News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

January 17, 2014

FROM THE PRESS BOX: Little to lose, a lot to gain for Indiana State

WICHITA, Kan. — It’s hard not to get excited about today’s Missouri Valley Conference summit meeting between co-leaders Indiana State and Wichita State. Who wouldn’t be?

It’s a battle of league unbeatens. It’s on national TV. It’s being played at Wichita State’s Koch Arena where decibels are on steroids. It’s likely to be Indiana State’s best chance of ending WSU’s unbeaten run on its home floor.

We love the hype. Fans should embrace the hype because games this special don’t come around that often.

But when you get past the breathless excitement, what’s really on the line?

It isn’t ISU’s NCAA hopes. At least it isn’t as far as it being a make-or-break game. ISU has little to lose at-large-wise if it loses today. By no one’s definition would it be a “bad loss.”

There’s everything to gain, of course, as a win vaults ISU into the NCAA Tournament conversation, but it won’t be a fatal loss. ISU likely does need to beat WSU to put itself in at-large consideration, but the better shot comes Feb. 5 when WSU visits Hulman Center.

There’s so much to do between now and March for the Sycamores to be locked into a good or bad fate. We know that from the experience of last season. In mid-January 2013, ISU hadn’t definitively entered the NCAA Tournament picture yet much less exited it.

There’s little pressure on the Sycamores. Few expect ISU to win. If they don’t? Those same few will barely bat an eye. If there’s any pressure at all, it’s on Wichita State to keep its undefeated run intact.

So what’s on the line? Respect. And not the respect of beating an unbeaten team on their home floor — though that would be a nice cherry on the sundae for ISU — it would be another step in the respect the program has gradually gained over the last half-decade.

And this time, the step ISU can take is to cement itself not only as an MVC contender this season, but to be perceived as an MVC title threat for years to come.

Since the 2009-10 season, when ISU began its current run of four straight winning seasons, a streak that will likely reach five by this seasons’ end, the Sycamores have re-built, brick-by-brick, the respect that the program surrendered through a three-decade stretch where it had four winning seasons (all from 1998-2001 when Nate Green, Matt Renn, Michael Menser and company restored pride) in 30 years.

That respect has come in baby steps. A winning season first in 2010, an MVC Tournament title and NCAA bid in 2011, playing and beating highly ranked teams in 2012 and 2013. Sure, ISU has stubbed its toe along the way at times and the speed of ISU’s progress hasn’t pleased all, but the trajectory of ISU’s program has been on the up for nearly a half-decade now.

Slowly, but surely, national pundits have taken notice. ISU is spoken of in far more glowing terms than it was in the late 2000s when its lack of success made it an afterthought. With each upset win, the wins become less an upset than an on-the-rise program making its move toward relevance.

But that respect doesn’t come instantly and it usually doesn’t come with one win. Today’s game offers a rare exception, especially taking into account the current lay of the land in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The departure of Creighton left a void in the Valley. The Bluejays’ exit not only took away a perennial conference title contender, but also took away the security blanket the league has had in the last decade of having at least two teams it could depend on not only to make an NCAA tournament run, but to serve as a bell-weather program for the league itself along with Wichita State.

No one — aside from Shockers’ fans — want a scenario where Wichita State lords over the MVC as Butler did in the Horizon League or as Gonzaga did for many years in the West Coast Conference. The Shockers need a foil. Why not Indiana State?

There’s an MVC power vacuum to be filled. Not everyone is ready to wrap their arms around the fact that Indiana State can be the team to fill it. Skeptics abound. Many are still on the fence and await ISU to make that MVC breakthrough.

That opportunity is there today. A win over the Shockers on their home floor would cement ISU as an MVC alpha dog. A program that is capable of anything. A program that is capable of competing with WSU for the MVC title to the bitter end. A program that escapes the shadow of being an emerging team to one that has arrived.

A loss certainly wouldn’t wipe away the progress ISU has made. Far from it. The beauty is that ISU gets another shot at WSU in Terre Haute on Feb. 5.

But let the possibilities of an ISU win today dance in your head. The reward could be considerable. It should be fun.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 208-2643 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Indiana State University
  • ISU football picked last in MVFC

    Indiana State’s football team found itself in familiar, if depressing, territory when the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll was released on Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Degano2.jpg Bullpen mates: Three relievers coming on strong down stretch for Rex

    The Terre Haute Rex pitching staff ranks fifth among the 12 teams in the Prospect League in earned-run average this season and first in the league with only four home runs allowed all summer. But the Rex pitchers might be the best in the league the past two weeks as the team has had two shutouts and two games with one run allowed in the past week.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prettyman wants ISU to be prepared for potential NCAA changes

    Against a rising tide of media, public and institutional sentiment that would suggest otherwise, Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman believes that the current model of college athletics still works.

    July 26, 2014

  • SPT 102613 UNDER TACKLE.jpg Can Sycamores bounce back from rough 2013 season?

    One week before Indiana State begins preseason practice, there really is only one fundamental question that the Sycamore program faces.
    Can it win again?

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ISU basketball trio earn national academic honors

    A trio of Indiana State basketball student-athletes have been named to the 2013-14 National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court as announced by the national organization. Honored from Indiana State were Lucas Eitel, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell.

