News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Sports Columns

May 26, 2012

FROM THE PRESS BOX: ISU baseball has pluses, minuses for tourney bid

TERRE HAUTE —

Last Thursday, when Indiana State’s baseball jumped around in a celebratory dogpile after clinching the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship at Bob Warn Field, no one thought that a little over a week later, the dreaded NCAA Tournament bubble would fly over Terre Haute.

But here the Sycamores are. ISU’s bubble will fly precariously until noon Monday when the NCAA field is unveiled.

Cinderella will have no place at ISU’s table this weekend. The more favorites who win in the conference tournaments, the better for the Sycamores. Any team in the RPI top 50 that advances in the conference tournaments is ISU’s friend.

ISU got no help from its conference brethren. A MVC bid will be stolen by either Southern Illinois or Creighton tonight in the MVC championship game.

With a better Ratings Percentage Index number and longer MVC Tournament run, Missouri State is considered to have a stronger case than ISU does to get a NCAA at-large bid.

Wichita State has a better RPI than ISU too, but the Shockers’ overall record is far weaker and ISU won the season series. Most believe if the MVC gets three bids, ISU would be the third team.

This is in spite of the fact that the Sycamores have lost four in a row and went 0-2 in the MVC Tournament. It’s hard to deny that the Sycamores have thrust themselves into the precarious position they’re in. There’s not much to do but sweat it out.

“We really haven’t done a whole lot. We’re going to practice on [Saturday] morning and scrimmage. Same thing on Sunday. All of us are anxious to find out though. It’s never fun to wait,” said ISU coach Rick Heller, who noted that he’s done “a lot” of scoreboard watching.

Heller, of course, believes the 41-17 Sycamores did enough during the regular season to merit selection to the 64-team NCAA Tournament field.

“I think the strongest case is the fact that we played great all year long. We were really consistent,” Heller said. “The fact that we won the Valley when it was as tough as it was in the last 25 years helps. And we played four out of seven series on the road in the conference. If you win this league with the year it’s had, it has got to get three teams in. I just can’t imagine that with the year the league has had, they’d keep us out.”

Here’s a look at what works in ISU’s favor and what doesn’t.

The case for ISU:

• ISU picked right year to win MVC — The Missouri Valley Conference is on course to have its best RPI season since 1999.

The league is currently sixth and is just percentage points behind Conference USA for fifth place. The upsets in the MVC Tournament have only helped the league’s RPI as all ships have risen with the upset tide.

• History is on ISU’s side — Creighton sports information director Rob Anderson sent me a nugget Friday. The sixth-rated RPI conference has put three teams in the field in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2008, the Big West Conference got four teams in.

ISU is also over the 40-win mark, which is considered to be an important threshold as far as overall record is concerned.

• Dallas Baptist — Dallas Baptist played a partial MVC schedule in 2011 and 2012 as part of a probationary period installed before it could join the MVC as a baseball-only member. DBU decided instead to join the Western Athletic Conference, but in its tour of the MVC, DBU gave everyone’s schedule a big RPI lift. DBU’s RPI is 24 and it will make the NCAA field.

ISU might have benefited the most. ISU won the series against them and DBU is the major reason ISU has a 5-5 record against RPI top 50 teams.

• Purdue — Yes, ISU was one out away from knocking off Purdue in West Lafayette. It would have been huge and the extra-inning loss was disappointing.

But merely playing the Boilermakers gave ISU a RPI lift. ISU’s RPI is at 45 as of this writing. If ISU hadn’t played Purdue, it’s RPI might on the wrong side of 50.

“I think us playing Purdue, even we lost, was a good thing on our part. I think the committee will like that we scheduled that game when we did,” Heller noted.

The case against ISU:

• Poor finish — ISU lost five of its last six games. Three of the games were to quality opponents (Purdue and Missouri State twice), two were to weaker MVC teams (Evansville and Creighton).

I’ve been told that the season finish doesn’t carry as much as weight in baseball as it does in basketball. Perhaps. But ISU did itself no favors and gave the committee something negative to consider regardless.

• MVC regular season champions have been left out before — Missouri State was left out as an outright conference champion in 2009 and 2010 co-champion Wichita State was also on the outside looking in. It should be noted, however, that the MVC’s conference RPI was far weaker in both of those seasons. The MVC was 17th in 2009 and 15th in 2010.

• Strength of schedule — ISU probably had its best nonconference schedule in several years this season with Notre Dame, Kansas and  Missouri on the slate. But it’s a testament to how hard it is for northern teams to schedule when ISU’s strength of schedule still ended up 140th nationally.

Northern teams usually get a break when it comes to strength of schedule as weight is given to the regional nature of the sport and that inter-sectional games aren’t feasible. But it’s not a certainty.

• MVC’s history with bubble isn’t kind — It has nothing to do with resumes or anything logical, really, but MVC teams in several sports (including MVFC football) over the years have made rational arguments based on RPI, strength of schedule, etc., for inclusion in the NCAA Tournament only to be left at the altar.

