TERRE HAUTE —
“O beautiful, for spacious skies … for amber waves of grain.
“For purple mountain majesties … above the fruited plain …”
Those famous lyrics became less a declaration of America’s beauty than a commentary on the torturous journey Indiana State’s men’s basketball team unwillingly embarked on to get home from Hawaii.
The Sycamores saw nearly everything America has to offer in their return trip from the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Or at least, they flew over most of it.
The Sycamores literally went from sea-to-shining sea in a snow-distorted odyssey that took them from Polynesia to Philadelphia and several points in-between.
After it was over, it’s highly doubtful at the end of it that they felt God had shed his grace on thee.
HNL-PHX-PHL-ORD. Those aren’t airport abbreviations as much as code for how hellish things were for ISU as they tried to get back to snowy Indiana.
“It was a tough deal. There’s no question,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
It was already going to be a challenge to be fresh for today’s Missouri Valley Conference opener against Illinois State hot on the heels of a Hawaii trip. The travel nightmare the Sycamores suffered to get home added an unwelcome degree of difficulty to the proceedings.
“It was a long couple of days and a long couple of nights of travel. We were prepared [for delays], but it was a little worse than expected,” ISU guard Lucas Eitel said.
ISU’s plan leaving Hawaii was to catch a Tuesday night US Airways red-eye flight out of Honolulu, connect via Phoenix, Ariz., and return to Indianapolis on Wednesday morning.
Tuesday night’s snow storm that left Terre Haute mostly spared, but hit the rest of Indiana hard threw those plans completely out the window.
ISU got to Phoenix, but by then, ISU’s flight to Indianapolis had been canceled. ISU was then flown to US Airways eastern hub in Philadelphia with the hope that it could get on a flight to a still-open Indy airport.
No dice. After the long flight from Phoenix to the city of Brotherly Love, ISU landed to find out that the Indianapolis airport was closed. They had the choice to bus home to Terre Haute from Philadelphia — a 12-hour trip — or spend the night in Philly, fly to Chicago the next day, and bus to Terre Haute.
The Sycamores chose the latter and finally got back to Terre Haute around 2 p.m. on Thursday.
“At one point, we were traveling for 22 hours straight. It was a long ordeal and it was awful difficult on the guys. You play three games in four days and throw travel on top of that? Your body is messed up,” Lansing said.
Lansing consulted Butler coach Brad Stevens and Creighton coach Greg McDermott (who had a miserable travel experience when he was at Iowa State) for advice on how to handle the situation.
ISU did its best to minimize the hit from the travel woes. Practices on Friday and Saturday were light.
“We don’t want to use the travel as an excuse, but we went light the last couple of days. I think we all felt good [on Saturday] and we’ll be ready to play,” Eitel said.
The bad travel experience couldn’t come at a worse time. ISU will play three MVC games this week starting today against the cream of the conference.
Illinois State, today’s foe, was picked second in the preseason poll. Northern Iowa, Wednesday’s road opponent, was picked third. The week finishes with a trip to preseason favorite Creighton on Saturday.
The Redbirds (9-3) have a familiar cast of characters. Big man Jackie Carmichael is a four-year regular. Guard Tyler Brown has been a standout in the last two seasons. Jon Ekey provides veteran versatility. Bryant Allen, Johnny Hill and John Wilkins are all experienced.
The significant change for Illinois State is that Dan Muller is the head coach. Former coach Tim Jankovich left the Redbirds to become the head coach-in-waiting under Larry Brown at SMU.
Muller has changed Illinois State’s look from their days under Jankovich. The Redbirds mostly lived up to their billing with losses to Northwestern, Louisville (a three-point road loss) and unbeaten Wyoming.
“They ran a lot of sets [with Jankovich]. They ran the Iverson screen across the top a lot and they don’t run that anymore. More than anything, they run transition. They don’t get in the half-court very much. They run-it-and-gun-it quick. Our transition defense will be important,” Eitel said.
ISU (7-4) will have center Justin Gant in its arsenal as the sophomore suffered his own ordeal in addition to the Sycamores’ travel woes. Gant was elbowed in the mouth during the second half of ISU’s 57-55 victory over Miami.
Half of Gant’s upper front tooth was broken off and flew across the lane for ESPN’s slow-motion cameras to record for excruciating posterity. Gant left the game against the Hurricanes and had to endure the pain of his broken tooth on ISU’s long trek home.
On Friday, Gant had a root canal. He is no longer in pain and will have his tooth capped later this month. He won’t have to wear any protective gear other than a mouthpiece in today’s game.
It’s important for ISU’s fortunes that Gant builds on his strong performance in Hawaii. He had a double-double against Mississippi in the first game and was an aggressive presence in the paint against San Diego State and Miami prior to his injury.
“The coaching staff did a great job preparing us for the games and getting us ready for their tendencies. We stepped up to the challenge and showed we can play. We need to do more of the same thing starting tomorrow,” Gant said.
ISU plays today in Hulman Center
TERRE HAUTE —
“O beautiful, for spacious skies … for amber waves of grain.
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.
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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
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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
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Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
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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.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
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ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
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Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
VIDEO: Munn has made her mark on ISU women's program
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Rose-Hulman wins third straight HCAC tournament crown
Tied with Hanover 26-26 at halftime of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship game Saturday night, host Rose-Hulman knew it had a couple of things in its favor.
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