Tag:Indiana State
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 3:29 pm
 

Missouri Valley has look of multiple-bid league


By Jeff Goodman

The Missouri Valley has been a one-bid league for the past four years. 

That'll change this season. 

League commissioner Doug Elgin isn't quite ready to put his league on par with 2005 and 2006, but he's also not afraid to admit that this year the conference should be in position to receive multiple bids come March. 

The top four teams -- Creighton, Wichita State, Indiana State and Northern Iowa -- are 36-7 overall. All rank in the Top 50 of the RPI and the league certainly has the look and feel of a multiple-bid conference this season. 

Back in mid-December of 2005-06, when the Valley wound up with three teams in the NCAA tournament, there were six teams in the RPI's Top 75 and the non-conference mark for the league was 57-20. The next season, when a record four schools got into the Big Dance, there were four teams in the Top 75 and the non-conference record was 66-22. 

This season there are four teams in the Top 50 and the non-conference record is 70-33. 

"We're decidedly stronger and deeper than we've been in the last three or four years," Elgin said. "Juniors and seniors are leading the way, and we have some really good point guards on the contending programs." 

There are some marquee wins for the league as well. Indiana State took care of Vanderbilt with its star big man, Festus Ezeli; Wichita State defeated UNLV; and Creighton knocked off San Diego State on the road. The league isn't ranked second or third in the RPI - as it was back in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons - but it's eighth overall. 

Creighton is considered the premiere team in the league and also boasts the frontrunner for conference Player of the Year honors -- Doug McDermott. But Greg Lansing's Indiana State team proved it may be improved from a year ago -- when it went to the NCAA tournament -- with the win in Nashville against Vandy. Gregg Marshall has his best overall team since arriving at Wichita State, with five guys in double-figures, and Ben Jacobsen has made certain Northern Iowa hasn't fallen off the map since the huge upset over Kansas in the NCAA tournament a couple years ago. 

Elgin said that there has clearly been an increased commitment by the league as a whole to boost their non-conference schedules.

"Part of the problem the last few years was that the teams that ended up being our strongest didn't have the non-conference schedules," Elgin admitted. 

Elgin also said coaching stability has something to do with the success this season. Missouri State's Paul Lusk is the only rookie coach. New Bradley coach Geno Ford has experience coming from Kent State and every other coach has at least three years of head coaching experience in the league except for Lansing - who was an assistant coach for the Sycamores before getting the head gig. 

"It's too early to start counting our chickens," Elgin said. "But I think we're certainly getting close to where we were." 

Photo: US PRESSWIRE

Posted on: March 6, 2011 11:54 pm
 

Welcome to the Dance: Indiana State Sycamores

Indiana State was not supposed to be in this position. The Sycamores came into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament playing well, locking in a surprising No. 3 seed with wins in five of their last six games. But with most assuming Missouri State and Wichita State were headed for a conference final showdown, few expected Greg Lansing’s team to be headed to the NCAA Tournament. However thanks to three gutsy wins, Indiana State is dancing once again and believes it can make more noise on the bigger stage.

The Sycamores pride themselves on balance, with all five starters averaging between 8 and 11 points a game. The chemistry of the team, and its fortunes for the season, changed prior to conference play when Lansing says he “handed the keys of the car” to freshman point guard Jake Odum. The Terre Haute native immediately introduced a swagger and up-tempo pace to the team that was severely lacking. Since that day, Indiana State turned around a program picked to finish mid pack in the conference into one that challenged for the regular season league title. After beating both Wichita State and Missouri State in the conference tournament, the school best known for being the college home of Larry Bird is dancing one again. The Sycamores won’t be intimidated by whoever happens to be their first round opponent, as they played two strong games on the road in defeats at Notre Dame and Purdue

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Jake Odum  It is rare to see a team embrace being led by a freshman, but in the case of Indiana State, Odum is the emotional centerpiece. Having grown up in Terre Haute, Odum was a lifelong Indiana State fan who hoped to play for the Sycamores. After receiving the opportunity, he came in and put his personality on the team, playing with a confidence that his teammates feed off on during the game. Odum has deceptive speed, quick hands and a knack for hitting the crucial shot at the end of games (as seen in his game winner in the MVC quarterfinals versus Evansville). He and his “Cousin Mose from ‘The Office’” beard won’t win the eye test coming off the bus, but his game will have you a believer before the final horn.