Too often in recent years, when a MVC team has been on the bubble, it has popped. Ask Missouri State. Ask Illinois State. Ask seemingly half of the MVFC membership last season.

Woe to those who get too overconfident when all seems assured — including a certain columnist who said ISU was in for sure a week ago.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • Tom Reck: Brickyard 400 highlights big sports week

    It’s another busy week in sports. Two of the events on the schedule are the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the windup of the Show-Me’s/THGA men’s city golf tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Bigelow part of Action Track’s lifeblood

    Many things have changed since the Terre Haute Action Track opened in 1952, but the one constant is dirt.

    July 18, 2014

  • schrader.jpg Joe Buckles: New alliance features powerful figures trying to lower costs

    Possibly no off track developments involving NASCAR racing  over the past 20 to 30 years has generated as much interest and speculation as last week’s announcement regarding the formation of the new Race Team Alliance organization.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tom Reck: At break, A’s own baseball’s top record

    The all-stars will be out tonight in Major League Baseball, meaning there’s a little break in the regular schedules. At this point, the team with the best record in either league … is Oakland which is 59-36 for a .621 percentage.

    July 14, 2014

  • minors.jpg From Terre Haute to the majors: Eitel, Phegley recognized as Triple-A All-Stars

    Phegley is a third-time All-Star in the International League, while Marshall, Ill., native Derek Eitel was named to his first Triple-A All-Star game. The Rose-Hulman graduate and right-handed relief pitcher for the Reno Aces has put up impressive numbers in the Pacific Coast League. Eitel has a 2.70 earned-run average with 60 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks’ top minor-league team.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Andy Amey: Just a small trip to talk about this time

    To paraphrase Carl Spackler, the heavy stuff’s not going to come for quite awhile. So while it’s true that I’m back from a week’s vacation, it’s not time — yet — for the big vacation column. Trips to Noblesville, Brunswick and Reelsville, while providing some nice family time, don’t really have the cachet to fill newspaper space.

    July 11, 2014

  • From the Press Box: Simple sports pleasures are best

    Andy Amey is the undisputed king of vacation columns in the Tribune-Star’s annals. I just returned from vacation, and while there were certainly tales to tell, I’m left with fond memories of simple sports pleasures.
    My family and I spent an extended weekend in Kansas City? Why? Why not? Truthfully, it was close, there’s a lot to do there, and we didn’t want the headache and expense of a long-haul vacation. We had a great time.

    July 8, 2014

  • Trackside: Valley race fans should be happy

    Whether your preference is non-wing sprint cars or late-model stock cars, this is the week that Wabash Valley race fans look forward to all summer.
    The best of the best is the only way to describe what will unfold this week at Valley ovals. First comes the continuation of the popular UMP Summer National “Hell Week” tour for late models and its annual stop at Terre Haute Action Track tonight. USAC’s Indiana Sprint Week opens later this weekend with stops at Gas City on Friday night, Kokomo on Saturday and Lawrenceburg on Sunday evening.

    July 8, 2014

  • Tom Reck: All-Stars get chance to shine

    It’s July and that means all-star baseball time.

    July 7, 2014

  • Redneck Quaker: Yes, you can get paid to go fishing

    Get that boat out and let’s go fish’n! We may make some money while having fun!
    The Indiana DNR is tagging 500 legal-sized black bass on the three rivers in central and northern Indiana as part of a new research project. “Black Bass” includes largemouth, small-mouth and spotted bass.

    July 5, 2014

  • photo3.JPG Hughes, News & Views: Shouses facing tough decisions about Dexter Jr.’s future

    Those of us who have followed Vigo County basketball for more than a decade remember how the families of Greg Oden, Reicina Russell and Chaz Spicer moved to the Indianapolis area before the athletes had a chance to complete high school in Terre Haute.
    Will 6-foot-3, 180-pound Dexter Shouse Jr., who turned 14 in May and recently finished seventh grade at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, pack up his belongings and make a similar trip east with his family?

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tom Reck: July a big month for local sports

    It’s the first day of July, a month full of golf tournaments and racing — all types of racing — and youth baseball tournaments.

    June 30, 2014

  • 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

  • Trackside: Rising costs make Valley racing more difficult than ever

    The life and times of your weekly short-track racer has long lived up to the colorful and exciting ways coveted by those in the stands who gather each weekend to watch their favorite team or driver compete.
    While the weekly trek to the race track has always presented its challenges, the task in recent times has made those trips to the many dirt ovals across the country a little more difficult to make.

    June 24, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Could ISU’s Odum get drafted?

    The National Basketball Association draft is coming up this week. Jake Odum of Indiana State has had several tryouts and looked good in a draft event. It would be nice to see him drafted.

    June 23, 2014 1 Story

  • College report: Wabash College relay team earns All-America honors

    Some summertime notes from here and there:

    June 23, 2014

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Appeal of World Cup is communal

    Columnist explains appeal of World Cup.