    July 23, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Post 346 rallies past Rockville

    Wayne Newton Post 346 scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to get past Rockville 6-3 in an American Legion baseball regional at Terre Haute North on Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Truebytower.jpg Memorable experience in Morocco for ISU soccer team could help team's growth

    Coming off the best season in its history, the Indiana State women’s soccer team figures to have the experience to do even better in the upcoming fall season.
    Or maybe that’s #TheExperience.

    July 23, 2014 11 Photos

  • Metro: ISU graduate Johnson sixth in shot at Monaco

    Indiana State graduate Felisha Johnson competed in her first International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League track and field meeting Friday, placing sixth in a shot put competition that featured six of the top seven throwers in the world for 2014.

    July 18, 2014

  • MVC to shift women's basketball tournament to Moline, Ill.

    The Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament will move 90 miles farther from Terre Haute beginning in 2016, the league announced Thursday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Metro: ISU-IU football game to be on ESPNEWS

    Indiana University announced Wednesday that the season opening game between Indiana State and IU will be played at noon on Sept. 30.

    July 16, 2014

  • Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team

    Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

    July 11, 2014

  • odum.jpg Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • MVC Tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018

    Missouri Valley Conference men's tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018.

    July 9, 2014

  • Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers

    Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

    July 7, 2014

  • SPT062714dans gardner1.jpg Gardner staying sharp with Danville

    This summer with the Danville Dans is a big one for Terre Haute native Cody Gardner, who wants to play a part in keeping Indiana State baseball successful in 2015.
    The former Terre Haute North High School standout painfully sat and watched as a Division I transfer as ISU made its ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 35-win regular season.

    July 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro: ISU’s Wise starts out well in USATF championships

    Indiana State sprinter Katie Wise advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters as she ran 11.42 seconds in the opening heat of the event Thursday evening at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.

    June 27, 2014

  • SPT021914ISUMBB odum.jpg ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team

    No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • SPT 030914 ODUM FILE.jpg Steady success: ISU continued to climb ladder with one of its best overall seasons ever

    First of all, if you’re an Indiana State fan, stand up and applaud. The Sycamores collectively went where only one Sycamore athletic department went before in 2013-14. ISU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings. ISU recorded a score of 3.538, its highest in school history.

    June 25, 2014 6 Photos

  • SPT021914ISUMBB odum.jpg Jake Odum about to reach red letter date in his career

    Terre Haute’s Jake Odum made a name, a reputation and a wonderful career for himself during his four seasons at Indiana State. If nothing else were to happen in his basketball life, he’ll always be one of the Sycamores’ all-time best.
    Of course, Odum wants more. He wants to play in the NBA. Since ISU’s season concluded in late March, he’s been on a three-month quest to fulfill his dream.

    June 24, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Metro roundup: Odum to work out with Lakers

    Terre Haute native and former Indiana State guard Jake Odum will have two more workouts before next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Odum will work out with the Los Angeles Lakers today. Odum will have a second workout with the Orlando Magic next week before the draft.

    June 20, 2014 1 Story

  • ISU takes balanced approach with newcomer Tre Bennett

    Indiana State’s men’s basketball program recruited Tre Bennett to be its next starting point guard. Indiana State does not want to put too much pressure on Bennett in his first season.
    Those two sentences seem to be a contradiction. But ISU’s coaches and Bennett himself are hoping there’s a third way, a path where he can ease into a role as a contributor without the pressure, at least right off the bat, of being “the man.”

    June 18, 2014

  • SPT061214 ISUMBB parker.jpg New ISU coach Parker makes first impression

    Indiana State assistant coach Terry Parker hasn’t had too much time to make a first impression.
    Officially hired in late April, but identified as Dave Ragland’s replacement on Greg Lansing’s staff long before that, there haven’t been many team activities for Parker to take part in since he joined ISU’s staff from Utah Valley.

    June 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Greggmar Swift advances to NCAA hurdles final

    Greggmar Swift advanced to the finals of the 110-meter hurdles to highlight Indiana State’s performances during day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field.

    June 13, 2014

  • Katie_Wise_(Credit_Chris_Zoeller).jpeg ISU taking mix of veterans, underclassmen to NCAAs

    With three sophomores among Indiana State’s record number of entrants heading to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, the Sycamores are in position to have athletes competing for a national title for at least a couple more seasons.
    Katie Wise, in particular, has the potential to rack up multiple All-American accolades between now and the time she graduates in 2016.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pair of Sycamores selected in Major League Baseball draft

    Two Indiana State baseball players were chosen in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft Saturday.
    Senior shortstop Tyler Wampler, a 2010 graduate of West Vigo High School, went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 17th round (519th overall) and junior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went to the San Diego Padres in the 27th round (807th overall).

    June 7, 2014

  • SPT041113lutz point.jpg Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts

    The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro roundup: Rex opener postponed to today

    The Terre Haute Rex grand opening has been pushed back to today due to Monday’s thunderstorms.

    June 2, 2014

  • SPT 053114 LANDON CURRY FLY.jpg ISU baseball can't find lifeline

    Indiana State ends NCAA regional with 0-2 mark as its season ends.

    May 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 053114 MITCH HANNAHS.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone

    ISU coach Mitch Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT 053014 KEAFFABER THROW.jpg Despite loss, ISU's Keaffaber draws praise

    Indiana State pitcher Ryan Keaffaber lost to Stanford in NCAA regional, but his effort was lauded.

    May 30, 2014 2 Photos

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Raw: Smoke, Explosions Fill Gaza Skyline Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Today in History for July 31st
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice
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