Indiana State ranked for first time since Larry Bird days

    Indiana State made its season debut in the Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday.

    It’s also the Sycamores’ first time as a top-25 ranked program since the days of Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

    Indiana State (22-3, 13-1) is also the first Missouri Valley Conference team to be ranked in an AP poll since Loyola was No. 22 for one week during the 2021-22 campaign.

    The last time the Sycamores cracked the top-25 was during Bird’s 1978-79 senior season. “The Hick from French Lick” was the AP Player of the Year that season and led Indiana State to a 33-1 record, No. 1 overall ranking and top seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Sycamores eventually lost to fellow Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans in one of the most famous tournament finals of all-time.

    Indiana State has only competed in “March Madness” three times since then, falling in the first round as a 12-seed in 2000, the second round as a 13-seed in 2001 and the second round as a 14-seed in 2011.

    The Sycamores are on a nine-game winning streak and are 11-0 at home.

    According to an Associated Press and ESPN report, Indiana State is fifth in the country in scoring (85.6 points per game), ninth in three-point field goal percentage (39%) and first in adjusted field goal percentage. The team has five players averaging double figures in scoring, led by guard Isaiah Swope (17.7 points per game) and center Robbie Avila (16.4 points per contest).

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