Indiana State Much Better than Their Record Implies

Guard Brenton Scott celebrates after upsetting then #15 Butler.

Students sat with bated breath around the Hulman Center nervously hoping that the home team could finish up this legendary upset. Junior guard Brenton Scott stepped up to the line and sank the decisive free throw to finish off the 15th best team in the nation at the time, the Butler Bulldogs. Soon enough, the students themselves had joined Scott and his jubilant teammates on the court in an epic courtstorming that was shown on SportsCenter. Things were going great for the fans in Terre Haute, Indiana. Flash forwards to the present and you will find a Sycamores team that is merely 6-8. But are they really that mediocre?

To answer this question, we must head back to the nonconference portion of their schedule. No not to that amazing night at the Hulman Center, but even farther back in time to Thursday, November 24. It was on this day that the Sycamores opened up their AdvoCare Invitational journey with a tough matchup against a #21 ranked Iowa State side. For much of the game, it seemed as though Iowa State wouldn't be able to pull through without their infamous homecourt Hilton Magic, but they eventually escaped with a hard-fought victory. Despite the loss, Indiana State impressed many after putting up such a fight and putting up a very respectable field goal percentage (47%) and three point percentage (41%). The rest of the nonconference schedule was a mix of solid results and some games that the Sycamores probably wish they had back. Nevertheless, the tight loss to Iowa State and aforementioned upset of Butler prove that this is a very talented team that can perform against high-quality opponents. They are most certainly a better than their sub-.500 record.

Unfortunately, their previous successes against top-tier opponents have not yet translated into wins in the Missouri Valley Conference. It is no need to panic yet though, as I'm sure they will greatly improve on their 0-2 start to conference play. After all, their two losses (to Wichita State and Missouri State) happen to be the top two teams in the conference record-wise early on. While you can currently find them close to the basement of the conference in 9th, they are simply too talented to stay there for very long. They should be in the upper echelons of the conference rankings shortly. Should conference play not pan out how the Sycamores would have liked, I still believe that they will be able to use their prior experience against Power 5 schools to potentially win the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament auto-bid. March may be a time where the same feelings of elation that came after the Butler game will be repeated in Sycamore fans.