The U.N.I. Panthers may finally break into the nation’s top 25 if they can beat Indiana State at home on Saturday night. The Panthers are riding the country’s third longest winning streak at 14 and are off to a 6-0 start in the Missouri Valley Conference race. But, despite a 15-1overall mark the Panthers were still just outside of both the Associated Press and coaches poll this week.
U.N.I. coach Ben Jacobsen says his main focus is on improvement and he likes the fact they are better defensively and as a team they are getting better and they have to continue doing that. Jacobsen says the Panthers are unselfish team that is smart enough to ride the hot hand.
Jacobsen says they have a good understanding and feel if someone has it going and they want to get that person another look before they go somewhere else with the ball. He says that approach makes the group better than an individual.
Jacobsen says experience is a big part of the unselfish play. He says winning last year helped them develop into an unselfish team as they gained confidence and that let them be more unselfish. He says that confidence has carried over to this year.
Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich is convinced the Panthers deserve to be ranked. He says he is very impressed with U.N.I. and says it’s almost comical that they are just on the outside of the rankings. Jankovich says all the other teams in the MVC are chasing the Panthers right now.