna Munn have both been named to Missouri Valley Conference All-Conference teams, announced by the league on Wednesday. Abdul-Qaadir earned a spot on the first-team while Munn was named honorable mention.
History in making?: Indiana, Purdue need to reverse recent trends to keep offseason hopes alive
The state’s two Big Ten schools could begin the offseason as soon as tonight, depending on how they fare in the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Metro sports: ‘Lucky Lou’ strikes again on golf course
Retired Public Service Indiana employee Lou Mundell, a lifelong resident of Terre Haute, posted the fifth hole-in-one of his life Tuesday afternoon at the Harder Hall Country Club golf course in his winter home of Sebring.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida
Pitching dominated Tuesday’s opening day of play in the Rebel Spring Games for the Indiana State softball team, which defeated Bucknell 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Creighton.
“The girls did a great job in the first game getting a couple runs,” ISU coach Shane Bouman said. “We leaned on [sophomore] Yvette Alvarez who pitched really well. We probably got as much as we could out of her and probably should have changed earlier so put that on me. We have a couple little things we can clean up and get a little better and we will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Oh snap: Reed's 18-game hitting streak falls in No. 20 UK's loss at No. 16 IU
No. 16 Indiana mounted two-run rallies in the first and fourth innings and the Hoosiers ended the hitting streak of Terre Haute native A.J. Reed at 18 games to post a 7-2 win over No. 20 Kentucky on Tuesday.
Despite going hitless, Reed remains the NCAA leader in home runs (8) and RBI (28) for a potent Wildcats’ offense.
Kentucky (13-4) dropped its first game with the Hoosiers in the last four meetings, with the meeting marking the first time in modern UK history (2003-present) that the two teams faced off as top-20 foes.
Munn named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Indiana State leads the Missouri Valley with six of the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards after Anna Munn earned the recognition Tuesday for the 2013-14 season.
Munn joins Kourtney Mennen (2003), Melanie Boeglin (2006), Laura Rudolphi (2007) and Kelsey Luna (2009 and 2010) as winners of the award, which began in 2002.
ISU win streak at 12
Ryan Keaffaber recorded his sixth save in seven opportunities Monday as Indiana State won its 12th straight college baseball game, holding off a rally by visiting Western Illinois for a 7-4 victory on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Another Rose freshman making big splash
The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Guts, sweat, tears: Sycamores fall to perfect Shockers
No one on Indiana State’s men’s basketball needed to say a word about the Sycamores’ 83-69 loss to Wichita State in Sunday’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game.
Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best
It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge
When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.
Clock problems delay start of Indiana State semifinal game
Time stood still in Scottrade Center on Saturday.
Not by design.
Sycamores advance to Arch Madness title game
No one said advancing to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament championship game was going to be easy.
ISU women grab share of MVC regular-season title
The preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite lived up to its expectations, as the Indiana State women’s basketball team grabbed a piece of the regular-season title with an 85-72 triumph over host Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon inside McLeod Center.
Robinson leads No. 12 Michigan over Indiana
Glenn Robinson scored 20 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:10 to play, and Jordan Morgan had a double-double in his final home game to help No. 12 Michigan finish off its Big Ten championship season with an 84-80 victory over Indiana on Saturday night.
Michigan (23-7 15-3) avenged last year’s defeat in the last game of the regular season. In that game, Morgan’s tap-in rolled off the rim as time expired, giving the Hoosiers the victory and costing the Wolverines a share of the conference title.
ISU headed to MVC title game
Indiana State defeated Southern Illinois 62-59 on Saturday to advance to Arch Madness championship game.
Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals
It sounds counter-intuitive, but to go forward in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament you must first get stops. In Friday’s MVC Tournament quarterfinal against Loyola, ISU followed that bit of zen to a tee. The Sycamores never let the Ramblers get comfortable offensively and put a hammer-lock on Loyola standout Milton Doyle. ISU rode its defense to an easy 75-62 victory at Scottrade Center.
ISU baseball looking to carry success home
Indiana State had pitching questions coming into the season, having lost its entire starting staff from a year ago.
So far anyway, those questions have been answered. The Sycamores are 9-1 going into their home opener today against Western Illinois.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Indiana State women move within one win from MVC title
Senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had 23 points to lead Indiana State to a 73-71 win at Drake on Thursday. The point guard led four Sycamores in double figures in the win.
Anna Munn, Jasmine Grier and Chelsea Small each chipped in 11 points as ISU shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range as a team.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
Rose-Hulman seniors lead Engineers into NCAA Division III Tournament
For Rose-Hulman’s six senior men’s basketball players, this weekend will mark the beginning of their third and final appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Having left Terre Haute by bus Thursday, Rose (22-5) will open the Division III four-team regional at Hope College in Holland, Mich., today against Wheaton College (19-8) at the unique time of 5:30 p.m.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers are coming off Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular-season and tournament championships for the second consecutive year.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
Nebraska completes sweep of Indiana
Indiana’s slim hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid are all but done, unless the Hoosiers can win the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska never trailed Wednesday night, completing a season sweep of the Hoosiers with a 70-60 win. The loss ensures a losing conference record for IU (17-13, 7-10 Big Ten) while boosting the Huskers’ chances at an at-large berth.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
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- Abrams leads Illini over IU in Big Ten tournament