TERRE HAUTE —
Six-foot-10 … cubed.
In a bevy full of daunting numbers Indiana State’s men’s basketball team faces at it plays its season-opener at UCLA at 11 p.m. tonight, that might be the most terrifying of all.
The Bruins offer a myriad of challenges for the Sycamores, but their 6-10 trio of Travis Wear (11.5), David Wear (10.2), and center Joshua Smith (9.9) is biggest of all, literally and figuratively.
Given that ISU’s frontcourt was depleted by the loss of their sole true center Mike Samuels, UCLA’s 6-10 threesome will be hard to contend with.
“They’re huge. Other than Smith, these are guys who are really mobile and can run as good as guards,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
“They can handle the ball like guards,” Lansing continued. “They shoot like guards and they’re athletic as crazy. Smith is just a really big super-talented big man that would be hard for anyone to defend.”
Charged with dealing with UCLA’s big front line is a combination of Jake Kitchell, Justin Gant, R.J. Mahurin and Rhett Smith. The Sycamores know that while they can’t match the size, they have to at least be prepared.
“Coach Lou [Gudino] and I talk a lot about being a block-out big. To work positioning, because I’m not going to sky over someone to get a rebound,” Kitchell said.
“I think this week, more than any other, we need to focus on positioning and making sure we’re getting our guys and blocking them out. Keeping those big guys off the boards is a tough task, but we’re up for it,” he added.
UCLA’s excellence doesn’t stop with its frontcourt. North Carolina transfer Larry Drew II will make his debut. Drew averaged six assists per game as sophomore with the Tar Heels.
Highly-touted freshman Kyle Anderson, one of the nation’s most coveted recruits, will also make his debut. Then there’s junior Tyler Lamb (9 points per game), UCLA’s most experienced guard. He is nursing a knee injury, but might play tonight.
“The backcourt is really deep and then you throw one of the best coaches in the country? We’ll have our hands full. I respect them a ton,” Lansing said.
Up in the air is the status of 6-6 swingman Shabazz Muhammad, who was rated by some recruiting services as the No. 1-rated player coming out of high school.
Muhammad was initially ruled out due to a shoulder sprain. Moreover, Muhammad has yet to be cleared by the NCAA after questions have arisen about Muhammad receiving alleged impermissible compensation, which threatens his amateur status.
However, reports of out the Los Angeles media indicated Wednesday that Muhammad might be healthy enough to play if cleared by the NCAA in-time.
Finally, ISU was chosen to open the newly-renovated Pauley Pavilion. Legendary former UCLA coach John Wooden began his career at ISU — coaching from 1946-48 — and the Sycamores were deemed most appropriate to re-open the iconic facility.
Given that UCLA is the most decorated college basketball program of all-time, with 10 national titles won under Wooden, it’s a safe bet that the pomp and circumstance will be high when Pauley Pavilion is re-christened.
“This will be our first go-around, and it’s tough that it’s against one of the top teams in the country in that environment, but maybe you’re more locked-in and focused a bit?” Lansing said.
Odum, a veteran of spotlight wins in the 2011 MVC Tournament and in an upset win over ranked Vanderbilt a year ago, wouldn’t have ISU’s opener play out any other way.
“I love playing games like this. I get to put that chip on my shoulder and that’s what all of the guys on the team should do. We’re all at a mid-major program because those upper-tier teams didn’t think we were good enough. So we have to go out and prove we can play,” Odum said.
“We’re not individually better than each one of them, so it’ll take a whole team effort. Any five guys put together as a team can be better than any five they have out there,” Odum added.
n TV clearance — The ISU-UCLA game is scheduled to be broadcast on Fox Sports Midwest.
On satellite services, the game will go on as planned. On cable, the Indiana Pacers’ 8 p.m. game against Minnesota is not expected to interfere with the broadcast.
TERRE HAUTE —
Six-foot-10 … cubed.
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.
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
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
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
Anna Munn has been a dependable leader in the Indiana State women’s basketball program. Her leadership has helped coach Teri Moren build to back-to-back 10-or-more win seasons in the Missouri Valley the last two years.
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.
- More College Headlines
- Munn named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year