Team Vitals

Record: (20-13, 12-6)

Team Colors: Sycamore Blue and White

We’re Thinking:  14 seed

Kenpom Ranking:  118

RPI:  95


Best Win: Missouri State (twice)

Worst Loss:  Eastern Kentucky

Most recent tournament history: 2001 (lost to Gonzaga in 2nd round)


Posted by MATT JONES

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 6, 2011 6:18 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 7:14 pm
 

Indiana State with a gutsy MVC title win

ST. LOUIS --- For the first time in a decade and only the third time since Larry Bird departed campus, Indiana State will be dancing in March. The Sycamores defeated Missouri State 60-56 on Sunday to complete its surprising run through the MVC tournament and earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Led by its guard combo of Aaron Carter and Jake Odum, Indiana State was down three at halftime, after a sloppy first half that saw both teams struggle to execute their game plans. But Indiana State came out with defense on its mind in the second half,beginning the second half on an 8-0 run. Missouri State went until the 9:19 mark in the second half before it made its first field goal and the Sycamores were able to withstand a late Missouri State’s rally to get the win.

Having played three games in less than 48 hours, Indiana State came into the game hoping to shoot a high percentage and win with defense. The Sycamores accomplished the first by shooting an impressive 50% from the field, allowing them to overcome a significant size disadvantage and rebound differential on the glass. And defensively, Indiana State was able to limit the scoring opportunities of Missouri State’s big three, Kyle Weems, Adam Leonard and Jermaine Mallett, holding them to only 39 points on 8-25 shooting.

Still yet, Missouri State was able to remain in the game thanks to the striking disparity on the boards. The Bears’ 20 offensive rebounds, in contrast to Indiana State’s four, kept them within striking distance throughout their poor play in the second half. When Missouri State’s Adam Leonard drained a contested three to cut the margin to one with 27 seconds left, it looked as if the Bears might yet be able to once again overcome their poor play with timely late shooting heroics.

After Indiana State’s Jake Odum made one of two free throws, the Bears took over for a final possession to tie or win the game. With six seconds remaining, the ball was inbounded to Missouri Valley Player of the Year, Kyle Weems, whose game winner earlier in the tournament against Southern Illinois sent the Bears to the semifinals. Indiana State quickly double teamed, forcing him to pass to conference tournament MVP Jermaine Mallett. After a quick first step to the basket, the ball slipped from Mallett’s hands rolling out of bounds and handing Indiana State the victory.

Missouri State never looked completely in sync at any point in St. Louis. From the outset, the Bears were unable to execute with their normal offensive efficiency, and won primarily via a desperation to end the school’s NCAA drought. The Bears were fortunate to win their first game against Southern Illinois, overcoming a nine point deficit in the game’s last three minutes, and never were able to regain their regular season form. Each game featured impressive late comebacks designed to overcome large second half deficits, but on Sunday, their fortune finally ran out. The regular season MVC champion, which has been perpetually on the bubble in recent years, likely does not have a strong enough resume to get into the big dance and will probably once again have to settle for a disappointing NIT bid on Selection Sunday. 

As for Indiana State, the NCAA Tournament now awaits for a program that hasn’t been invited in nearly a decade. Just three years removed from a 20 loss season and one summer from having its head coach leave the program to become an assistant at Oregon, the Sycamores are now dancing. First year coach Greg Lansing says his team is “made of the right stuff” and their path, which featured a buzzer beating win and victories over the top two teams in the conference proves their mettle. They now head to the NCAA Tournament, hoping to recreate the glory of the past with a tough, young team ready to make history of its own.

MVC Conference Page and bracket

Posted by MATT JONES

Coach Greg Lansing on the victory:



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Posted on: March 6, 2011 8:52 am
 

Sunday Preview: bids and seeds go flying



Posted by Eric Angevine

Plenty of games on today, but I'm going to focus on a handful. Starting with:

Kentucky @ Tennessee, 12:00 p.m. ET, CBS: Uh-oh, one last road game for the Wildcats before the SEC tournament begins. See above.

