News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

March 6, 2013

FROM THE PRESSBOX: Can Sycamores reverse fortunes heading into MVC Tournament?

TERRE HAUTE — Mastery of a basketball season comes in many forms. Mostly, it comes in forms that involve avoidance of turnovers, anemic scoring and poor defense.

The mechanics of X-and-O success in basketball are obvious, but what’s often overlooked in building a successful campaign is managing the rhythm of the season, which is the hardest thing of all.

Timing is everything, and no matter how good a team may be, if it’s off at the wrong time, the entire year can be morphed into something uglier than it really was. Conversely, if a team that has struggled to find itself hits its sweet spot at just the right time? It can turn an average season into something special.

There’s no better example of that than where Indiana State’s men’s basketball team finds itself as it heads to St. Louis for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Friday.

For the first two-thirds of the season, the Sycamores were the surprise team in the Missouri Valley Conference. Picked seventh in the preseason, ISU rose to first place and held on to it as late as Feb. 12. Conference wins over Wichita State and Creighton — both ranked at the time of the victories — harkened great things for the Sycamores come March.

Only it rarely works that way. Since Feb. 12, ISU has won just once and hasn’t won at all against MVC competition. Mixed in have been lackadaisical efforts — in particular, in losses at Bradley and at home to Drake.

Adding salt to the wounds was a suspension for second-leading scorer Manny Arop, a blow the Sycamores could ill afford to absorb when they were trying to get their sea legs to finish the regular season on a strong note.

The Sycamores’ 76-57 beatdown of Creighton at Hulman Center on Feb. 6 — when there wasn’t a cloud in the Sycamore sky —  seems so long ago.

Mired in a five-game MVC losing streak, and buoyed by the expectations built up by ISU’s success in the first part of the MVC season, some Sycamores fans are despondent. On a MVC-centric message board, one ISU fan called it a “miserable nightmare of a season” — one in which ISU clinched its fourth-straight winning season.

But when a team doesn’t get the timing right, as ISU has failed to do in the last third of the MVC season, perception becomes reality … no matter what facts fly in the face of emotion.

Right now, all hope seems lost. But the wavering faith ignores the one and only tried-and-true trait of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference season.

That nothing has been tried-and-true in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The MVC has always been described as a conference where teams beat each other up and that anyone can win from the first team down to the tenth. There’s always been a kernel of truth, but honestly, in most seasons, the teams that play on Thursday night in St. Louis have thoroughly deserved to be there. There’s a reason no play-in team has won at Arch Madness since 1998.

But this season might finally be the one where all of the old Valley parity chestnut rings true. The 2013 MVC season has been absurdly unpredictable. Who knows what to expect when the games begin on Thursday?

That’s the lifeline for ISU as it limps into Scottrade Center on Friday. Things are going badly now, but there’s been few seasons where so many teams’ fortunes have turned on a dime so quickly.

Take Wichita State. A week ago, as of this writing, they were all but anointed as presumed MVC champions. The Shockers only had to win one of their two remaining games to clinch the title. WSU then lost at home to Evansville and were beaten at Creighton. So much for the anointing.

Take Illinois State. The Redbirds started 0-6 in the MVC … guaranteed Thursday play-in material in any other season. But the Redbirds rallied to finish 8-10 in the MVC. They will kick back in their hotel room and relax on Thursday — the first time a team that started 0-6 avoided the MVC Tournament play-in round.

“The Valley’s all about making runs. Illinois State started off poorly and [finger click] like that … they turned it around. We made our run in the beginning. We’ve had our lull lately, but we know what kind of team we can be. In the middle of the season, everyone saw it. We’ve been working to get better every game. I think we’ll be prepared to make a run,” ISU guard Lucas Eitel said.

Things are bad for ISU right now. The Sycamores have had their turn in the doldrums. But the Sycamores are capable of recovering too. And if this MVC season has taught us anything, it’s that no team’s fate is written in stone.

No one stated it better than ISU point guard Jake Odum did on Tuesday.

“People can look at it as going into the tournament on a losing streak, or, you can look at it as that we’re due to come around and be successful. We’re a better team than we’ve been playing like lately. It’s going to even out,” Odum said. “I really believe we’re going to go into St. Louis and win this first game [against Evansville on Friday] and continue winning throughout the tournament.”

This MVC season is defined by teams turning on a dime at the right time. The Sycamores are overdue for a good spin of their own.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
College
  • SPT042314 ISUBB zimm bunt.jpg Clamping down: Pitching, defense lift ISU to third straight victory

    Indiana State’s baseball trip to Victory Field on Wednesday to face Butler turned into a virtuoso performance in pitching and defense.

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro roundup: Rose swimmer honored as CCIW’s best

    Rose-Hulman sophomore Orion Martin of Dublin, Ohio, has been named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Male Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year, according to voting by league coaches.

    April 23, 2014

  • MET 042114 TRACK MCNICHOLS.jpg Til it's over: Grand memories usher in a new era for ISU track

    John McNichols won his first Missouri Valley Conference championship in outdoor track at Indiana State’s Marks Field back in 1988. He’s gone on to win eight more — in addition to his two indoor track and eight cross country crowns. In 2016, McNichols will have a chance to add that outdoor title total on the site of a brand new facility — proposed to be named Gibson Track and Field by ISU President Dan Bradley.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left

    Indiana State is four shots out of the lead and McCall Christopher five shots from the individual lead after the second of three rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference golf championships was completed Monday at Panther Creek Country Club.

