Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
With Creighton making the move to the Big East, the Missouri Valley Conference takes a hit in terms of the talent at top. Wichita State is the clear favorite to claim the MVC crown but the Indiana State Sycamores have an experienced team that should push the Shockers.
INDIANA STATE SYCAMORES
Last Season: 5th, 9-9 in MVC, 18-15 overall
Predicted MVC Finish: 2nd
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Justin Gant (Jr)/Jake Kitchell (Sr)/Mike Samuels (Jr)
F: Manny Arop (Sr)/T.J. Bell (Fr)/Demetrius Moore (Jr)
G/F: Khristian Smith (So)/Alex Etherington (Fr)/Brandon Burnett (So)
SG: Dawon Cummings (Sr)/Lucas Eitel (Sr)/Brenton Scott (Fr)
PG: Jake Odum (Sr)/Devonte Brown (So)
Gone: F/C-R.J. Mahurin (transfer-Indiana Wesleyan)
Indiana State returns eight of their nine rotation players from a year ago led by do-it-all senior point guard Jake Odum. He led the team in scoring, assists, steals, and finished second in rebounds. He is the motor to the Sycamores engine with his leadership abilities and feel for the game.
Odum figures to be joined in the starting backcourt by Dawon Cummings and Khristian Smith. Both guys were new to the ISU program a year ago but became important role players and that should only increase this season. Devonte Brown also made a splash as a freshman and will be a key reserve backing up Odum at the point while senior Lucas Eitel brings his sharpshooting off the bench. Former Kansas State commit Alex Etherington is a nice get for head coach Greg Lansing and should factor into the equation as well.
The transfer of R.J. Mahurin likely means Indiana State will use a smaller starting five with Manny Arop transitioning to more of a power forward role. The Gonzaga transfer was a welcomed addition last year and plays bigger than his 6-6 height would indicate. Justin Gant returns to start in the middle and though he’s not a true big man, he provides some versatility to the floor.
Expect 6-10 Jake Kitchell to see more minutes off the bench since his size will be needed against bigger opponents. JUCO transfer Demetrius Moore and redshirt freshman TJ Bell add more frontcourt depth. It will be interesting to see if 6’11, 285 pound big man Mike Samuels can make any impact after missing all of last year with a foot injury.
Player to Watch: Jake Odum
The now four-year starter is one of the better all-around players in mid-major basketball. His size, ability to create for his teammates, and improved outside shooting last year makes him a tough matchup for defenses. He doesn’t need to be Superman for the Sycamores this year but taking another step forward in his final year will be needed if Indiana State has any hopes of knocking off Wichita State in the MVC.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/14 at Belmont
11/17 at Notre Dame
11/27 vs. Tulsa (Great Alaska Shootout)
11/29 vs. TCU/Alaska Anchorage (Great Alaska Shootout)
11/30 vs. Harvard/Denver/Green Bay/Pepperdine (Great Alaska Shootout)
12/18 at. St. Louis
12/28 vs. Belmont
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks