RTC Live: Wichita State @ Missouri StatePosted by rtmsf on February 26th, 2011
Game #153. It’s all come down to this single game for the MVC regular season championship for 2010-11.
Since joining the Missouri Valley Conference in 1990, there’s one thing Missouri State has never done: win a regular season title. That’s why Saturday’s contest with Wichita State, a six-time MVC champion, at the sparkling JQH Arena is one of the most important games in program history. The two teams are tied at the top of the standings at 14-3, so the city of Springfield is effectively hosting the Missouri Valley regular season championship game this weekend. MSU won at Koch Arena in January, a stunning result at the time because the Shockers are traditionally so dominant in that building. Wichita State has since lost three more home games, but it’s looked more comfortable on the road– the Shockers’ only road loss this season came at San Diego State. Saturday’s game is all about toughness. Wichita State thinks it’s tougher than you, and it wins by crashing the offensive glass and feeding the paint. That doesn’t intimidate Missouri State, because former Purdue assistant Cuonzo Martin takes a tough-nosed approach with his program, too. As far as individual match-ups go, WSU’s J.T. Durley may be the Valley’s best back-to-the-basket scorer. He’ll have his hands full with the Bears’ frontcourt tandem, which consists of POY candidate Kyle Weems and the fiery Will Creekmore. Gregg Marshall has a deeper roster with more athleticism, and he has the ability to pressure teams full court whenever he likes. Without consistent point guard play, though, his team’s been prone to offensive droughts in the half-court, and he’ll need more out of guard Toure’ Murry, who made just one shot in that January meeting. The two teams are long shots for at-large bids, so Arch Madness next week is the more important event, but a conference championship is on the line Saturday. How’s that for some drama?