    April 22, 2014

  • UK_Mizzou_4-11-14_27_cw.JPG Immense power: A leaner A.J. Reed making play as elite prospect

    Reed took his talents to Kentucky and the Southeastern Conference in 2011 and hasn’t looked back in the baseball sense. After a standout career at Terre Haute South — he was Indiana’s Player of the Year in 2011 — area fans had an idea of the wind Kentucky was sowing when it coaxed Reed to Lexington, Ky.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational

    Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
    The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.

    April 19, 2014

  • ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series

    The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
    The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041614 SMWC jordan.jpg Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman

    Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
    But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 030714 ODUM 02O'LEARY.jpg Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola

    Matt O’Leary is one of three men's basketball players at Loyola recently granted a release from his scholarship from the Missouri Valley Conference school.
    The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond

    The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.

    April 15, 2014

  • ISU baseball holds off Eastern Illinois for 24th win

    Indiana State freshman left-hander Ryan Keaffaber won his first game as a Sycamore and senior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 as ISU defeated host Eastern Illinois 6-4 in college baseball Tuesday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Top returners lead Cream over Crimson in Hoosiers' spring game

    The Cream team at Saturday’s Cream and Crimson intrasquad game had Indiana’s top returning rusher and receiver and the Hoosiers’ top-rated passer from last season.
    No surprise, then, that Tevin Coleman, Shane Wynn and Tre Roberson guided the Cream to a resounding 24-14 win over the Crimson.

    April 12, 2014

  • Rose-Hulman baseball gets wild doubleheader sweep

    Host Rose-Hulman came back from an early six-run deficit in the first game Saturday and went on to a 13-12, 7-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball sweep over Mount St. Joseph.
    The wild opener featured a Rose-Hulman comeback from an 8-2 deficit and included 18 hits and two school records for the Engineers.

    April 12, 2014

  • METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball earns doubleheader sweep at Missouri State

    Yvette Alvarez’s one-hit shutout capped a dominant day of pitching Saturday as Indiana State swept a Missouri Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Missouri State by scores of 6-1 and 4-0.
    “We pitched well,” coach Shane Bouman said. “Both Taylor Lockwood in the first game and Yvette Alvarez in the second game threw great. When you pitch good and you play good defense and get some key hits, good things are going to happen.

    April 12, 2014

  • SPT 032414 COACH SANFORD.jpg ISU football set for first spring scrimmage

    Thanks to a limited number of available offensive linemen — a group that will at least double in numbers in the fall with the addition of recruits and currently injured players — the Sycamores won’t have a full-scale scrimmage, but will still intersperse scrimmage plays (with officials) among other practice drills.
    “We’re thin,” coach Mike Sanford admitted after practice Thursday. “The scrimmage will be part of practice — probably 30 or 40 plays altogether. We only have five to seven healthy offensive linemen, so we can’t go [in a scrimmage format] for long stretches of time.”

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis

    Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.

    April 10, 2014

  • ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2

    The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2

    April 9, 2014

  • SPT 040514 JACOB HAYES DIVE.jpg ISU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Wichita State

    Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs finally got what he’s been looking for from the Sycamores’ Friday and Saturday starters ... and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
    Preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Wichita State is in town for a crucial series. With ISU 2-4 in the league, it was vital for the Sycamores to validate their better-than-expected form in nonconference play with MVC success in Saturday’s doubleheader at Bob Warn Field.

    April 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's nine-game winnings streak snapped

    Rose-Hulman had its nine-game winning streak snapped with two tightly contested losses at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester on Saturday.

    April 5, 2014

  • Newbolt.jpg Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard

    Help wanted.
    Following Indiana State’s loss to Marquette in the WNIT, coach Teri Moren touched on the future of the program after the loss of Sycamore senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grant Prusator …nd jones 0.jpg Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015

    Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium

    The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

    April 4, 2014

  • SPT040314 ISUFB thurman.jpg Indiana State secondary could be mending into a strength

    During Indiana State’s injury-ravaged 2013 season, there wasn’t a unit on either side of the ball that was spared from the carnage.
    But if one had to be singled out as hardest hit in the injury department, it would be difficult to out-do the Sycamores’ secondary.
    Every player that started in ISU’s season opener at Indiana not only missed at least one game last season, but the entire starting unit was out of action by the end of September.

    April 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT031114 reed1.jpg Reed named Midseason National Player of the Year

    Half of the college baseball season is done and one prominent college baseball publication thinks Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed is best player in the land.
    Reed, a junior at Kentucky, was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA, a website devoted to college baseball.
     

    April 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT012714ISUWBB laramie.jpg Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program

    Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
    But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings

    Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.

    April 2, 2014

  • 20140401_145857.jpg Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball

    The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
    The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball tops IU 7-5

    The Indiana State softball team remained a perfect 13-0 when scoring in the first inning as it defeated Indiana (9-24-1) 7-5 Tuesday for its second consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.

    April 1, 2014

  • Stout_action3.jpg Dedicated to helping others

    It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.

    March 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC

    Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.

    March 31, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Swimmer Michael Phelps Attempts Comeback Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US Air Force: $4.2B Saved From Grounding A-10s
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity