Checking in on the… Missouri ValleyPosted by rtmsf on January 19th, 2009
Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conferences.
Current Records and my standings (Conference Record)(Last Week Rank)
1. Northern Iowa (12-6) (6-1)(1)
2. Illinois St. (16-2) (5-2)(3)
3. Drake (13-6) (4-3) (2)
4. Bradley (11-7) (5-2) (5)
5. Creighton (14-5)(4-3) (4)
6. Evansville (12-5) (4-3) (6)
7. Southern Illinois (8-10) (3-4) (7)
8. Missouri St. (8-10) (1-6) (9)
9. Wichita St. (7-11) (1-6) (10)
10. Indiana St. (4-14) (2-5) (8)
So many things have happened this week and the Valley power has shifted this week. Thus life in the Missouri Valley Conference.
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Creighton 73, Southern Illinois 72 (OT)—Creighton was able to pull a rabbit out of their hat not only once but twice in this game. They were down 3 towards the end of regulation when Cavel Witter was fouled on a three point shot and made all three to tie and send it to overtime. Then in overtime, Creighton was down 4 with under a minute to play and a quick steal and a 3-pointer by P’Allen Stinnett and then a huge three by a limping Booker Woodfox and two free throws at the end by Kenton Walker, let the Bluejays escape against Southern Illinois. This rivalry was as advertised.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Champ Oguchi, Illinois St.—Champ had a great week and was a huge key to the win against Drake this week 65-61. His 29 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals were the things the Redbirds needed to break a 2-game losing streak from the week before and to get them back into the Valley race.
TEAMS PLAYING WELL
Northern Iowa (2-0 this week)— The Panthers are setting themselves up to run away with the league at this point. Destroying co-leader Drake coming into the week at Drake, UNI has won 4 of its league’s 6 wins on the road. This means if they can hold court a home the rest of the way, they are looking like the team to beat and a surprising team at that. It is a couple of JUCO transfers that have contributed to this UNI start.
Illinois St (2-0 this week)—Coming into the week, the Redbirds had lost 2 games in a row and looked like they were on the ropes, but reeled off two wins this past week and look like they could get a win against Wichita this week before hosting Southern Illinois this coming weekend. Though Coach Jankovich likes guards, they may be looking for a big guy to recruit.
UP AND DOWN
Southern Illinois (1-1 this week)— Southern Illinois has looked quite a bit better in the past few games. After giving the game away against Creighton earlier in the week, they were able to rebound and protect home court and not give the win away against Bradley as all 5 starters had double-figures.
Bradley (1-1 this week)— Bradley is another up and down team. They got an expected win against Indiana St., but ran into Southern Illinois. Bradley’s first converted 3-pointer came with just 1:22 left in the game, a high-arching shot from the left wing by Theron Wilson. Before the 3, the Braves were 0-for-10 beyond the arc and were in danger of getting shut out on 3s for the first time in almost nine years. Bradley gets BYU to open the season next year as a kickoff to the MVC/MWC challenge.
Creighton (1-1 this week)—Creighton got a nice emotional win against rival Southern Illinois, but their bullfighting defense got the best of them as winless Wichita St. took it to the Bluejays and they held out the red cape for them. Their thin frontline took another blow this week as Chad Millard injured his ankle and could be out 4-6 weeks. This team is lacking an identity. They need to find it soon.
Evansville (1-1 this week)— Evansville let Northern Iowa get another road win and then started out with an 18-0 lead against Indiana St. before holding them off for a win.
Wichita St. (1-1 this week)— Wichita was hoping for their first conference win earlier in the week against fellow conference winless Missouri St. However, they ended up getting their first conference win against an up and down Creighton team. Some changes in the starting lineup has helped the Shockers. More good news for WSU as they get a two-sport star to transfer to their program.
Missouri St. (1-1 this week)—Missouri St. notched their first win against Wichita St. this week, but continued their expected course as they were hammered by Illinois St. I think they are waiting until March to win the MVC automatic entry….at least the coach is banking on that.
Drake (0-2 this week)—Drake, looking like they weren’t a one year wonder after their play last week, dropped two games to conference leaders Northern Iowa and Illinois St. and now need to regroup this next week against Missouri St. and Creighton. The Northern Iowa game was not pretty with Drake losing 81-59.
Indiana St. (0-2 this week)— Bradley and Evansville notched wins this week against the Sycamores. It doesn’t look any better when they have to take on Southern Illinois and Bradley again this week. Again not having Harry Marshall for the second straight game shows how important this player is to this team. It is going to be a long rest of the season for ISU Blue.
GAMES OF INTEREST THIS WEEK
Teams are starting to separate, but several teams make up the games of the week to pay attention to:
- 1/20, Creighton @ Evansville (ESPNU)—Both teams are in the middle of the pack in the Valley race and both need the win badly.
- 1/21, Bradley @ Northern Iowa (Local TV both markets)—Northern Iowa has been a great road team so far in the Valley. Now we see how they do at home.
- 1/24, Southern Illinois @ Illinois St. (Fox Sports Net)—Southern Illinois is looking better as of late and Illinois St. is still trying to make their statement.
- 1/24, Drake @ Creighton (Local TV Omaha)—The proximity of these schools always makes this an interesting game. This year the Korvers can cheer for one team instead of two.