TERRE HAUTE —
The progress Indiana State’s men’s basketball team has made over the last two weeks is considerable.
The Sycamores own three wins over teams that were in the RPI top 50 at the time the teams were beaten. ISU has won four out of its last five, with the only setback a close loss to No. 19 San Diego State in Hawaii.
The reward for ISU is that it’s ranked in the high 20s or low 30s in the RPI, depending on which method is used. Its strength of schedule is even better, ranking near 20th in the nation.
While it’s absurdly early to put much stock in RPI rankings on Jan. 2, on their current path, the Sycamores would be in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Sycamores’ recent success is that they’ve enjoyed it despite the fact that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
ISU has not always played its best, and yet, has found ways to win. While that’s been an encouraging sign, the Sycamores can ill afford to let anything slip as it heads to Northern Iowa at 8 p.m. tonight for its first MVC road game.
“Oh man, there’s so much room for improvement. I think we’re so far away from our potential. We realize that and that’s why we haven’t been paying too much attention to these last few games,” ISU forward Manny Arop said.
Sometimes teams will ride a collective hot hand to string together a series of wins, but that hasn’t been the case for the Sycamores.
While players like Justin Gant and Devonte Brown have made significant improvements, others, like Dawon Cummings and Khristian Smith, have struggled from the field.
Cummings is 3-for-18 from the field in ISU’s last three games. Smith has averaged three points per game and is 6-for-30 from the field in ISU’s last four games. Both, however, have made their presence felt on the defensive end.
“The nice thing about these guys is they realize they can improve. All of them can get better, coaches included. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of how good we can be. The harder we go at it in practice, we’ll get better faster too,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
Other regulars have struggled at times too. Jake Odum has admitted after recent games that he could play better. Arop has also forced the issue offensively at times, though both players have been very valuable at other times.
“They’ve talked to me about reading the defenses better. I need to get my feet in the paint and create more. We’re talking about reading and reacting,” Arop said.
Within the Missouri Valley Conference, ISU’s team stats are pedestrian. ISU ranks seventh in scoring (68.4), eighth in scoring defense (66.2) and ninth in scoring margin (+2.2) and shooting (42.1).
Despite being one of the top three RPI teams in the MVC at present, the Sycamores only rate in tje top three in two team statistical categories: rebounding (second at 36.5) and defensive rebounds (second at 26.4).
Northern Iowa, picked to finish third in the MVC, has a veteran team as all five of its starters have significant experience.
With their veteran presence, the Panthers loaded up their nonconference schedule. UNI (7-6, 0-1) went 0-3 at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas and also lost to Iowa and UNLV. The Panthers defeated George Mason and St. Mary’s.
The Panthers opened MVC play at Wichita State on Sunday and struggled badly in a 66-41 loss. At one point, the Shockers led by 30 as the Panthers struggled mightily to score. UNI had just 18 points at halftime.
Despite the heavy loss, UNI coach Ben Jacobson remained high on his team
“I don’t think you can beat a team like St. Mary’s a week ago and have a game like this, then start to wonder how good you are,” said Jacobson after Sunday’s loss, as reported by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls (Iowa) Courier. “I don’t think that’s an issue right now, at all.”
Lansing feels the same way. Much as ISU does, UNI wants to grind games out. UNI also tries to limit possessions, so each trip down the floor has to be valued by the Sycamores. Turnovers, in particular, have to be kept to a minimum.
Though they are prone to offensive lapses, the Panthers are a tough out, despite the fact ISU has won three of the last four in the series.
“We have to be patient and we have to defend for a longer stretch. They’re not a team like Illinois State where they’re looking for transition. They’ll grind us, so we need discipline on defense,” Arop said.
ISU split the series with UNI last season with each team winning on its home floor.
Sycamores looking for 2-0 start in Missouri Valley
TERRE HAUTE —
The progress Indiana State’s men’s basketball team has made over the last two weeks is considerable.
- Indiana State University
ISU women have sights set on MVC tournament title
With a win today in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals, Indiana State will secure its fourth 20-win season in women’s basketball since 1981-82.
Getting to that point has been like competing in one of those urban adventure races with obstacles, mud pits and scavenger hunts. In other words, it hasn’t been permeated with style and grace. But the Sycamores stuck with it and got the job done.
At least so far.
Abdul-Qaadir named league’s top newcomer
Indiana State senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is ready to keep her college basketball career rolling.
The transfer from Memphis was eligible right away because she had finished her bachelor’s degree upon arrival in Terre Haute.
Swift, Theisen vie for NCAA indoor honors
Indiana State seniors Greggmar Swift and Mary Theisen are within striking distance of winning an NCAA title this weekend at the NCAA Division I indoor track and field championships.
Sophomore sprinter Katie Wise is ranked 13th going into the meet in the 60-meter dash and has her sights on an All-American finish.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reliever leads comeback in ISU's 11th straight win
It could have been just a mop-up role for Josh Dove on Sunday at Bob Warn Field, but the Indiana State relief pitcher wasn’t thinking that way.
ISU fans cheer their team from afar
Indiana State University basketball fans eagerly supported their team Sunday, even from a distance, as they watched the Sycamores battle in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game being played in St. Louis.
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.
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- ISU women have sights set on MVC tournament title