    June 21, 2014

  • Tom Lindley column mug.jpg TOM LINDLEY: NCAA could become casualty of paid athletes

    The time has come in Ed O’Bannon’s class action, antitrust case against the NCAA when lawyers start nibbling their fingernails, those in charge of athletic departments feel their heartbeats climb, and athletes try to get a grip on how things will change if their side prevails.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trackside: Likable Dave Darland still chalking up victories at 48

    One of short-track racing’s all-time open-wheel greats continues to add to his growing legacy.
    When veteran racer Dave Darland rolled into victory lane at Lincoln Park Speedway last week, he notched his 94th USAC career win. Add the countless number of open-competition wins over the years and it’s easy to surmise the popular driver is approaching the lofty 200-win plateau.
    His latest checkered flag came in the USAC Indiana Midget Week show at the same 5⁄16-mile dirt oval where he cut his teeth in an open-cockpit car more than 30 years ago.

    June 18, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Valley could be home of some champions

    And the beat goes on … for four teams and two individuals in the final week of Indiana high school sports action.

    June 16, 2014

  • Father, son team up to hunt a cape buff

    While hunting “Black Death” in Africa, your mind is racing with everything that can go wrong. The cape buffalo was starting his stalk on the hunters at 30 yards.
    Three days before, a father and son team decided a cape buff would be a challenge of a lifetime, so the hunt was on. Word came of an old bull running with a cow buffalo in the Limpopo providence and had been spotted. They knew the pair because the cow buff was even more dangerous than the bull for charging people for no reason.

    June 14, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Indy 500 book is intriguing look into an important era

    Doing the job I do, I get my share of books sent to me at the office. I hate to admit it, but a lot of them cross my eye for a moment, and like anyone else, if the subject matter doesn’t interest me, I don’t open it.

    June 13, 2014

  • Trackside: Thumbs up given for upcoming Indiana Midget Week

    In his many years of serving in the public relation department for the U.S. Auto Club, Dick Jordan has developed a keen sense for rating the overall health and future of dirt-track open-wheel racing.
    So when the veteran publicist voices a note of guarded optimism for the running of an upcoming series, one knows something special looms on the horizon.

    June 10, 2014

  • College Report: Brazil’s Baysinger navigates college tennis waters

    Garrett Baysinger of Brazil played his senior season of tennis at Rockville, one of the smallest high schools in the state to field a team in the sport.
    In a sport dominated by foreign players for teams in both genders at most levels, the competition for any college roster spot is extremely difficult. Baysinger did well at Rockville and on the summer circuit and earned a spot on the team at Kaskaskia Junior College in Illinois.

    June 10, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Seven teams, three golfers still have title shots

    Most high school sports teams in the Valley have concluded their seasons and are getting set for summer activity but four golf teams, three baseball teams and three golfers will be busy this week with more postseason play — all hoping to play another week in the state finals.

    June 9, 2014

  • Redneck Quaker: Lidster, Pickering try MacNab Challenge

    When a couple of adventurous, 67-year-old youngsters decided to try their hand at taking different species in Africa, they decided to do the MacNab Challenge.
    In one day, you have to harvest three species, one with feathers (bird), one with scales (fish), and one with a tail and legs (mammal).

    May 31, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Good times for ISU athletics

    I wish I had a time machine. Would I use it to correct some wrongs in my life or witness some important events in history? Sure, but that’s not what’s on my mind this instant. I’d love to go forward in time to see how the state of Indiana State’s athletic department from the present is perceived in the future.

    May 28, 2014

  • Ramblin’ Reck: Reflections plentiful from memorable Indianapolis 500

    The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 is history and will go down as one of the best.
    Weather was perfect and the finish was second closest ever with Ryan Hunter-Reay nipping Helio Castroneves at the finish.
    There were few yellow caution periods with the first incident coming on the 150th lap and a race record was established with 6,105 laps completed by the drivers.

    May 28, 2014

  • Trackside: Crossroads drag strip taking big steps to keep racers

    The eyes of the racing world may have been focused on Indianapolis, Charlotte and Monte Carlo this past weekend. But for Terre Haute area fans and racers, the attention was directed at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds.
    That’s where activities at the Terre Haute Action Track and Crossroads Dragway took center stage. News and results surrounding shows at the two venues offered some encouraging news for the future of racing at the southside facilities.

    May 27, 2014

  • College Report: Former Oblong standout helping VU baseball in Junior College World Series

    Ryan Cheek of Oblong, Ill., helped pace the Vincennes University baseball team to a regional championship and was the winning pitcher as the Trail Blazers won their opening game Saturday in the National Junior College World Series at Enid, Okla.
    Cheek pitched 5.1 innings to pick up the victory as the Trail Blazers won 9-4 over top-ranked Mesa Community College in a rain-delayed contest that took more than five hours to complete.

    May 27, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open
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