Checking in on the… Missouri Valley

Posted by rtmsf on February 2nd, 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 (16-6) (10-1)(1)
  2. Creighton (17-6)(7-4) (5)
  3. Illinois St. (18-4) (7-4)(2)
  4. Bradley (13-9) (7-4) (3)
  5. Evansville (14-7) (6-5) (6)
  6. Drake (14-9) (5-6) (4)
  7. Southern Illinois (10-12) (5-6) (7)
  8. Wichita St. (10-12) (4-7)  (8)
  9. Missouri St. (9-13) (2-9) (9)
  10. Indiana St. (4-18) (2-9) (10)

The Missouri Valley Conference is part of the ESPNU Bracketbusters event once again this season.  Matchups will be announced on ESPNU at 5:30 on Monday.  With the struggles of this conference this season, it will be interesting to see how many TV games they get this season. 

GAME OF THE WEEK:

Evansville 55, Drake 52—This game was tied with just a few seconds left in regulation when Evansville hit a half court shot to pull out the game.  The video says it all:

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Justin Carter, Creighton—Carter has really come on as of late for Creighton.  This week he averaged about 15 points and 8 rebounds in both his games.  As it has been with a lot of Dana Altman’s JUCO players, they seem to turn it on the last third of their first season and really become huge contributors to the Bluejays team.  Justin has taken charge on the boards and has increased his scoring.  The confidence is growing and will be someone that will help lead Creighton down the stretch.  Shy Ely from Evansville came a close second.  

TEAMS PLAYING WELL

Northern Iowa (2-0 this week)— Northern Iowa continues their amazing run with wins over Illinois St. and Indiana St. this week.   This team is just having all the right things go their way including the gut win at Indiana St. which was the last time they lost.  They have a tough week as they head to Bradley and host Creighton.  A couple losses here and a couple other teams could still be in the hunt for the regular season championship. 

Creighton (2-0 this week)—Creighton got a couple of needed wins at home this week against the bottom of the league.   Creighton faced their turning point with the win against Missouri St. They are heading on the road to Drake and Northern Iowa with a lot of confidence.  

Evansville (2-0 this week)—Evansville steals a win at Drake and then beat a struggling Southern Illinois team.   With the ice storms wrecking havoc in the Midwest, Evansville had to end up taking a bus to Drake instead of their usual chartered flight.  It is building some good team unity for them.   Missouri St. and Wichita St. are on the docket this week.  

UP AND DOWN

Illinois St (1-1 this week)—Illinois St. still couldn’t stop the Northern Iowa train but then got their revenge against rival Bradley.  It might have been one of the better games of the year, plus a sellout crowd.  Southern Illinois and Indiana St. are next for the Redbirds.  

Southern Illinois (1-1 this week)—Southern Illinois is getting closer to missing the postseason sitting at 10-12 and 5-6 in the conference.  If they keep going 1-1 like they have been the last few weeks, they will not be able to finish at .500 and have an opportunity to make the postseason.  This might drive the people in Carbondale nuts.   At this point, the lack of hustle plays has already started the frenzy. 

Bradley (1-1 this week)—Bradley continues to be inconsistent this week.   They had a nice second half against Wichita St. to win that game, but could not get past their rival Illinois St.  Remember a few weeks ago when we talked about the Bradley Shuffle?  Well apparently they aren’t minding the feedback and reaction

Wichita St. (1-1 this week)—Wichita St. is holding serve at home but unfortunately have two road games this coming week.  One thing to note however is that I wouldn’t want to be the team that will have to play these guys in the MVC tourney.  That could be a dangerous matchup.  Is Gregg Marshall happy at Wichita St?  Apparently he is.  

TOUGH WEEK

Drake (0-2 this week)—Drake lost a heartbreaker to Evansville and  just got torn apart by Wichita St. this week.  Drake has now lost 5 of their last 6 games.   Creighton comes to town looking for payback and then they also host Bradley this week.  It could end up being 7 of their last 8 they have lost. 

Missouri St. (0-2 this week)—Missouri St. is ready to head back home as they lost at SIU and Creighton this week.   Hosting Evansville and Southern Illinois won’t be easy though.  Here is an inspirational story about head coach Cuonzo Martin and his battle with cancer

Indiana St. (0-2 this week)— Sorry Kevin McKenna, you will just have to build for next year at this point.  Indiana St. celebrated the 30th anniversary of their NCAA runner-up team.  8 of the players were back for the celebration, but a no-show was Larry Bird.

GAMES OF INTEREST THIS WEEK

Here are the key matchups this week- 

  • 2/3, Northern Iowa @ Bradley—Northern Iowa tries to continue winning on the road and extend their 10 game winning streak. 
  • 2/4, Evansville @ Missouri St (Local TV-Missouri).—A loss here for Evansville might make it tough to finish 2nd in the conference.
  • 2/4, Illinois St. @ Southern Illinois (Fox Sports Net)—Carbondale is always tough and Illinois St. is trying to break away from the 3-pack at 2nd place.
  • 2/8, Creighton @ Northern Iowa (ESPN Full Court)—Creighton will try to gain a game on Northern Iowa with a last ditch effort to try and win the conference.  
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