Checking in on… the MVCPosted by rtmsf on December 21st, 2009
Patrick Marshall of White & Blue Review is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference.
Current Records and my standings (Last Week)
- Missouri State (10-0) (1)
- Wichita State (10-1) (2)
- Northern Iowa (8-1) (3)
- Southern Illinois (7-2) (5)
- Illinois State (8-2) (4)
- Indiana State (7-3) (7)
- Evansville (6-3) (8)
- Bradley (5-5) (6)
- Drake (5-6) (9)
- Creighton (4-6) (10)
STORIES OF THE WEEK
MVC-MWC Challenge winding down—The Valley continues to lead the challenge against the Mountain West Conference 4-3 heading into the final weekend of games. Illinois State went on the road to defeat Utah and Creighton had a chance to close out the conference’s victory but lost a huge lead on New Mexico and left Albuquerque with a loss. Now it is up to Drake and Northern Iowa this coming weekend to close out the first year of a several year agreement for each conference to play one another. In the coming years all of the Challenge games will be played in a one-week time period instead of throughout the non-conference season.
Wichita State takes down ranked team—Wichita invited a ranked Texas Tech team into Koch Arena, the first non-conference ranked team to visit since Kansas in the 1991-92 season, and sent them home with a loss. That must be why teams like that don’t come back or want to play Wichita at home.
Missouri St. heading to undefeated non-conference record—Missouri St. defeated St. Louis Saturday night and Rick Majerus is ready to anoint the Bears as the winners of the Valley for this season. Well, they are still undefeated and could stay that way if they can steal a win in Arkansas Tuesday night. Could this be Drake version 2.0?
TEAMS DOING WELL
Missouri St (1-0 this week)—As mentioned above, Missouri St. is one of a few undefeated teams in the nation right now. It is due to their defense. The Bears finish out the non-conference slate in Fayetteville with a “lucky they still have a team” Arkansas squad. About the only thing wrong with Missouri State is Will Creekmore’s jersey.
Wichita St (1-0 this week)—Wichita continues to be on a roll. Andy Katz asked whether Wichita would be undefeated if they had Clevin Hannah and he was able to play against Pitt at the CBE Classic. Either way, the Shockers are the real deal this season. They host North Dakota State this week to complete their non-conference slate.
Northern Iowa (1-0 this week)—Head Coach Ben Jacobson went back home to North Dakota this past week, but brought his UNI team in to take a victory. Northern Iowa is at about the same point as Wichita right now. Coach Jacobson is pretty happy with his team now, but he wasn’t at the beginning of the season. They host Wyoming this week as a part of the MVC/MWC Challenge.
Southern Illinois (2-0 this week) –You can tell the reputation of the Salukis has taken a hit when they went out to Vegas this week in an invitational but their games were overshadowed by the women’s matchups in the same tournament. However in both games this weekend against San Diego and San Francisco, SIU pulled out one point wins to complete a solid non-conference slate until a late January game against Western Kentucky. Southern Illinois is off for the holidays until conference play starts in a week and a half.
Evansville (2-0 this week)—Evansville is continuing to build themselves back up with two wins this week. They took a blow with Kavon Lacey, one of their emerging team leaders, going out for the season with knee surgery. However, they are really spreading the scoring around and starting to come together. A big road test at Austin Peay this week will see how far they have actually come.
Indiana St. (1-0 this week)—The Sycamores escaped with a win in Toledo this week on a Jake Kelly basket with six seconds left and they are now again without point guard Harry Marshall who has had a lot of discipline problems at Indiana State. The Sycamores look like a solid team, but they don’t need these distractions. A trip to IUPUI this week will test them.
TEAMS WITH WORK TO DO
Drake (0-1 this week)—Drake lost to Iowa this week and they sort of have to feel bad that a key player for the Hawkeye team that beat them was then arrested later that evening for public intoxication. However, Coach Phelps feels pretty good about the recent recruiting classes, but can they produce on the court? San Diego State comes to town as the possible deciding game of the MVC/MWC Challenge.
Bradley (0-2 this week)—This team is on the verge of collapse. Not only is Dodie Dunson out for the year with a broken arm, but they also lost Dyricus Simms-Edwards to a foot injury for 3-6 weeks. Bradley lost this week to Loyola on a crazy off-balance half court shot and then got absolutely blown out by Iowa State Sunday. The Braves now sit in limbo with a three-game losing streak for nine days until conference season starts at Drake.
Creighton (1-1 this week)—Many do not have a good read on this Creighton team this season. They have been so close in so many games against tough competition, but lack the killer instinct to finish the games. The latest collapse was in New Mexico this weekend. Creighton was up 15 points at one point in the first half, shooting almost 75%, but then New Mexico finished the first half cutting into the lead and by the middle of the second half the Lobos made the adjustments needed and pulled out a come-from-behind win. They get a snoozer in Houston Baptist this week with their only wins this season coming so far on their home court.
Illinois State (1-1 this week)—Illinois State has had enough chinks in their armor exposed to lose on the road to Ohio, but then came back to get a big win at Utah as part of the MVC/MWC Challenge. The Redbirds need another player to step up to help Osiris Eldridge and that player might be Austin Hill. The Redbirds get a snoozer of their own with Grambling State this week.
WEEK AHEAD AND GAMES TO WATCH
A light week due to the holidays and very few key games except for the conclusion of the MVC/MWC Challenge, but also the last week of non-conference action for the MVC. Conference play will start after the Christmas holiday.
- 12/22, San Diego St. @ Drake—Drake is starting to turn things around, but this will be a tough game against the Aztecs that could decide the MVC/MWC Challenge.
- 12/22, Missouri St. @ Arkansas—Although Arkansas has so many problems, this could be a nice road win for the Bears and a great close to their amazing non-conference season.
- 12/23, Northern Iowa @ Wyoming—A key matchup in the MVC/MWC Challenge’s final games. UNI is on a roll lately.