ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Valley Conference cognoscenti looked at both the Indiana State men’s and women’s basketball teams and seemingly came to the same conclusion.
We think you’re getting better, but we’re still on the fence a little bit.
That notion was reflected in where both teams were picked in the MVC Preseason polls, announced Tuesday at MVC Media Day in St. Louis. The ISU men were picked to finish seventh in the league, ISU’s highest placing since the Sycamores were tabbed third in 2002, but under the expectations of some observers.
The ISU women — who were 14-16 last season, but were competitive in conference play until knee injures shelved Leah Phillips (who has since graduated), Deja Mattox and Kelsey Luna — were picked fifth.
As ever, ISU player representatives were blase’ about the picks themselves, knowing full well that the polls mean nothing once the season begins.
“We finished 11-21 last year, but we showed over the last nine games last year what we have to offer. What seventh place tells me is how much harder we have to work to beat the teams ahead of us. We know we can compete with anybody, we have to come out and show we can come out on top,” ISU guard Rashad Reed said.
ISU’s women weren’t given much benefit of the doubt considering the Sycamores were competing for the conference lead last season until they were waylaid by the triple knee injuries. Two years ago, Drake was chosen first after coming off an injury-marred previous season in which it finished eighth.
“Preseason picks are just that, we take it as it is, and then we’re done with it. Hopefully, we can look back and say, ‘Yeah, maybe they didn’t give us the benefit of the doubt’. I have faith in the team and we have faith in each other, that’s what’s going to make us successful,” said ISU guard Kelsey Luna, who was named to the All-MVC Preseason Women’s Team.
Luna’s selection returns a Sycamore to Preseason Women’s Team after one a one-year gap. Laura Rudolphi was a preseason selection in 2007-08.
“I’m extremely honored. I’ve respected all of the other players on the panel with me as first-teamers, so to be a part of that is a privilege and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Luna said.
No Sycamore men were named to the team, though Jake Kelly and Harry Marshall were both honorable mention selections. Illinois State senior swingman Osiris Eldridge was named the MVC Preseason Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
In the men’s preseason poll, Northern Iowa — co-champions of the Valley in 2009 — were a near-unanimous pick to win the league, garnering all but one of the first-place votes. The Panthers return all of their starters from a year ago. Creighton, the other 2009 co-champion, was picked second.
The Bluejays were picked to win the women’s race in a competitive vote. Though Creighton dominated the first-place votes — 2009 regular season champion Illinois State was the only other school to receive a first-place vote — only 143 points separated the top five picks down to ISU’s fifth-place selection. The conference does not name a preseason women’s player of the year.
“It’s been a good preseason. It’s probably one of the deepest and one of the biggest teams we’ve had in a long time. We have more length on the perimeter and it will allow us to do some of the things we’ve done in the past,” ISU coach Jim Wiedie said.
ISU coach Kevin McKenna mentioned during a coaches’ press conference that the buzz the men’s program is enjoying from the community going into the season is the best its been during his tenure in Terre Haute.
Channeling that buzz in the right direction is a big key for the Sycamores, who won seven of their last nine to finish the season last year.
Marshall is trying his best to tune the hype out.
“I don’t think we have the right or the privilege to have buzz just because we look good on paper. The buzz is great for our fans and hopefully it will be great for our attendance, but as far as paying any attention to it, I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s a distraction, but we can’t pay too much attention to it because it could be a downfall for our team,” Marshall said.
McKenna said he’s tried to strike a balance between grounding the Sycamores, but also, not wanting to shake the confidence the team should have.
“I’ve been trying to keep them as grounded as they possibly can be. On the other hand, you want them excited about the season, you want them playing confident and having the feeling we can do some things. And I feel that,” McKenna said. “But we’re a totally different team, it’s a new league, we have new chemistry, new players. We lose Jay Tunnell, but we add some players. We’ll be a different kind of team this year.”
Basketball begins early next week. The ISU women open their exhibition season Sunday against Bellarmine. The ISU men open next Tuesday in a highly-anticipated match-up with Rose-Hulman.
MEN'S PRESEASON POLL
1. Northern Iowa (38) 389
2. Creighton (1) 336
3. Illinois State 299
4. Southern Illinois 272
5. Wichita State 216
6. Bradley 208
7. Indiana State 173
8. Drake 105
9. Missouri State 92
10. Evansville 55
Preseason All-Conference team – Kwadzo Ahelegbe, UNI; Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State; Tony Freeman, SIU; Adam Koch, UNI; P'Allen Stinnett, Creighton; Josh Young, Drake.
