Team preview: IUPUI
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
Stamina got the best of IUPUI in 2005-06. The Jaguars led the conference the entire way until the final week, when Oral Roberts caught them for a tie.
Ron Hunter's weary and youthful bunch finally hit a wall and lost consecutive road games to Chicago State and Southern Utah to close the season.
"We ran out of gas at the end of the season," Hunter said. "We went to Canada before the season and that probably wore us down."
Not before a six-week span from Dec. 30 to Feb. 16 that IUPUI never will forget. The Jaguars rattled off 13 wins in 14 games, including overcoming a 22-point second-half deficit at Valparaiso for an 87-82 overtime win.
"We couldn't do anything wrong during that stretch. We got every bounce, every break," Hunter said. "The kids were really comfortable. Their confidence level was real high."
During the final home weekend of the year, IUPUI knocked off the conference's biggest name and best team.
"No one ever beat Valparaiso and Oral Roberts in 48 hours," Hunter said. "But all the things that went right for us, started to turn for us."
After a grinder win against Oakland to open the Mid-Continent Tournament, IUPUI fell to Chicago State, effectively shutting the Jaguars out of a postseason tournament.
Still, a share of the MCC regular-season title was the program's first. For a young team with only one senior starter, Hunter considers last year a major success.
"I'm really happy about what we did last season," the MCC Coach of the Year said. "I think we really overachieved."