Checking in on the… Missouri ValleyPosted by rtmsf on December 14th, 2008
Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences.
Current Records and my standings (Last Week Rank)
- Illinois St. (9-0) (1)
- Creighton (7-2) (2)
- Evansville (7-1) (3)
- Drake (8-3) (6)
- Missouri St. (5-3) (5)
- Bradley (5-4) (7)
- Northern Iowa (5-5) (4)
- Southern Illinois (3-5) (9)
- Wichita St. (4-5) (8)
- Indiana St. (1-8) (10)
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Evansville (2-0 this week)—I could easily put Creighton in this position after the big win against previously unbeaten Dayton, but Evansville has earned the recognition for what some would consider a surprising start this season. Their only loss is to Butler and they just destroyed Western Kentucky on Saturday night. Shy Ely and Jason Holsinger are leading this senior laden team. Evansville also gets to fight the big fish this week as they head to Chapel Hill to take on the Tarheels on Thursday night. So even if they are not the team of the week the rest of the season, it is deserved heading into this week.
TEAMS DOING WELL
Illinois St. (1-0 this week)—Illinois St. continued Cupcake City, but this time was threatened by Morehead St. The lead flip flopped between the teams 15 times in the game. However they are still winning games and they are building confidence. ISU actually hits the road this week against Central Michigan before hosting Illinois -Chicago next weekend.
Creighton (2-0 this week)—Creighton ran away against an unbeaten Dayton team who was on the verge of entering the top 25. Booker Woodfox is just a 3-point and scoring machine for the Bluejays as they play one game this week against the 3rd SWAC winless visitor, Southern, to visit the Qwest Center this season. And then it is finals week for Creighton before heading to Vegas for the Las Vegas Classic. They have tried to learn from their losses.
Drake (2-1 this week)—Drake is in the Teams Doing Well category because outside of the teams above, Valley teams are just having trouble winning games. Drake even lost their own invitational this past weekend by losing to Stephen F. Austin. Before that Drake had won 6 in a row. Iowa is visiting Des Moines on Saturday for a tough in-state matchup.
TEAMS THAT ARE STRUGGLING
Bradley (1-1 this week)—Butler came in and defeated their 3rd Valley team of the season, but Bradley rebounded to beat Southeast Missouri St. Coach Les has not been happy with the effort of the team and has decided to play more of the younger players and bench his normal starters. The team may have responded. They head to Wisconsin-Milwaukee this next weekend.
Southern Illinois (0-1 this week)—I’m not sure what to say about Southern Illinois. I guess their confidence was shot after New York and they really have not recovered. Their season is headed the wrong way for the 2nd season in a row. However the people and players in Carbondale are keeping the faith.
Northern Iowa (0-2 this week)—Northern Iowa lost their two games this week on the road at Iowa and Wyoming. The problems with the Panthers is that they are suffering from scoring droughts. Scoring is what usually wins games. They are off until next Sunday against South Dakota St.
Missouri St. (1-1 this week)—The Bears hit the road at Tulsa and went away a loser while coming back home to the JQH Arena, where they are trying to sell packages for people to show up, and recorded a win against Central Arkansas. They also lost a player in Derron Hobbs. Apparently an ankle injury hampered him from even being involved and he just decided to leave. Missouri St. hosts their own round-robin tourney this weekend against Norfolk St., UC-Irvine and Middle Tennessee
Wichita St. (1 -1) this week—Wichita won one (Gardner-Webb) and lost one (TCU) this week. They are still winless in true road contests this year. Screening is a big deal for this offense, but they have had too many illegal screens this year.
Indiana St. (0-2)—Indiana St. kept it competitive against Purdue, but they just do not have enough this season as hoped for. The return of Harry Marshall will hopefully spark the team as they prepare for conference play.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Creighton 77, Dayton 59—The two teams were nervous to start the game, but then Creighton went on to have a great outside shooting night with the combo of Booker Woodfox (5-8 from three) and Kaleb Korver (4-5 from three) as Creighton hit 13-25 from downtown to run Dayton out of the gym. Probably their most complete game yet and beat Dayton on the boards by 11 where Dayton had a +9 in rebound advantage against their opponents. Creighton outworked, outhustled and outscrapped Dayton.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Booker Woodfox, Creighton—Again, the Creighton player wins player of the week due to the two performances against Dayton and Northern Colorado. Booker was 7-12 from three point land and led the team in scoring in both wins (21 and 16 points) Since the loss to Nebraska, Booker has been a man on a mission to carry the Bluejays on his shoulders and provide the leadership needed.
WEEK AHEAD AND GAMES TO WATCH
The Valley gets its last chance before Bracketbusters in February to get a couple quality wins against non-conference games.
- 12/18—Evansville @ North Carolina (ESPN)—I’m not sure when a team from the Valley played against the #1 team in the nation. Hope this isn’t too ugly
- 12/20—Drake vs. Iowa (ESPNU)—Iowa has already defeated Northern Iowa this season. Can they sweep the Valley this season?
- 12/20—Southern Illinois vs. St. Mary’s in Indianapolis—This game is part of the John Wooden Tradition games that are not televised after the CBS coverage of probably the more anticipated game before that—Davidson vs. Purdue.