TERRE HAUTE —
There is a significant amount of buzz entering Indiana State’s 2013-14 men’s basketball season.
A less kind way to define buzz is to call it noise.
The noise comes from fans, alumni, the media ... even the Sycamores themselves at times. Some of the noise sings ISU’s praises, some raises doubt, but either way the way noise is ever-present.
In a fascinating 18-15 2013 season, the Sycamores learned that they have to take care of themselves and not worry about the noise.
“We think about that a lot. Coach [Greg Lansing] is always saying that what other people think doesn’t matter and we have to take every game at a time. We want to keep the same routine, we want focus to be an every-day thing instead of looking too far down the road,” guard Dawon Cummings said.
ISU’s players have tried to figure out the lessons of their 2013 season since it ended in the National Invitational Tournament at Iowa in March. For the most part, it was a positive campaign with wins over nationally heralded Mississippi, Miami, Wichita State and Creighton. Unfortunately, ISU’s seven losses in its last nine games kept the Sycamores from reaching their full potential.
“We had good preparation, but we psyched ourselves sometimes thinking that we were too good or that we weren’t good enough. We need to focus on our preparation this year more than anything,” guard Devonte Brown said.
Point guard Jake Odum stressed game-to-game focus. Like many of his teammates, the lesson taken from the high highs and the low lows of 2013 was that the team took its eye off the ball in that department. Odum also believes maintaining an even emotional keel is something that can be learned too.
“We can’t forget about some of the good times we had last year and some of the bad times. Say we go on a streak and win a few games in a row. We can’t forget how the season ended. If we lose a few in a row, we can’t let that bring us down,” Odum said.
ISU — which seeks its fifth straight winning season — has pieces to be excellent and the stars are seemingly aligned in the MVC to help the Sycamores realize lofty goals.
ISU has more players back (nine) than any other MVC team. ISU has scoring threats at all five of its starting positions. Moreover, the departure of Creighton from the MVC cleared the field for a new contender to emerge to challenge Wichita State. No team is better placed than the Sycamores to do it.
“I think we’re as deep and as talented as we’ve been since I’ve been here. We have good upperclassmen, but talented underclassmen,” Lansing said.
Odum (13.6 ppg, 4.6 assists) is back for his final go-around in a Sycamore uniform and he stirs the drink. Odum has always been an excellent distributor as well as a clutch shot-maker. What he strives to do in his senior season is to strike the right balance between when to give and when to take.
“I need to understand when I need to score, when I need to pass, and its tough to find that even with all of the minutes I’ve played,” Odum said. “It might be at a certain four-minute point of the game where I need to shoot or where I need to pass. It’s tough to find that medium and understand the time to take over.”
Some of Odum’s best moments have come in late-game situations — he hit the game-winning shot to beat Miami a year ago — and he wants that mentality to come to the fore at other points of the game.
“The one thing I do know is I want the ball at the end of the game. It’s what I look forward to. It’s what I live for. I want to take the last-minute-of-the-game mentality into early parts of the game,” Odum said.
The rest of ISU’s projected starting lineup all played significant minutes last season. Shooting guard Cummings (6.4), swingman Khristian Smith (5.1) and forward Manny Arop (12 ppg) are all seeking improvement in their second year of ISU action.
Forward Justin Gant (7.5) seeks consistency. It’s no accident that when ISU was at its best in 2013, it was when Gant was locked in.
“Through the first half of conference last year, Justin was at an all-conference level, but he was like a lot of guys where he hadn’t played that many minutes and games and he ran out of gas a little bit,” Lansing said. “Justin has come so far. He’s maturing, getting stronger, getting tougher. He’s a huge key for how good we can be. If he can take it to another level, our team can take it to another level.”
ISU has enviable depth. Sophomore guard Brown (3.8) proved to be a two-tool player off the bench a year ago with his defense and driving ability. Senior guard Lucas Eitel (4.1) is experienced and can get hot from 3-point range. Junior center Jake Kitchell (2.7) had his moments last season and gives ISU bulk in the paint.
Two newcomers in the paint — freshman T.J. Bell and junior college transfer Demetrius Moore — are being counted on to help. Sophomore swingman Brandon Burnett (1.7) should see more action this season and can become a solid scorer if he can get his shot to fall consistently.
True freshmen Brenton Scott and Alex Etherington could be redshirted. If not, both will find playing time hard to come by.
ISU’s schedule will challenge the Sycamores. There are just four home nonconference games with difficult trips to Belmont, Notre Dame and Saint Louis. ISU plays in the Great Alaska Shootout with a solid mid-major field, including Tulsa and Harvard.
ISU men’s schedule
Saturday — Ball State, 1 p.m.
Nov. 14 — at Belmont, 8 p.m.
Nov. 17 — at Notre Dame, Noon
Nov. 22 — Truman State, 7 p.m.
Great Alaska Shootout
Nov. 27 — Tulsa, 11:30 p.m.
Nov. 29 — TCU or Alaska-Anchorage, 4 or 9:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 — TBA, TBA
Dec. 7 — at Eastern Illinois, 3 p.m.
Dec. 14 — at Missouri-Kansas City, 3 p.m.
Dec. 18 — at Saint Louis, 8 p.m.
Dec. 21 — IUPUI, 3:35 p.m.
Dec. 28 — Belmont, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1 — Loyola, 3 p.m.
Jan. 4 — at Evansville, 8 p.m.
Jan. 8 — at Drake, 8 p.m.
Jan. 11 — Bradley, 1 p.m.
Jan. 15 — Missouri State, 7 p.m.
Jan. 18 — at Wichita State, 4 p.m.
Jan. 22 — at Loyola, 8 p.m.
Jan. 25 — Illinois State, 6 p.m.
Jan. 29 — at Southern Illinois, 8 p.m.
Feb. 1 — at Northern Iowa, 8 p.m.
Feb. 5 — Wichita State, 8 p.m.
Feb. 9 — Drake, 3 p.m.
Feb. 12 — at Bradley, 8 p.m.
Feb. 15 — Southern Illinois, 1 p.m.
Feb. 19 — Evansville, 7 p.m.
Feb. 22 — at Missouri State, 1 p.m.
Feb. 26 — at Illinois State, 8 p.m.
March 1 — Northern Iowa, TBA
March 6-9 — MVC Tournament at St. Louis, TBA
ISU men’s basketball roster
0 Jake Kitchell C 6-10 Jr.
1 Alex Etherington G-f 6-5 Fr.
2 Lucas Eitel G 6-3 Sr.
3 Manny Arop G-F 6-5 Sr.
4 Brenton Scott G 6-1 Fr.
5 Justin Gant F 6-9 Jr.
11 Devonte Brown G 6-2 So.
12 Dawon Cummings G 6-3 Sr.
13 Jake Odum G 6-4 Sr.
15 Demetrius Moore F 6-7 Jr.
22 Brandon Burnett G 6-6 So.
30 Mike Samuels C 6-11 Jr.
32 Khristian Smith G-F 6-6 So.
42 T.J. Bell F-C 6-8 Fr.
TERRE HAUTE —
There is a significant amount of buzz entering Indiana State’s 2013-14 men’s basketball season.
- Indiana State University
ISU men await postseason fate
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team returned to practice on Friday without a team or a tournament to prepare for.
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
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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
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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.
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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
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ISU fans cheer their team from afar
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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
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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.
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- ISU men await postseason fate