Honorable mention — Kevin Dillard, SIU; Clevin Hannah, Wichita State; Jake Kelly, ISU; Sam Maniscalco, Bradley; Harry Marshall, ISU; Toure' Murry, Wichita.
Preseason Player of the Year — Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State
WOMEN'S PRESEASON POLL
1. Creighton (34) 393
2. Illinois State (3) 340
3. Drake 296
4. UNI 253
5. Indiana State 250
6. Bradley 214
7. Missouri State 188
8. Evansville 108
9. Wichita State 97
10. Southern Illinois 61
Preseason All-Conference team — Casey Garrison, Missouri State; Maggie Krick, Illinois State; Kelsey Luna, ISU; Megan Neuvirth, Creighton; Jordann Plummer, Drake.
Women fifth, men seventh in preseason polls
ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Valley Conference cognoscenti looked at both the Indiana State men’s and women’s basketball teams and seemingly came to the same conclusion.
ISU track sending record 22 to postseason
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction
Indiana State’s baseball team has been waiting all season for its stars to align.
But this is the 2013 Sycamores, after all, and after a season in which seemingly little has gone right, it appears its stars will remain crossed at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU's athletic treasure trove
Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
Momentum was the only thing riding on Indiana State’s baseball game against Bradley on Friday. With a five-game winning streak going, ISU wanted to keep the good vibes going into next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU couldn’t do it.
Behind 16 hits and Manaea's pitching, ISU beats Bradley
Indiana State’s baseball team rode a wild ride of emotion on Thursday.
First came the public announcement that Bob Warn Field would host the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Later, Sean Manaea’s availability to pitch ISU’s series opener against Bradley was in doubt.
Indiana State women add five transfers, including experienced D-I point guard
Indiana State coach Teri Moren believes the addition of five more newcomers to the program — in addition to the five who had already joined the program earlier this calendar year — will provide her coaching staff the athleticism and depth it needs to play a successful, up-tempo brand of basketball next season.
Metro roundup: Woods softball takes seventh in national tournament
The St. Mary-of-the-Woods softball team finished seventh in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball tournament on Tuesday at Firestone Stadium.
Metro Roundup: Indiana State’s Shakir Bell on Performance Awards watch list
College Football Performance Awards has announced its watch list for the 2013 CFPA FCS Running Back Award, and Indiana State’s Shakir Bell earned a spot on the list.
ISU baseball team builds on success with 14-2 rout
Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
Johnson, Lyke win MVC titles for ISU
Indiana State’s Felisha Johnson and Maurice Lyke were both crowned Missouri Valley Conference champions on Saturday during the MVC Track and Field Championships at Drake University.
ISU earns badly-needed win
Alcorn State’s baseball team might be ranked in the bottom 10 in RPI and Indiana State might have never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference team. So it wouldn’t appear that a quality win was in the offing when Alcorn State visited Bob Warn Field on Friday.
Metro roundup: RHIT’s Evans sets Div. III record in high jump
For the third time this season, Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans topped the NCAA Division III all-time national record in the outdoor high jump Friday night.
ISU’s Mascari and Hope win MVC track & field titles
Indiana State produced two champions during the opening day of action in the Missouri Valley Conference track and field championships Friday at Drake. Freshman John Mascari, a Terre Haute native, won the men’s 10,000-meter race and Nicole Hope won the women’s pole vault for the second time in three seasons.
ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
To catapult oneself about 14 feet into the air with a large $500 fiberglass pole on a daily basis is a risky endeavor.
“We have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid at all,” said Hope, who has also catapulted herself into the NCAA’s elite in the event, ranking 15th in the NCAA with her leap of 13-feet, 9 1/4.
Sycamores searching for answers after seventh loss in eight games
These are the bad times for the Indiana State baseball team.
The will is there for the Sycamores to pull out of their worst slump of the season, but the results are not. The suffering continued on Wednesday at Bob Warn Field as Eastern Illinois defeated ISU 5-3.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU men's track picked first in MVC Championships, women second
The Indiana State men’s track team has won the last two Missouri Valley Conference outdoor championships, but the women have not stood on the top podium since 1999.
That may change this year, but the Sycamores will face some stiff competition in their quest for the championships.
