On Saturday afternoon, the Indiana State Sycamores and the Iona Gaels kicked off a day of college basketball that features a number of pivotal match-ups from coast-to-coast.
The day’s earliest start time was also the first such match-up as part of BracketBusters Saturday, as the Sycamores of the Missouri Valley Conference took on an Iona squad representing the MAAC.
A close-knit battle throughout, Indiana State used a late and-1 basket off a nifty feed from star guard Jake Odum to secure a 65-64 victory. The basket came with under five seconds remaining in the contest and gave the Sycamores their first victory since Feb. 9.
Entering the contest, Indiana State had dropped three consecutive games, a disappointing stretch that has virtually taken them out of the at-large discussion. On most occasions, BracketBuster Saturday provides mid-major squads a great opportunity to boost their resume, but for the Sycamores, the win over Iona virtually has no barring outside of ending their losing streak.
A great overall balance which included four starters in double-figures offensively, aided the victory which moved Indiana State to 17-11 overall. At this juncture in the season, the Sycamores need to most likely win the conference tournament in order to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
So while Indiana State got a nice, exciting victory on Saturday afternoon, the win provides no stability or boost to their resume potential and tournament hopes. Iona, who qualified for the Big Dance a season ago as an at-large squad, fell to 15-13 overall on the year.
Indiana State will shoot for back-to-back wins on Wednesday when Drake comes to town in their final home game of the regular season.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS