Levi Kemp may not have been scoring as much as of late, but his passing has brought Indy's game to another level.
Levi Kemp may not have been scoring as much as of late, but his passing has brought Indy's game to another level.

No one knew what was going to happen in the SEK this season. Anyone that says they knew is lying to you and you should really question whether or not they really know what they're talking about.

OK, that's hyperbole, but the point is that with all of the scorers that left the SEK last season (Dylan Untereker, Pitt, Seth Graham, Field Kindley, Jacob Almond, Parsons, Jalynn Lawrie, Indy, Kaleb DeLaTorre, Fort Scott, Klein Ryan, Labette County, Trey Lind, Chanute) no one really knew what to expect.

And those are just a few names, there are so many more players that left.

So while Pittsburg was picked to win the SEK and Indy was picked to finish sixth, in all honesty no one really would have been that overly surprised if those two teams flipped.

However, it has been incredibly surprising to see how Indy has played in SEK games, and there would have been very few people that would have said Indy would have been 5-1 through the first half of league play and that their only loss would have come in double overtime by just four points to Pittsburg.

Believe it or not though the one team that isn't surprised about the success Indy has had is Indy. Senior guard Zack Schroeder was quick to make that point Tuesday night.

"Honestly yes," he said. "I don't think we should have lost that first one and we have that Friday game coming up so we want some revenge on that.

"We should be 6-0 and No. 1 but we're going to their place (tonight) and we're just going to have to play like we did (Tuesday), lock up on that sophomore, whatever his name is, and stop them from driving, because they have one good shooter, but other than that they can't shoot very well, so we're going to have to pack it in and play good defense because they're taller than us."

And before you react and think this is just an athlete that's spouting off crazy things and that he's a high school kid that doesn't know what he's talking about, Zack Schroeder is incredibly smart and always tells it like it is.

He is a multiple-time academic all-state player and he has talent too. He says things that may sound crazy but he believes them and he is usually right.

As mentioned before Indy is 5-1 in SEK play, but they are 7-2 in their last nine games after starting the year 0-4.

And as surprising as that may be to some, with as many questions as there were coming into the season it's not as surprising as you might think.

"I think you look at our league and you don't know when you come in," Indy head coach Marcus Lanning said. "A lot of people returned a lot, but a lot of the scorers from last year graduated from a lot of places, a lot of people had maybe their second or third scorer there and that's why I felt like it's going to be who improved the most on their role players and who improves during the season.

"We were still playing solid, we just could't finish a ballgame early on, our guys have welcomed other players in, they've given guys other opportunities, and I think as a group we're doing a pretty good executing and getting the ball into the areas they need to."

The only team that is playing better than Indy in SEK play is Pittsburg. They are 6-0 in the SEK and 12-1 overall.

And honestly for me it's almost as surprising that they are 6-0 as it is that Indy is 5-1. Yes, they brought back R.J. English who is very, very good, probably the best post in the SEK alongside Coffeyville's Kamaren Wilson, and they brought back Elijah Harris as well, but they lost just as much as any other team in the SEK and really their backbone which was Untereker.

And sure, their junior varsity was good last year, but they spent a whole lot more time posing after three-pointers made at the JV level than they did playing with the varsity so how much does that really translate right?

I'm joking of course, but apparently it translates into a 12-1 record and a 6-0 record in SEK play, so whatever they're doing is working.

But it is with Indy too. They're a much different team than they were when Pitt faced them the first time, so Pitt will undoubtedly have a battle on their hands once again.

Pitt is coming off of a 67-29 win over Field Kindley Tuesday night and they have now won half of their league games by nearly 30 points. Field Kindley was without Wilson in that game though and English went off for 22 points as a result.

But Indy is playing just as well or better and they have really incorporated freshman big man Davion Lewis into the mix. 

He already has three 20-point games in his young career and is averaging more than 15 points per night. 

He was a factor Pitt had to deal with some in the first match-up but he wasn't as fully comfortable as he is now.

The seniors on the court with guys like Schroeder, Drew Pasternak and Levi Kemp have really started to work with him well with Schroeder and Pasternak really playing up the outside game and Kemp dishing it off to him on drives. Kemp had eight assists just two games ago, several of which went on easy passes to Lewis inside.

"With Davion coming on the team because Davion wasn't there, he helps our in-and-out play, and then Drew and I have started to heat up a little bit more, we have more confidence in our shot," Schroeder said. "And I personally like playing on the road a little bit more, I feel like there's less pressure, so hopefully we come out on fire again."

This is the battle for the SEK. No other team will likely catch Pitt in the second half of league play. Indy is just a half game back. Field Kindley is three back.

If Pitt wins tonight the SEK is all but theirs for the second year in a row. Indy doesn't want to let that happen.

"I hope we do it without overtime," Schroeder said. "And put them in the gutter."