NCAA countdown: No. 47 Indiana State
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: Indiana State coach Greg Lansing isn’t that surprised senior point guard Jake Odum has gone relatively unnoticed nationally.
“The kid just looks like a skinny Amish kid,” said Lansing jokingly of the do-everything point guard whom he believes gives his team a shot to become a top-25 team in 2013-14.
Odum, along with three other starters, return for the Sycamores following a strong season that saw ISU’s NCAA tournament bubble burst — falling just short of an at-large bid in the Dance and ending in an early NIT exit.
With Creighton leaving for the Big East, the reactionary perspective is that the Missouri Valley will be a one-bid league, with that NCAA tournament ticket allotted for Final Four finisher Wichita State. But the Shockers won’t have a cakewalk slate in the Valley by any stretch, and Indiana State returns with the experience and depth to make the Valley a sure-fire two-bid.
Coach’s corner: “Last year, I thought we were an NCAA tournament team. But we didn’t take care of business. The NIT is great for our school, but we want to win championships on a consistent basis. … I wasn’t surprised for one second when Wichita State made the Final Four. That’s a team we beat, and it’s indicative of how strong our league is. The (NCAA) tournament is about matchups, but what they did was incredible.” — Lansing, who enters his fourth season at the school after leading Indiana State to three consecutive postseason appearances (including the NCAA tourney in 2011).
2013-14 in review: 18-15 (9-9 Missouri Valley), lost in the NIT first round to Iowa.
Path to the Dance: The Sycamores will be shooting for a regular-season MVC championship as well as the conference tournament title. Still, an at-large bid should be available if Valley teams perform well during their challenging non-conference schedules. Wichita State will be the favorite, but if any team in the conference can beat Gregg Marshall’s group, it’s Indiana State. It’s not to be forgotten that there’s often a dark horse in the Missouri Valley. Northern Iowa is primed to contend in … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 47 Indiana State, click here.]