Checking in on the… Missouri ValleyPosted by rtmsf on December 29th, 2008
Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences.
Current Records and my standings (Conference Record)(Last Week Rank)
- Creighton (11-2)(1-0) (2)
- Illinois St. (12-0) (1-0)(1)
- Evansville (9-2) (1-0) (4)
- Drake (9-4) (0-1) (3)
- Bradley (7-5) (1-0) (7)
- Northern Iowa (6-6) (0-1)(6)
- Missouri St. (7-5) (0-1) (5)
- Wichita St. (6-6) (0-1) (8)
- Southern Illinois (5-7) (0-1) (9)
- Indiana St. (3-9) (1-0) (10)
Happy Holidays and welcome to a look at the MVC as conference play started. Valley play started this past Sunday with a full slate of games. As conference season goes on, there will be a bit of a different format. Teams that are making an impact on the conference and college basketball in general will be discussed as some teams start to fall off the map. But to kick off the conference season here is what is going on opening night.
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Illinois St. 72, Missouri St. 69—Illinois St. finished the non-stellar non-conference season undefeated, but started conference play in the buzzsaw of the JQH Arena and the Missouri St. Bears. Missouri St. led this game for a good part of the game leading by as many as 15 points with about 15 minutes left in the 2nd half. But as has been Missouri State’s problem all season, they went the next 13 minutes of the 2nd half with one basket and Illinois St. went on a 22-2 run to take the lead. Missouri St. was able to come back and tie it up at the buzzer on a controversial last second 3-pointer to take it to overtime, but then let Illinois St. win the overtime 17-14.
TEAMS OFF TO A GOOD START
Creighton—The Bluejays started off the week by defeating Fresno St. and Depaul to win the Las Vegas Classic. Booker Woodfox was the MVP of the tourney and really the MVP of this team so far this season. Again he led the Jays in scoring (for the 7th game in a row) in opening night MVC play against Wichita St 68-56. Wichita St. played like it has all year where it plays the higher level opponent close through a good part of the game and then just falter down the stretch to try and get over that hump. Creighton has now won 8 straight games and hits the road against Indiana St. New Year’s Eve and then Saturday in a highly anticipated matchup against Illinois St. for the early lead in the conference.
Bradley—Though Bradley has had a rocky up and down season so far, they have started conference season with a big win against a struggling Southern Illinois team 79-63. The Braves manhandled the Salukis and it really wasn’t even a game. Bradley shot 55% from the field while SIU could only muster 33%. Shooting 28-32 from the charity stripe will win you games as well. The Saluki defense just got called for too many fouls. Bradley won their opening game for the first time in 3 years.
Evansville—Evansville is starting to show that they are for real with an opening win against defending conference champ Drake 76-65. The Purple Aces were able to hold down Drake’s shooting percentage and the idea of having to live by the three-ball hurt the Bulldogs as they were only 7-26 from three.
Indiana St.—They are playing the role of spoiler and at this point, they are off to a good start getting a nice double-overtime win at Northern Iowa, 85-84. With the return of Harry Marshall, the Sycamores are 2-1 since and probably showing how they would have looked if he were eligible the first semester. He led the team with 23 points and 5 assists and played 48 of the 50 minutes. Maybe it was the throwback jerseys from the days of Larry Bird.
GAMES OF INTEREST THIS WEEK
As conference play is fully underway this week, here are the games to watch:
- 12/31, Bradley @ Wichita St. (Local TV in both markets)—Can Bradley continue their start, or will Wichita St. finally get over that hump to get a win?
- 12/31, Evansville @Illinois St. –This will continue to show whether Evansville continues to be the story of the Valley this season.
- 1/3, Creighton @ Illinois St. (Fox Sports Net)—Matchup of the conference favorites. Will be the real first test for the Redbirds this season.
- 1/4, Drake @ Southern Illinois (ESPNU)—Both of these teams need this win to not get buried in the standings.