Patrick Marshall of White & Blue Review is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference.
You only need one video clip to sum up the Missouri Valley Conference last season: Ali Farokhmanesh hitting the dagger three-pointer against #1 Kansas in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16.
Predicted Order of Finish:
- Missouri State (24-6, 14-4)
- Wichita State (23-7, 13-5)
- Creighton (23-8, 13-5)
- Southern Illinois (21-9, 11-7)
- Northern Iowa (20-11, 10-8)
- Bradley (19-11, 10-8)
- Illinois State (16-16, 7-11)
- Drake (12-18, 4-14)
- Evansville (11-16, 4-14)
- Indiana State (9-21, 4-14)
All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)
- G: Toure’ Murry, Wichita State (11.9 PPG, 5 RPG, 109 AST)
- G: Sam Maniscalco, Bradley (13.1 PPG, 107 AST)
- G: Kwadzo Ahelegbe, Northern Iowa (10.6 PPG, 97 AST)
- F: Kyle Weems, Missouri State (13.6 PPG 6.2, RPG 40.7% 3PT)
- C: Kenny Lawson Jr., Creighton (13.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 82% FT)
Adam Leonard, Missouri State (13 PPG, 39% 3PT)
Greg Echenique, Creighton (Rutgers transfer)
What You Need to Know
- Multiple Bids: Last season, people will easily remember the Missouri Valley Conference with Ali Farokhmanesh hitting the gutsy three-pointer late in the game to lead Northern Iowa’s upset against #1 Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. What you may not know is that for the third straight season, the MVC has only sent one representative to the Big Dance. After several years of sending multiple teams in and hitting a peak of four teams in 2006, the past three seasons have seen the team that won both the conference regular season and conference tournament (Drake and UNI twice) as single-bid teams that went to the NCAA Tournament. This season the schools in the conference have beefed up their schedules the best they can to hopefully return to a multiple bid league.
- Coaching Changes: A number of linked events took place this summer regarding the coaches in the MVC. The Dean of the Valley Dana Altman left Creighton after 16 years to take the head coaching job at Oregon. Iowa State head coach Greg McDermott was hired less than 48 hours later. He had one stint in the MVC already as the head coach of Northern Iowa before Ben Jacobson. Jacobson released McDermott’s son Doug from his letter of intent so that he could join his dad and play with the Bluejays. About a month later, Indiana State head coach Kevin McKenna left to become an assistant once again under Altman. Chris Lowery (Southern Illinois) and Jim Les (Bradley) are now the elder statesmen of the conference, but both of their seats are pretty warm right now as they try to take their teams back to the NCAA Tournament after each of their Sweet 16 runs seem like ages ago for those two schools.
- Veteran Teams: Many of the MVC teams bring back a lot of veterans to lead their respective teams. Creighton returns all-conference center Kenny Lawson and point guard Antoine Young. Missouri State brings back a solid combination of Adam Leonard and Kyle Weems. Wichita State has the talented JT Durley, Graham Hatch and Toure’ Murry while Bradley has Andrew Warren, Sam Maniscalco and Taylor Brown returning. But you can’t leave out Northern Iowa with Kwadzo Ahelegbe and MVC sixth man of the year Lucas O’Rear. With such a large percentage of players retuning this season, a battle for The Valley title could be messy and any of these teams could emerge as the dust clears in March.