Men’s basketball head out west to battle nationally ranked UCLA for season opener
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 23:11
The Indiana State men’s basketball team will be competing in their first regular season on Friday, against the nationally-ranked University California, Los Angeles Bruins. This contest is scheduled to start at 11 p.m. (ET) at the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. This will only be the second time in the programs history that the Sycamores have faced the Bruins. The Bruins currently hold the record advantage at 1–0 over the Sycamores.
Head coach Greg Lansing is entering into his third season as the head coach for the Sycamores. Under Lansing, the Sycamores are an astounding 21–7 at home and is 38–29 overall. The Sycamores will look to gain chemistry on the court. They have already had a few exhibition games, but they have not seen any regular season action yet.
“It is all about trust,” said ISU forward RJ Mahurin.
Mahurin believes that they will just need more on-court time to continue to develop as a unit.
The Bruins of UCLA are ranked 13th nationally on both the Associated Press, and the Coaches’ Poll preseason top 25. The Bruins also have the number one ranked recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN.com and they have three returning starters from last season. The Bruins have also been projected to finish in second place in the PAC-12 Conference. The Bruins have housed some very prominent NBA players during their college years. Some examples would be Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder 5th season), 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Bruins, and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who played for the Bruins during the 2008 college basketball season.
The Bruins and the Sycamores also have a historic coaching connection. Before his record setting career at UCLA, legendary coach John Wooden served as the head coach for the Sycamores during the 1946-1947 and the 1947-1948 seasons.
The Sycamores have five letter winners and only one starter returning from last season. The Sycamores also lost their four senior starters from last season’s 18-15 team. With the loss of those seniors, there are no seniors on Indiana State’s roster. For many of the players, however, they see the lack of seniors as an opportunity to step up and become a leader on the team.
Lansing acknowledged that his team was going to be a “developing team,” but he was confident that if they kept working, they will see success this season. The players are confident in their abilities as well and they contributed their offseason trip to the Bahamas to gaining chemistry as a team, as well as opening their eyes to what work needed to be done.
A win for the Sycamores would improve the Sycamores to 3–0 under Lansing in season opening contests. Also, a win would break a string of 13 straight times that the Sycamores had dropped its season opener on the road. The Sycamores would also gain a victory over a nationally ranked team for the first time since they defeated the 25th ranked Vanderbilt on Dec. 17, 2011, as well.