Indiana State @ Missouri State, 2:05 p.m., CBS: Another NCAA bid goes out today. Will it belong to Cuonzo Martin and the Missouri State Bears, who are celebrating their first-ever MVC regular-season championship? Or will Larry Bird's alma mater get back to the Dance for the first time since 2001? Either way, there will be one less bid up for grabs at the end of this one. Matt Jones will be live on site. | MVC title game preview

Wisconsin @ Ohio State, 4:00 p.m., CBS: Purdue's baffling loss to Iowa yesterday took some drama out of this one, as it handed the Big Ten title to the Buckeyes outright. Still, this should be a dynamite battle between two top-ten teams, with OSU looking to stay firmly on top, and Wisconsin trying to grab a season sweep that could dramatically improve their Big Dance seeding. | Video Preview

I'll be at the CAA semifinals, where multiple bids appear to be solidly in play. Should be another exciting day of college hoops!

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Posted on: March 5, 2011 7:55 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2011 9:27 pm
 

Indiana State and Missouri State to MVC Finals

ST. LOUIS --- They have had the smallest crowds, the fewest students and at times, the sloppiest play in the Missouri Valley Tournament field. But on Saturday, Indiana State threw a wrench in the tournament’s presumed Missouri State-Wichita State final, by defeating the Shockers 61-54 in St. Louis. 

Buoyed by an 18-1 run early in the second half, Indiana State is now headed to its first conference tournament final in a decade and a chance to be the next team to deny Missouri State’s its coveted NCAA Tournament bid. The Sycamores were led by their inside-outside combination of Myles Walker and Jake Odum, each of whom hit big shots down the stretch in the second half to help pull away to the win. 

The huge surprise was Walker, who scored a career high 14 points in the game. Walker has been an inconsistent presence all season, scoring in double figures only three times previously. But on Saturday, he was a dominant figure, hitting two crucial shots when Wichita State narrowed the Sycamores’ lead to two late. His ability to score created late double teams and allowed Indiana State shooters the open looks needed to hold on in the games’ final minutes.

The win sends Indiana State to the final on Saturday versus Missouri State, but the future of Wichita State is much murkier. The Shockers were likely just on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble coming into the tournament and the loss to Indiana State does nothing to help its resume. Gregg Marshall’s team scheduled ambitiously early in the season and without question had the deepest and most talented roster in the Missouri Valley. But its loss on Saturday was indicative of a season in which all did not quite click, and the team was left not quite reaching its vast potential.

Missouri State 60 Creighton 50

Missouri State is just one game away from finally reaching its goal of making the school’s first NCAA Tournament since 1999. After the Bears trailed by 8 at halftime, the duo of Jermaine Mallet and Kyle Weems help spur their second substantial comeback of the Missouri Valley Tournament. Mallet scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, while Weems added 15 points and 7 rebounds in the comeback victory.

As in Friday’s game versus Southern Illinois, Missouri State was completely out of sorts for most of the contest, looking nothing like the team that won the regular season conference title. But in the second half, coach Cuonzo Martin once again changed the team’s offensive strategy, allowing for more one on one opportunities for his star players and overwhelming Creighton’s slower defenders. Missouri State scored efficiently, shooting 50% from the field in the half and committing only one turnover, allowing it to cruise to the championship game.


Posted by MATT JONES



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Posted on: January 17, 2011 9:35 am
Edited on: January 17, 2011 9:43 am
 

Video: Air ball leads to game-winning layup

Posted by Matt Norlander

Some serendipity for the Sycamores!

Indiana State (11-7) improved to a surprising 6-1 in the Missouri Valley Sunday after it defeated Creighton by unintentional means in at last second in the Hulman Center.

With the score wrapped at 59 and 4.3 seconds remaining on the clock, Bluejays freshman Jake Odum took the inbounds pass from junior Carl Richards and subsequently put up a heave to win the game. But the shot fell well short, vaguely reminiscent of the ending of the 1983 national title game.

Richards, like a heat-seeking missile, was eyeing the orange the entire way and put up a no-look reverse layup to give Indiana State the win at home in the most surprising way. Amateur video of the scene in Terre Haute below.



You know that golden rule of last-second shots: Don't forget about the inbounder. In this case, Richards roamed free and clear and bailed out his young teammate, putting the Sycamores in the thick of a three-team race atop the MVC.

(H/T, The Dagger)
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
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