No, our crack staff isn't on permanent Indiana State watch, even though their 7-0 start is a great story. (Admittedly, however, keeping the G!O!T!N! satellite truck parked in Terre Haute does save money on gas.) This is the pick-to-click game tonight because it's New Year's 10 days early. As "Voice of the Valley" Mitch Holthus would tell you, it's the start of the race for the most prestigious, most storied, mid-major basketball championship in the nation - that of the 99-year-old MVC. (And when your top media-market is 67 Wichita
, then oh yes
you're a mid-major conference.)You know about the Sycamores by this point - Moss
, so on, so forth. But we haven't talked about the Redbirds that much yet - they charged out of the gate with vim last year (8-2), but lost seven of their final eight. The cracks are already starting to show for the 2005-06 squad - they might have a 5-3 record and the 22nd ranked defense in the nation heading into conference play (84.9 D-rating, 55.9 ppg), but have had a lot of trouble finding scoring (they're led by Neil Plank's
11.5 ppg). They'll need all the Redbird Pride they can muster to pull out a win in Treeland. So happy new year, ISU and ISU!