TERRE HAUTE —
The summer is when it’s usually all good for a college basketball program.
There’s no wins and losses to dissect. The new summer practice rules — which allow more contact between coaches and players — builds experience for the upcoming season.
The dead periods bring some modicum of rest for coaches. July recruiting brings promise for the future.
But there’s one part of the summer that brings nothing but stress — nonconference scheduling.
“We have one more date to get … how ‘bout we fill it today?” said Evansville coach Marty Simmons, conveying the angst when asked how long into the summer he’d be willing to wait to fill a date.
Scheduling is stressful everywhere, but especially in the Missouri Valley Conference. Major conference schools have the pick of the college basketball litter to play. Low-major conference schools can pick from the highest bidder as major conference teams dole out cash for “buy games” knowing there’s no expectation of a return game from small schools.
In the Missouri Valley Conference, it isn’t that simple. MVC programs are prominent enough where they want to host as many games as they can, but they also want to play major conference schools with some form of a return game.
The problem? Many major conference schools avoid MVC schools at any site because the risk of getting beaten is higher. As for playing at a MVC facility? MVC gyms are so toxic to many major schools that they could qualify as HAZMAT sites.
MVC schools can’t always turn to low-majors to fill schedules either because low-majors make more money in guarantees at major schools.
As of Thursday, Bradley, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois and Wichita State were the only MVC schools that had completed their schedules. Many schools still have multiple dates open. Indiana State is no exception — the Sycamores have two dates to fill.
The following games are confirmed for ISU in 2012-13:
ISU will play at home against New Mexico in the last edition of the Mountain West-MVC Challenge on Dec. 1. ISU will host High Point on Nov. 25. ISU will also host a BracketBusters game in February.
ISU will play true road games at UCLA to open the season on Nov. 9. The Sycamores also play at Ball State on Nov. 20 and Morehead State on Dec. 8.
ISU will play in the neutral site Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Dec. 22-25, and will also play IUPUI at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 15.
ISU has several irons in the fire for its remaining openings — with schools and deals of every shape and size — but has nothing confirmed.
“I hate it,” said Lansing on scheduling.
“I want to play competitive teams, whether it be on the road or at home. … I really wish we could get some BCS schools to come here a little easier, even if its a two-for-one or three-for-one, but they don’t think about that much because they don’t have to,” he added.
Some MVC schools try to beef up their schedules by waiting. A figurative game of chicken is played as a plumb date could open up at the last minute against a desirable foe. But it’s a risk and sometimes programs are left holding the bag. Drake, which has two dates left, is rolling the dice this summer.
“You get nervous. You’re checking the pulse everyday. It’s strategic. After recruiting, it’s probably the most important thing you do,” said Drake coach Mark Phelps, who did scheduling as an assistant at North Carolina State and Arizona State.
“Really, really good things can happen late. So if you’ve got the nerve to wait around and not go on something you like instead of love, you have a chance to really get your ideal team. You also take a chance in not getting it,” he added.
Inside the MVC, not all schools deal with the same paramaters.
Affluent programs like Creighton are game buyers as much as major schools are … it’s just that the Bluejays rarely convince major schools to play them in Omaha at any price.
Comparably poor programs, like ISU, have budget constraints that only allow them to buy a game or two at most.
It creates a dynamic of scheduling have’s and have not’s which can run counter to the league’s desire to have a unified front as far as scheduling to create an environment for stronger RPI, etc.
Would it be in the league’s interest — or even possible? — to assist the teams that can’t guarantee as many games?
“Everybody is different. I don’t feel or think the league wants or is in a position to try and even it out or say, ‘You can buy a certain amount of games, and if you can’t, we’re going to find a way to help.’ Everyone has different resources and each school has to do what they can with what fits their philosophy,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson said.
What the MVC does do for league scheduling is to assist in getting league schools into non-exempt tournaments. ISU’s participation in last November’s Old Spice Classic and the Diamond Head Classic this December came with an assist from the league office. Nearly every MVC team has had the good word put in for them, so to speak, from the MVC to take part in these events.
But some teams have found themselves in a position to bite the bullet and take what they can. The one-and-done “buy game” is anathema to many league schools, but many have found there to be no other choice. ISU will play its third “buy game” in as many seasons at UCLA.
