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Indiana State’s at-large profile becomes more confounding after win over Creighton

Manny Arop (AP)The resume belonging to one of the nation's most hard-to-figure at-large contenders somehow became a little more puzzling the past four days.

On Saturday, Indiana State lost by three at a Drake team below .500 in Missouri Valley play and 135th in the RPI. On Wednesday, the Sycamores followed that up by pounding first-place Creighton 76-57.

[Also: Kansas suffers one of the season’s most stunning upsets]

The disparity in those results is fitting for an Indiana State team that can't seem to make up it's mind how good it is.

Are the Sycamores the team that handed ACC-leading Miami one of its three losses, upset SEC contender Ole Miss and toppled Valley favorites Creighton and Wichita State? Or are they the team that counts Morehead State, Southern Illinois, Drake and Illinois State among its eight losses?

The result of that roller coaster ride is a 15-8 overall record and an 8-4 league mark that leaves Indiana State only a game behind Creighton in the Valley race. A combination of quality wins and a No. 41 RPI would probably get the Sycamores an at-large bid if the season ended today, but their spot in the field of 68 is tenuous enough that they cannot afford too many more questionable losses.

That won't be a problem if Indiana State can duplicate its performance against Creighton.

The Sycamores rode an efficient 22 points from star guard Jake Odum, who had 16 points at halftime and scored or assisted on nine of his team's 11 first-half baskets. They also excelled defensively, limiting the typically sweet-shooting Bluejays to 5 of 18 from behind the arc and holding Doug McDermott to eight points overall and without a point in the second half.

For Creighton, this is the third road loss in four games. The Bluejays still lead the Valley by a game and they're still in very good position to return to the NCAA tournament, but their seeding is taking a hit with all these losses.

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