In a Missouri Valley Conference clash, the Indiana State Sycamores improved to 9-1 at home against a conference opponent the Drake Bulldogs on Sunday, with a 60-56 victory. Just a few days prior Indiana State gave the No. 2 ranked team, the Wichita State Shockers, quite a scare. The Shockers ended up winning 65-58, but the nation stood up and took notice of Indiana State’s bold effort. Wichita State’s defense appeared to be too much in the end for the Sycamores, but proved that they were a resilient squad.
On Sunday, the Sycamores disposed of a much lesser opponent. Senior guards Manny Arop and Jake Odum were too much for the Bulldogs to handle.
Indiana State should be feeling good about itself right now. Even though it knows it can’t catch the Shockers for the top spot in the MVC, it should be happy with tightening its grip on second place as it is now three games ahead of the third place team in the conference, the Missouri State Bears.
Indiana State will no doubt gain some attention this year as potential party crashers or “bubble busters” for the NCAA tournament. Indiana State has shown some real resiliency this year, winning at Notre Dame and beating Ohio Valley Conference favorite Belmont by 12 at home, even though they lost at Belmont by one in November.
The Sycamores have struggled a bit lately beyond the three-point arc, but they came into Sunday’s matchup with Drake at 38 percent from downtown. They could excel in the tournament against teams that are soft in their perimeter defense.
After competing with larger schools and giving Wichita State a run for its money, Indiana State has forced the rest of the nation to take it seriously heading into the home stretch of the college basketball regular season.
The Sycamores have a very navigable path to the Missouri Valley finals, and while Wichita State handled them with ease at home, the conference tournament is played on a neutral court where they would have a decent chance to upset the Shockers and earn their bid to the tournament. Look for Indiana State to possibly crash the Big Dance this year.