North grad Welker helps Whitson earn first NCAA bid as coach
Eastern Kentucky girls golf coach Mike Whitson, an alumnus of his employer, enjoyed his stay in Terre Haute as coach of Indiana State, where he started the women’s golf program.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman wins HCAC all-sports trophy
Rose-Hulman has won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s all-sports trophy for the fifth time in the past six year, the league announced Monday.
Rose tallied 66.5 points for its finishes in 11 men’s sports, just ahead of Franklin with 66. Hanover was third with 53 points.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman tennis falls in HCAC semifinal
Rose-Hulman’s hot streak in men’s tennis came to an end Saturday in the semifinal round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at the West Indy Racquet Club.
Manaea fights off bad hip, wet weather to toss four innings
Mother Nature has been the bane of the Indiana State baseball team’s existence all season. Eight games wiped due to weather are a testament to that. So it was no surprise, though no less disappointing, when she didn’t deal Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea the greatest hand on Saturday as he tries to recover from a hip injury.
ISU track enjoys big night at IU's Billy Hayes Invitational
The Indiana State Sycamores either won or finished as the top collegian in 12 events, led by the record-breaking performance of senior Brandon Pounds at the 2013 Billy Hayes Invitational Friday at Indiana University.
Pounds broke his own school record to win the men’s hammer throw.
Lansing looking for more home games for next fall
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is looking for a few good games.
Home games that is.
The Sycamores have filled in most of the blanks in their nonconference schedule, but as ever, ISU coach Greg Lansing would like to visit the friendly confines of Hulman Center a bit more often.
Secret weapon: Kelsey Rosselli finishing Woods career with a bang
At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, reporting game results to the Tribune-Star after a win or a loss is not always a high priority.
So when one of its athletes enjoys an outstanding season, like senior Kelsey Rosselli is doing for the Pomeroys’ softball team in 2013, media publicity doesn’t always follow.
In fact, her efforts almost seem like a government secret.
Rosselli’s name might sound familiar to longtime Terre Haute softball followers because she was a standout for North High School, from where she graduated in 2009.
Since then, she’s helped The Woods finish runner-up in three straight U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national tournaments in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
ISU baseball gets back into rhythm with victory
Baseball is a rhythm game. With contests every day or five times a week in the case of many college programs, you have the chance to build on success or wallow in a slump.
Mother Nature took that rhythm away from Indiana State’s team last week. After a 7-1 loss to Indiana on April 24, ISU was supposed to play a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin, but it was wiped out by rain.
So the rhythm was disturbed, but perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing.
ISU was in a five-game losing streak before its unintended vacation and the Sycamores made a move in the right direction Wednesday with a 7-0 win over DePauw at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a disappointing weekend. We went all the way down to Tennessee and didn’t get to play. We sat around in the hotel room. We came here and it was still raining. It was nice to get out and see some live pitching,” ISU center fielder Landon Curry said.
Metro roundup: ISU hands out spring awards
The Indiana State University athletic community, along with family, friends and fans, paused Tuesday night to honor the spring sports teams at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Spring Sports Banquet.
Most of the ISU teams are still in competition with the baseball team having 13 games left of its regular-season schedule before beginning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament May 21, the softball team with just three games left of the docket this coming weekend against Southern Illinois and the track and field program with just one more meet before beginning its postseason events.
The ISU women’s golf team is the team that has ended at this time, with the group recording a sixth-place finish at the MVC championships one week ago.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose baseball wins another thriller
Rose-Hulman earned its third victory in its last at-bat in the last five days with a 6-5 win over Franklin in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball Tuesday night at Art Nehf Field.
ISU relay teams enjoy strong day at Drake Relays
It was a day for the relay teams to shine at the 104th Drake Relays Saturday as four of the five Indiana State relay teams that competed ran times that put the team among the top five in school history for their respective events.
Indiana State baseball series canceled
Heavy rain from Thursday through Saturday has forced Indiana State and Tennessee Martin to cancel their three-game weekend baseball series in northwest Tennessee.
Metro roundup; Five Wabash Valley players on Terre Haute Rex team
The Terre Haute Rex will look to three-peat as Prospect League Western Division champions with a roster that includes a quartet of Wabash Valley players. Indiana State University standouts Tyler Wampler and Josh Dove will reunite with former Little League and high school rivals Cody Gardner (Wright State), Tim Johnson (Vincennes) and Bryan Nacke (Vincennes) for the summer season.
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