#101 Indiana State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Indiana State Sycamores

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #101
Conference Rank: #5 Missouri Valley

Indiana State Team Page#101 Indiana State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Indiana State Basketball Tickets

After a pretty poor start to the 2014-2015 campaign, Indiana State was looking much better in Missouri Valley Conference action. Stringing together a few more wins would have been nice, since the Sycamores never won, or lost, more than one game in a row after January 21st, but a 11-7 record and tied for third place in the MVC standings is not a bad season. Unlike last year, Indiana State does not have to replace their top scorer. In fact, their top three scorers are back. However, every other player who averaged double figure minutes is gone and Coach Lansing has to fill in the pieces around his talented starting backcourt.

2014-15 Record: 15-16, 11-7
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Greg Lansing
Coach Record: 94-71 at Indiana State, 94-71 overall

Who’s Out:
Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell were the regular starters in the frontcourt. Both could step outside and knock down shots, but both were big bodies who could eat up space as well. Gant averaged 9.6 points per game and 4.2 rebounds, while Kitchell added 6.4 points and a team high 4.9 rebounds. Tre Bennett was a lot more than just a backup point guard. He played nearly 23 minutes per game, averaging 8.0 points and 3.0 assists. Bennett played just one season with the Sycamores and is transferring. Alex Etherington is transferring as well after a freshman campaign in which he averaged 3.0 points and 1.4 rebounds. But it is the loss of T.J. Bell for the year with an injury that could cause the biggest problems for Indiana State this season. For a team that lost two starting forwards, Bell was the obvious choice to step into a starting role. Now their slim depth is even slimmer.

Who’s In:
The newcomer options in the frontcourt are Neils Bunschoten, Matt Van Scyoc, Emondre Rickman and Bronson Kessinger. Bunschoten has experience at the junior college level and the Dutchman is a nice fit for what Coach Lansing wants to do. He can shoot and he has enough strength to help out on the glass. Van Scyoc spent two years at The Citadel, where he averaged 11.1 points as a freshman and a team high 14.3 points as a sophomore. The 6-6, 218 pound forward does much of his scoring from beyond the arc. Ideally Van Scyoc is a small forward, but he is tough on the glass and will likely spend most, if not all, of his time at the power forward spot for Indiana State. Rickman is the player being thrust into the spotlight with the injury to Bell. The 6-9, 220 pound true freshman is not going to be much of a threat offensively yet, but he is a good defender who can block some shots. Unless Indiana State is going to play small all the time, Rickman is going to have to play quite a few minutes and possibly even start. Kessinger will likely redshirt barring a surprisingly quick recovery from an injury. The already loaded backcourt adds Everett Clemons and gets Brandon Burnett back from injury. Clemons is a true point guard, which is something this team lacked last season. Starting or not, expect Clemons to play starter minutes.

Who to Watch:
It will be interesting to see how Coach Lansing juggles his backcourt. Devonte Brown, Brenton Scott and Khristian Smith were all regular starters last year and all averaged double digits in the scoring department. One of them, likely Scott since he would be a great shooter off of bench, could be relegated to the sidelines to start the game while Clemons steps in to run the point. With that said, Devonte Brown has already proven that he can pass the ball. He is certainly not a true point guard and his turnovers show that, but he dished out 3.3 assists per game last season and added 11.9 points and 4.4 rebounds. Scott knocked down an impressive 44.4 percent of his three-point attempts. He is just a sophomore and his overall game is improving. Starting or relegated to the bench, he is still a double digit scorer and a 30 minute per game type of player. Smith may be asked to do the most for the Sycamores this year. At 6-6 and 200 pounds, Smith will need to improve on his 4.5 rebounds per game to help the inexperienced frontcourt.

Final Projection:
Assuming players like sophomore Brandon Murphy are not going to surprise everybody and turn into a 20 minute per game player, Coach Lansing will have to figure out a way to keep his backcourt happy and fill his frontcourt. The obvious answer would be to play really small at times, but that would leave Van Scyoc at the five spot and that is just not going to work defensively against any team in the MVC. Rickman and Bunschoten, who really isn’t a five either, will have to fill that void. The backcourt will score in bunches, but if this team is going to compete for an NCAA Tournament spot, Rickman and Bunschoten have to at least play solid defense and hit the boards effectively.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Devonte Brown, Senior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Brenton Scott, Sophomore, Guard, 11.4 points per game
Khristian Smith, Senior, Guard, 10.5 points per game
Matt Van Scyoc, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Emondre Rickman, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.5 (200th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.8 (208, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (221, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (158, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (77, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (114, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.2 (132, 6)
Rebound Margin: -2.4 (276, 9)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (155, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (298, 10)


See All Top 144 Basketball Previews