Checking in on the… Missouri ValleyPosted by rtmsf on January 6th, 2009
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)
- Illinois St. (14-0) (3-0)(2)
- Evansville (10-3) (2-1) (3)
- Creighton (12-3)(2-1) (1)
- Bradley (9-5) (3-0) (5)
- Drake (11-4) (2-1) (4)
- Northern Iowa (8-6) (2-1)(6)
- Missouri St. (7-7) (0-3) (7)
- Wichita St. (6-8) (0-3) (8)
- Southern Illinois (5-9) (0-3) (9)
- Indiana St. (3-11) (1-2) (10)
The yearly battle in the Valley once again has shown some surprises. Is the Valley down this year? Hard to tell. Check out the teams this week and how they are doing.
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Bradley 60, Wichita St. 58—Bradley got the win on a follow up basket by Sam Singh with almost no time remaining to give Bradley the road win to push them to 2-0 at the time and Wichita St. to 0-2 at the time. Bradley had held around a 10 point lead the whole game but Wichita St. hung around like they have all season with teams and tied the game with 26 seconds left. Sam Maniscalco just missed the layup and Singh was there with the rebound and put back to win the game. As Singh said, “It took a good bounce and I got lucky.”
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Osiris Eldridge, Illinois St—Osiris was just dominant this week in Illinois St’s blowout wins against Evansville and Creighton averaging 21 points and 7 rebounds per game. Illinois St. is still one of 6 undefeated teams in the nation and it has been his stellar play that has helped them dominate games and look almost unbeatable in league play so far. Maybe they will get that “Undefeated Season” they are talking about…well highly unlikely, but it is nice that they are willing to talk the talk.
TEAMS PLAYING WELL
Illinois St (2-0 this week)—Illinois St. won two more home games this week against Evansville and Creighton and almost made it look way too easy. Maybe questioning their soft non-conference schedule was premature, but I think they still have to win the conference regular season or win the MVC tourney to get into the NCAAs and there is a long ways to go in the rugged MVC. The game against Creighton was the first sellout of Redbird Arena for a non-Bradley game in the arena’s history.
Bradley (2-0 this week)—Bradley has moved to 3-0 in conference play and almost looks like a different team compared to how they started. They get the next crack to give Illinois St. a loss. With two home games this week they could take sole possession of 1st place in the conference if they knock off Illinois St. and Creighton. The rivalry between Bradley and Illinois St. is a storied one.
Northern Iowa (2-0 this week)—Northern Iowa got a huge win this week at Southern Illinois, given that SIU doesn’t give up home wins on their home court normally. The win against Wichita St. on Saturday was their most lopsided of the season. They are on a roll right now but will probably be the recipient of an upset Creighton Bluejay team on Tuesday night.
Drake (2-0 this week)—It must be beat up on Southern Illinois at their place week as Drake scored a win there as well. Drake could continue their winning streak with cellar dwellers Indiana St. and Wichita St. this week. Quick starts for Drake have been important.
BUMPS IN THE ROAD
Creighton (1-1 this week)—Creighton got a nice win earlier in the week at Indiana St. where they had lost their last three there and then also had a streak of 7 straight losses on games played on New Year’s Eve. They then ran into the buzzsaw Illinois St. team that just took the Bluejays out of every facet of the game to beat them by 22. Creighton seems to run into these same types of things each season and a blogging friend of mine Polyfro said it best.
Evansville (1-1 this week)—Evansville also got blown out by Illinois St. by 30 and came from behind to beat Indiana St. They were down most of the game against Indiana St. and Shy Ely and Nate Garner helped bring them back to take the lead with 1:41 remaining. This isn’t really Evansville basketball related, but the city of Evansville is going to be showing the BCS Championship game in 3-D. Cool stuff.
IN TROUBLE EARLY
Southern Illinois (0-2 this week)—The wheels are falling off at Southern Illinois. Earlier in the week, 2 players on the team, Torres Roundtree and Christian Cornelius, decided to leave SIU. Though the players did not play much, this is now five players that have left the team since last season including Josh Bone who since walked on at Tennessee. But then the other problem is that SIU has started 0-3 in conference play that in recent years has been unheard of. They have also lost 2 of those games at home where opponents in general just don’t win. This team is in shambles right now and they need to get it together at 5-9. Maybe fans can use the Interactive Text Messaging to tell the Athletic Department how bad this team is right now.
Wichita St. (0-2 this week)—Wichita St. is still experiencing growing pains as they lost another couple conference games this week. Gregg Marshall is fast becoming the most hated coach in the Missouri Valley Conference and this team does not need that distraction right now. But then are there really any other hated coaches in the Valley?
Missouri St. (0-2 this week)—Missouri St. fans are going to have a long season as they have started conference play 0-3. Maybe they can look forward to a couple weeks from now when they play Wichita St. where I expect they will get their first conference win of the season. They won’t win on the road this week against Evansville and Northern Iowa. Once again, the Bears have suffered from scoring droughts, especially down the stretch. The Bears scored only one basket in the final six minutes Saturday night, losing a lead and the game to Bradley.
Indiana St. (0-2 this week)—After the nice double-overtime win at Northern Iowa to kick off conference play, Indiana St. lost two games at home this week and blew an opportunity to get a win against Evansville as they played about 38 minutes of good basketball, but the final two minutes got them. Oh well, at least fans can get free tickets for the game against Illinois St. on Saturday.
GAMES OF INTEREST THIS WEEK
Here are the top of the heap game battles to watch this week:
- 1/6, Illinois St. @ Bradley (Comcast-Peoria)—This rivalry has huge significance for the conference leaders.
- 1/10, Creighton @ Bradley (WTVP in Peoria, Local feed to Omaha)—If Bradley wins this game and the one against Illinois St., they will be in first place at 5-0. Who would have thought that?
- 1/10, Evansville @ Southern Illinois (no TV)—Evansville and SIU seem to be headed in different directions this season. Will SIU give up a 3rd straight home loss?