When I updated my MVC Power Rankings on Sunday night, I wrote this about Indiana State:
3) Indiana State (13-7, 6-3) – Sycamores have a Top 50 RPI and a huge win over Miami Fl, but there’s little (or no) room for error the rest of the way if they want to play in the NCAA tournament.
When the Symacores walked out of Koch Arena in Wichita on Tuesday night with a 68-55 win over the Shockers, their chances at an NCAA bid improved significantly. Indiana State added a Top 25 road win to a resume that already included wins over Miami FL (RPI #3) and Ole Miss (RPI #37). The Sycamores have a very strong non-conference strength of schedule having also played (RPI) #30 UCLA, #7 New Mexico, and #28 San Diego State. WarrenNolan.com (my preferred RPI guide) lists Indiana State at #39 in the updated RPI. Imagine if the Sycamores hand’t lost at RPI #202 SIU or at #160 Morehead State – they’d be in the near lock stratosphere right now.
Will Tuesday night’s win be enough to get Indiana State into the NCAA tournament? Joe Lunardi listed the Sycamores as his 7th team out of the NCAA’s prior to Tuesday night’s game, so it’s safe to assume ISU’s chances have improved since then. Would a win over Creighton on Feb. 6 be enough? Do they need to sweep Wichita State when the Shockers come to Terre Haute on Feb. 19? Sitting at 7-3 in conference play with two more chances to get Top 50 wins, the Sycamores have a legitimate chance to be dancing come March.
The recipe to an NCAA bid: Avoid any costly slip ups (read: at Drake on Saturday) and win home games including at least one (but preferably) both Creighton and Wichita State. Mix in a Bracket Busters win over a decent opponent and avoid an early Arch Madness exit. Do that and the Valley just might have their best NCAA tournament showing since 2006 when four MVC teams received bids.
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