News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

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.

 

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Sports
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A.J. Reed The University of Kentucky baseball team falls to Missouri 8-7 on Friday, April 11, 2014, at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

  • 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

  • SPT041914track porter.jpg Terre Haute track and field athletes shine at Patriot Invitational

    The Terre Haute North and Brown County girls and boys came out winners Saturday in the Patriot Invitational Track and Field Meet at Terre Haute North High School.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro roundup: Reed connects for 15th home run on four-hit day

    Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed and Kentucky baseball teammate Max Kuhn each had four hits and a home run to lead the No. 19-ranked Wildcats to a series-clinching 11-4 win at Southeastern Conference foe Texas A&M on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in front of 5,311 fans at Blue Bell Park.
    Kentucky (26-13, 9-8 SEC) clinched the series victory at Texas A&M with the win, a day after posting a 6-3 victory in the opener Friday night.

    April 19, 2014

  • Prep roundup: North girls tennis beats ranked teams

    Terre Haute North knocked off two state-ranked teams — No. 12 Fort Wayne Canterbury and No. 13 Delta — on its way to capturing the Delta Invitational championship for girls high school tennis Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • ISU baseball drops second straight

    Indiana State’s baseball team rallied late in the game but could not get in front as the Canisius Golden Griffins held off the Sycamores 5-4 Saturday.
    ISU (24-12) will look to avoid being swept for the first time this season at noon EDT today when it plays the series finale against Canisius (22-13).
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Redneck Quaker: A young lady of the outdoors

    Where do I start to tell you about this 10-year-old outdoor lady? Let’s start with her own words from a nice letter she wrote.

    “My name is Lilly Hutchison and this year when I was nine and again hunting with my Papaw, Mike Burch, we got up way before daylight on opening morning of youth deer season. I was watching a 6-pointer for several minutes until a larger buck appeared and chased him off, but not giving me a shot at him. Papaw and I were preparing a place for our evening hunt when a couple of does came across the field right to us. I carefully placed my shot and she ran around 8 yards. That evening, we decided to go to our neighbors’ woods. On the way in, we saw a large buck watering in one of the few puddles in the creek. Papaw said we would wait nearby to see if he would come back. To our amazement, he did! I was fortunate to take this 10-pointer, 250-pound buck. I have had many great hunts with Papaw.”

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041814THS BB jenkins.jpg Herrin's pitching effort leads South to win over Northview

    When two good high school baseball teams get together, each using one of its better pitchers, the margin for error figures to be slim, and some defensive plays that weren’t made were the difference Friday evening as Terre Haute South beat Northview 7-1.

    April 19, 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

  • Stout home run sparks South softball at Sullivan

    Terre Haute South junior Mariah Stout made her father proud and helped her team win its eighth game of the season at the same time Friday evening.
    With the previously flat-looking Braves trailing host Sullivan 1-0 with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the second inning, Stout woke up her dugout mates by hammering a McKenzie Pirtle pitch over the fence in left-center field for a score-tying home run.

    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

Local Interest
  • 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

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Burnham leads Woods softball to wins

    After dropping a pair of games to Missouri Baptist on Wednesday, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods beat Lindenwood-Belleville 9-7 and 1-0, both games in eight innings, on Thursday afternoon.
    Sarah Burnham’s seventh-inning homer in the first game tied the score 4-4, and the Pomeroys took a 5-4 lead later in the inning on an RBI double by Brooke Jordan before the Lynx tied the score in the bottom of the inning.

    March 21, 2014

  • METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida

    Pitching dominated Tuesday’s opening day of play in the Rebel Spring Games for the Indiana State softball team, which defeated Bucknell 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Creighton.
    “The girls did a great job in the first game getting a couple runs,” ISU coach Shane Bouman said. “We leaned on [sophomore] Yvette Alvarez who pitched really well. We probably got as much as we could out of her and probably should have changed earlier so put that on me. We have a couple little things we can clean up and get a little better and we will be ready to go tomorrow.”

    March 11, 2014

  • Tony Dungy, wife Lauren signing books today in Terre Haute

    Former NFL coach Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, are at Sam’s Club in Terre Haute today, Feb. 12, signing books until about 1:30 p.m.

    February 12, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: Feb. 7, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday, based on jail records.

    February 7, 2014

High School
College
UK_Mizzou_4-11-14_27_cw.JPG

A.J. Reed The University of Kentucky baseball team falls to Missouri 8-7 on Friday, April 11, 2014, at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

  • 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

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Terre Haute Rex
SPT 041614 ROSSELLI REX.jpg

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Expanding the fan base: Bruce Rosselli, manager of the Terre Haute Rex, displays the team's new slogan, Wabash Valley's Own, during a press conference on Wednesday at Clabber Girl.

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