by Kent Sterling
Sadly, Indiana State will be on the outside looking in once the brackets are announced in six days. Greg Lansing’s Sycamores have had a nice year, but 12-6 in the Missouri Valley is not going to get it done.
Let’s compare the Sycamores in a few of the categories that the NCAA Selection Committee uses to determine which guests receive an invite to the Big Dance.
- RPI Ranking – #71
- Record against top 50 teams – 0-4 (three losses against Wichita State; one vs. St. Louis)
- Record against top 51-100 teams – 2-3 (split vs. Belmont and Missouri State; loss to Tulsa)
- Worst loss – Southern Illinois (#198)
- RPI Ranking – #41
- Record against top 50 teams – 3-7 (wins against Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State)
- Record against top 51-100 teams – 5-1 (split vs. Illinois, sweep vs. Indiana; wins vs. Georgia and Minnesota)
- Worst loss – UAB (#143)
Minnesota 19-12 (8-10)
- RPI Ranking – #51
- Record against top 50 teams – 3-8 (wins against Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa)
- Record against top 51-100 teams – 3-2 (wins against Florida State, Richmond, and Indiana)
- Worst loss – Purdue (#139)
Providence 20-11 (10-8)
- RPI Ranking – #54
- Record against top 50 teams – 2-6 (wins against Creighton and Xavier)
- Record against top 51-100 teams – 4-4 (splits vs. Georgetown, St. John’s, Marquette; win against La Salle)
- Worst loss – Seton Hall (#148)
UWGB 24-6 (14-2)
- RPI Ranking – #63
- Record against top 50 teams – 1-2 (win against Virginia)
- Record against top 51-100 teams – 3-1 (two wins vs. Cleveland State; win vs. Tulsa)
- Worst loss – Valpo (#187)
The comparative teams were selected because they are the most relevant to basketball fans in the midwest. UWGB is not projected as an at-large team by anyone, while Nebraska is in and Minnesota and Providence as among the first four out on ESPN. Providence is among the last four in, and Minnesota is on the first four out list on cbssportsline.com.
Clearly, Indiana State is likely to be viewed by the selection committee as part of a different league. The win over Notre Dame appeared to be a big win when it happened on November 17, but the Irish finished the regular season with an RPI ranked #124.
Lansing is an excellent coach who should get some serious looks for bigger jobs after the season ends, and Jake Odum has been a terrific player in Terre Haute for what seems 17 years, but there is not a compelling case to be made in favor of their inclusion in the NCAA Tournament.