Indiana State began its recent string of postseason play in 2010 in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the history of the program in 2011 by virtue of their third MVC Tournament Championship. In 2012, the Sycamores hosted their first postseason game since 1978 in the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament (CIT).The Sycamores are currently 18-14 on the season, owning a 9-9 mark in Missouri Valley Conference play. ISU owned the No. 5 seed in the MVC Tournament, downing No.4 Evansville 51-50 in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 Creighton. It marked the sixth appearance in 36 seasons for the Sycamores in the MVC Tournament Semifinals.
Iowa is 21-12 on the season, 9-9 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes defeated Northwestern in the Big 10 Conference Tournament opener but then dropped a narrow 59-56 decision to Michigan State. Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing was an assistant coach at Iowa from 1999-2006. Former Sycamore head coach Sherman Dillard is in his third season as an assistant coach at Iowa.
Indiana State is the No. 6 seed in the Virginia Regional of the NIT. Iowa is the No. 3 seed. The Sycamores are the only team from the Missouri Valley Conference to be invited to the tournament.
Indiana State is making their third appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. ISU is 1-2 all-time in the event, with the victory coming in 1978 at Hulman Center against Illinois State. ISU also played in the 1977 event.