Sometimes the stars align and a buy game coincides with a coach’s individual scheduling philosophy. That’s the case at Illinois State, where new coach Dan Muller scheduled a buy game at Louisville on Dec. 1. Previous coach Tim Jankovich was oft-maligned by many MVC observers for playing a weak nonconference schedule.
“I want to prepare my team for great conference play at home and on the road,” Muller said. “There was a conscious effort to use my scheduling philosophy and it just so happens I wanted to beef it up.”
Lansing admitted that for ISU it’s really not a matter of choice. Its low budget dictates that buy games make sense for the bottom line.
“We probably have the lowest budget in the Valley. We kind of need that. We kind of need to get bought,” Lansing said. “You don’t want to have to get bought, you’d rather go to a place twice and get one home game, but most schools aren’t willing to do that.”
TERRE HAUTE —
The summer is when it’s usually all good for a college basketball program.
- Indiana State University
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Odum, Smith, Arop recognized by MVC
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum doesn’t play baseball, but he did go 4-for-4 in his Sycamore career.
His 4-for-4 performance came in regards to his All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Odum has been named to the all-MVC team in each of his four seasons, and for the second time in a year, Odum was named to the MVC’s first team.
Teammate Khristian Smith also received a major individual honor. Smith, a sophomore, earned the MVC’s Sixth Man Award. Senior Manny Arop also was named as an All-MVC honorable-mention selection.
ISU’s Odum earns first-team All-MVC honors
ST. LOUIS —Indiana State guard Jake Odum earned a spot on the 2014 All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, which was announced today as the Sycamores prepare for this week’s MVC men’s basketball tournament.
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.
Senior Day Success
Indiana State shot just 35 percent from the field Sunday in Hulman Center compared with 46 percent for the visiting Bradley women, but that was almost a good thing.
ISU teams sweep titles in indoor track
Indiana State’s track teams swept the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships on Sunday at Northern Iowa, the men leading all the way and the women surviving a three-way battle.
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.
Red-hot ISU baseball wins eighth straight game
Indiana State broke away from a tight ballgame with four runs in the fifth inning and went on to post their eighth-straight victory of the 2014 campaign with a 10-3 triumph over New Orleans Saturday.
David Stagg (3-0) was the winning pitcher for the Sycamores as he went seven innings. He allowed two runs, scattered nine hits and struck out eight.
ISU men’s track leading in MVC indoor championships
Indiana State’s men’s track and field team took the lead Saturday after the first day of the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championships Saturday at Northern Iowa, while the Sycamore women were second.
Seeking their second straight championship, the Sycamore men have 64 points to 37 for Illinois State. Indiana State’s women are just two points behind Southern Illinois, 50-48.
Rolling along: Third straight victory helps Sycamores tie for second in MVC
Aside from Teri Moren sticking with her pink Chuck Taylor shoes on the sideline for superstitious reasons, Indiana State’s three-game winning streak can be explained by strong play in nearly every aspect of the game.
Sycamores stay positive in face of adversity
After Indiana State’s 77-59 loss at Illinois State on Wednesday, ISU players had an idea of how the tone of Thursday and Friday’s practices would be prior to today’s regular-season finale against Northern Iowa.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Odum's final chapter is here; how will he author the ending?
If you compare a college basketball career to a book, Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has been a page-turner from day one.
Odum has dazzled ISU fans from the time he became a starter during the first weekend of his first season in 2010. The Sycamores have not had a losing season during the Odum era, a run of success unprecedented in ISU’s Division I history.
VIDEO: Indiana State women looking to add to winning streak at home
Indiana State looks to put a three-game winning streak together tonight against Loyola, who topped the Sycamores behind 30 points by senior forward Troy Hambric for one of the Ramblers’ nine wins this season.
The Sycamores’ women’s basketball team stifled Missouri State last Friday and knocked off first-place Wichita State on Sunday for a pair of road wins last weekend. They'll look to build upon that momentum tonight at home.
Mayor Bennett takes students’ questions
Mayor Duke Bennett fielded some tough, thoughtful questions on topics that included potholes, neighborhood safety, abandoned homes and railroads Thursday.
Metro roundup: ISU track ready for MVC indoors
The Indiana State track and field teams will head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, this weekend for the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championships.
The men are defending champions and the women were runners-up a year ago.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge