Indiana State has had to power its way through a tough Missouri Valley Conference this season, but got no break Saturday in a BracketBuster non-conference matchup against Iona.
Jake Odum found Dawon Cummings for a layup with four seconds remaining to lift the Sycamores to a 65-64 win at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Ind.
But for Indiana State, this is more about not losing than getting a quality win. Iona’s RPI ranks 134th in the country, meaning that the Sycamores avoided another blemish on their resume.
ISU (RPI: 64) is likely on the wrong side of the bubble right now and can’t be too confident as an at-large with the resume it has built. Yes, there are wins over Miami, Ole Miss, and Creighton, but also losses to Missouri State, Bradley, Morehead State, and Southern Illinois. They have five losses to teams with an RPI of 150 or above.
The three game losing streak that was snapped Saturday is a major hurdle that they might not be able to overcome. Obviously a Missouri Valley tournament title would punch the automatic ticket to the NCAAs, but could a long run in that tournament could do the trick, too?
If Indiana State does not get the automatic, but wins its final two regular season games and makes a run in St. Louis, the Sycamores could present one of the more confusing tournament resumes to the selection committee.