Beating Morehead St. is a good benchmark for ISU since it came to Hulman Center in the bracketbuster game.
Living in Richmond, I have seen and enjoyed the entire transformation. (I must admit I became a UR fan in 1988 when it downed IU in the opening round of the NCAA tourney.)
Richmond's fan support is worse than ISU's despite being located in a metro area of 1.5 MM people so it is not fan support or a lively arena that drew the players to the roster. I have been to many games in both places, the Hulman Center environment with 3,000 fans and the pep band is better than UR's except for a matchup against GW or Xavier. (Truly, UR has the WORST pep band in the NCAA.)
Let's start with an AD who is an astute judge of coaching talent. ISU seems better than OK on that front. (Last season, UR's AD signed head coach Chris Mooney to a 7 year extension after Boston College came calling asking permission to talk to Mooney)
The next key is a personable head coach and strong staff who recruit excellent students who can master a complex matchup zone, handle the ball well, shoot the 3 from every position stretching the defense, and are unselfish.
There is every indication that ISU has that foundation in place with a sense of long term commitment.
They also are deep and big on the front line: 6'10, 6'9, 6'9, 6'11. And veteran with 2 Srs and 2 Jrs in that group. Just a year ago that lineup was ripped up by St. Mary's college big guy as the Spiders were bounced in the first round. This year, they came back bigger, stronger, tougher. Is ISU trending in that direction? No doubt RJ can stretch a defense. Can the new big guys do the same? Do they need to be able to do so? Will they be big/tough/strong enough to compete?
Importantly, the Spider point guard, Sr. Kevin Anderson was the 2010 A-10 POY and the 2011 Tourney MVP. He considered going into the draft last season but returned for his final season. It takes that kind of talent to run an offense capable of handling the BCS teams. And it takes capable support to relieve the pressure. It seems ISU is well positioned there.
The Spiders also have an array of 'specialists' such as Sr. guard Kevin Anderson who at 6'5 is a shutdown defender and key rebounder/passer while only scoring a few point a game. Can ISU find that 6'5 guy who can cover players from 6' to 6'6 when it needs a shutdown defender?