Checking in on the… Missouri ValleyPosted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008
Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences.
Current Records and my standings:
- Illinois St. (7-0)
- Creighton (3-2)
- Evansville (3-1)
- Bradley (4-2)
- Northern Iowa (4-2)
- Wichita St. (3-3)
- Drake (3-2)
- Southern Illinois (2-3)
- Missouri St. (2-2)
- Indiana St. (0-4)
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Illinois St. (3-0 this week)—Illinois St. is in this spot just because they are actually winning games. The Redbirds have won the games they are supposed to. They won games against a couple more cupcakes – Nichols State, Winston-Salem St. and UC Santa Barbara – in their own hosted World Vision tourney this past weekend and put the crowd to sleep. Champ Oguchi has been a constant force for Illinois St. as they keep rolling along and host Bowling Green next Saturday night. Illinois St. fans will be happy to hear that former coach Porter Moser is doing just fine as an assistant at St. Louis. He just bought a $1 million house.
TEAMS DOING WELL
Northern Iowa (2-1 this week)—Northern Iowa has rebounded this week by taking part in the Chicago Invitational Challenge. Although Marquette beat the Panthers pretty badly on Friday night, they came back to beat Auburn on Saturday scoring 77 points in the second half to win 105-93. The bench for UNI has decided to show up for the games. UNI has their annual in-state rivalry game at home against Iowa St. this week.
Wichita St. (2-2 this week)—After struggling to start the season and learning from their mistakes, the Shockers have rebounded playing in the Old Spice Classic this week. Wichita St. kept things close against Georgetown, but couldn’t pull off the upset. They were then able to turn it around and beat a highly touted Siena team. Again Wichita stayed within arms length with Michigan St. in the 5th place game, but again came up short.
Bradley (3-1 this week)—Bradley was busy this week, playing four games in a span of six days. Although getting beat by an upstart UMKC squad, the Braves rebounded to defeat Florida Gulf Coast, Richmond and East Tennessee St. Emerging center Will Egolf suffered a right knee injury midway through the second half of the East Tennessee St. game as his leg locked while turning to drive for an open layup. He crumpled to the floor holding his knee and slammed his open hand to the maple deck in frustration. Sam Maniscalco has been not only scoring but dishing the basketball. A little excitement at Bradley: though the basketball team may not have been involved, Bradley athletes will be subject to penalties after a drinking party last weekend.
TEAMS THAT ARE STRUGGLING
Creighton (0-2 this week)—Creighton started out on the road and lost two close games against Arkansas-Little Rock (71-69) and in-state rival Nebraska (54-52). Creighton went into halftime of both of those games with double-digit leads and could not play up to the level of the home court team. What is encouraging is that although the Bluejays did not play well in either of those games but were still in it until the end. However, the story with Creighton is with star guard P’Allen Stinnett. Stinnett did not start against UALR and when in the game did not do very well. Against Nebraska ,Stinnett did not play at all based on a “coach’s decision.” Apparently there are some issues between Coach Altman and P’Allen as far as what the expectations are. Sitting him out of the Nebraska game was probably done to send a message. Since the opening game against New Mexico, P’Allen has not played very well. This will be something that needs to be followed as Creighton plays at home Tuesday against Mississippi Valley State and back on the road at St. Joseph’s on Saturday.
Southern Illinois (0-1 this week)—Southern Illinois was unable to rebound from the losses in New York last week and took another loss to Western Kentucky. One thing that might be a problem for the Salukis is that their starting center Nick Evans will be out with a broken wrist for 4-6 weeks after injuring it last week against UCLA. Another is all the turnovers they are suffering from. However, they get to enjoy the confines of home this week taking on St. Louis and Charlotte.
Evansville (0-1 this week)— You knew that the opening undefeated run for Evansville would end and it did this week. Evansville thought they had the experience but The Purple Aces lost to a “reloaded” Butler team 75-59. Evansville plays at reclassification foe Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and then Ball St. this week.
Missouri St. (0-1 this week).—Missouri St. lost their only game of the week, a home game against Utah from the Mountain West Conference. Missouri St. guard Shane Laurie has been struggling to come back to the Bears after suffering multiple concussions, the latest one when he fell off his scooter.
Drake (1-1 this week)—Drake went on vacation to Cancun this week. The team went on vacation too as they lost to Vanderbilt. Drake only shot 37% while they let Vanderbilt shoot 46% which was the difference in the game. The Bulldogs were able to recover and defeat a struggling New Mexico team before leaving Mexico. Drake center Brent Heemsherk’s game is starting to come on. The even better news for Drake is that they get their own vacation back at home this next week as they take on D2 Lincoln and bottom of the barrel D1 North Carolina Central and either Furman or Texas-Pan American in the Bulldogs own hosted multi-team event.
Indiana St. (0-2 this week)—Indiana St. has gotten off to a horrible start at 0-4. It doesn’t get any easier for the Sycamores as they host Arkansas St. and then head to Louisville to play in the Marques Maybin Classic. There is a lot of soul searching that needs to be done by Kevin McKenna and his team.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Creighton 52, Nebraska 54—The Valley is struggling to provide fans and observers worthy games to talk about and the best games are still losses for the Valley. These two teams combined for 40 turnovers and a combined 38% shooting, and you would think that this would be tough game to watch. However, it included all of the drama with a packed house and the desire for state bragging rights as the only two Division-I schools in Nebraska went at it. Creighton took a 12-point lead at the half, but gave up that lead early in the second as Nebraska stormed back. The score was tied several times in the last two minutes of the game and Creighton lost on a basket by Nebraska’s Ade Dagunduro with 2.7 seconds left. Though Creighton lost the game, the team learned to play a game without P’Allen Stinnett and their one and probably only chance to play a BCS team during the regular season.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Champ Oguchi, Illinois St.—In Illinois State’s 3 wins this week, the Oregon transfer averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds including an 18 pt, 10 reb, 5 ast and 5 stl performance against Winston-Salem St. on Saturday night.
WEEK AHEAD AND GAMES TO WATCH
The Valley has continued to lay eggs against top tier opponents. Here are the games of interest this week.
- 12/3, 7PM, Northern Iowa vs. Iowa St. (Local TV)—The Panthers go for a little thing called bragging rights in this matchup of Iowa schools and former UNI coach Greg McDermott.
- 12/3, 7PM, Wichita St. @ Texas Tech (ESPN Full Court)—The energized Shockers get a chance to steal a nice win against a the tough Big 12 conference.
- 12/6, 6PM, Creighton @ St. Joseph (no TV)—Creighton hits the road again against a historically tough A10 team and a chance for the Bluejays to play at the historic Palestra.
- 12/6, 2PM, Indiana St. @ Louisville (Local TV)—Look for the Sycamores to get crushed, but would be a significantly needed win for the Valley.
- 12/7, 3PM, Bradley @ Michigan St. (Big Ten Network)—Bradley looks to get a quality win for the Valley.