Checking in on… the MVC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 11th, 2011

Patrick Marshall of White & Blue Review is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference.

RTC is interested in learning how to improve our Checking In On… series in each conference.  Let us know in the below poll where we can improve this weekly piece (feel free to add specific comments).  Thanks.

A Look Back

  • Indiana State On The RiseAfter a rough start in non-conference play, the Sycamores have been improving, jumping out to an early 4-1 record in conference play.  A lot of it has been without Jake Kelly and Dwayne Latham.  First year head coach Greg Lansing is seizing the opportunity to move Indiana State up in the pecking order in the league.
  • Early Season Wins On The RoadMissouri State is building up big road wins early this conference season against the top teams in the league.  The Bears already has wins in their back pocket at Northern Iowa, at Creighton, and at Wichita State.  It may be the way Cuonzo Martin handles his bench.  With the way thing are going with Missouri State winning on the road, they are setting themselves up for having the biggest advantage once February comes around.
  • Not A Guard League This SeasonThe Missouri Valley Conference has been known historically as a guard-oriented league, but several teams are relying on their frontcourt players to lead them along:   Missouri State’s front line of Kyle Weems and Will Creekmore, Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Kenny Lawson, and Gregory Echenique, and Southern Illinois’ Gene Teague, Mamadou Seck and Carlton Fay are examples of players that are carrying their teams that are not necessarily guards.
  • Player of the Week—Carlton Fay, Southern Illinois—This week, Fay was instrumental in the wins against Bradley and Illinois State in averaging almost 20 points a game for the Salukis.  He had 33 points against Illinois State, including two free throws at the end to seal the win.  They will need him to perform big to keep
  • Newcomer of the Week—Doug McDermott, Creighton—It may seem like this is a little biased, but facts are facts—McDermott has been consistent week to week.  This week he averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game in the three games played this week.  A close second is Mamadou Seck from Southern Illinois, but he only had two good game performances this week.  McDermotts three solid games put him over the top.

Power Rankings (Record) (Conference Record)  (Last week’s rank)

  1. Missouri State (13-3) (5-0) (2)— It is looking more and more like the team to beat this season is Missouri State.  The Bears have gone out on the road and improved from their 1-17 record over the past two seasons to 3-0 so far this season.  Against Creighton this week, it was about making adjustments at halftime, which resulted in easy layups.  Against Wichita State, it was getting out to an early lead and just taking it to the Shockers before holding on to the victory.   They now host Southern Illinois and put their 17-game home winning streak on the line.  They are in this for the long haul.
  2. Wichita State (13-3) (4-1) (1)— The Shockers in some respects has sort of flown under the radar  as they probably haven’t been talked about as much as other teams, especially with the success of Missouri State.   They had an easy start with games against Drake, Bradley, Evansville and Illinois State, which are a combined 3-17 in conference play.  The loss against Missouri State on Sunday may be a wake-up call to them.  Their next big test will be at Creighton on Wednesday night.  They may have found the point guard they have been looking for in Demetric Williams.
  3. Creighton (12-5) (4-1) (3) — The Bluejays suffered from inconsistent play at the beginning of the week.  They played a solid first half against Missouri State, but blew an 11-point lead in the second half at home and were outscored 47-26, and did not defend their home court.  The first half against Southern Illinois wasn’t much better, but Creighton rebounded with a come-from-behind overtime victory at Southern Illinois and held on for a win at Evansville.  Kaleb Korver has finally come around in his scoring with career highs at Southern Illinois and Evansville.   Wichita State comes to town and a road trip to surprising Indiana State will be important to them to try and stay in the top half of the league.
  4. Indiana State (9-7) (4 -1) (8)— Right now, the Sycamores are the surprise of the league.  Although the wins have come against the bottom of the league and mostly at home, they are still sitting in a good situation.  They destroyed defending champion Northern Iowa 70-45.  Indiana hopes their defense will be the thing that helps them win on the road.  They will already have the return game with Bradley on Wednesday, but then will host Creighton on Sunday.  They could be in the top three next week.
  5. Southern Illinois (9-7) (3-2) (4)— The Salukis’ up-and-down season continues.  They did get wins against Bradley and Illinois State, but couldn’t put rival Creighton away down the stretch with Carlton Fay missing key free throws toward the end of regulation.  Fay rebounded with 33 points including a three pointer with 12 seconds remaining to help secure the win against Illinois State.  Right now they are just a middle of the pack team and road trips to Missouri State and Northern Iowa will not be easy.
  6. Northern Iowa (10-6) (2-3) (5)— The Panthers got their first conference win against Evansville, but were destroyed by Indiana State on Friday night.  Lucas O’Rear then broke team rules and was suspended for the Bradley game on Sunday.  Northern Iowa has some problems to solve if it wants to be in any type of contention down the stretch.   The biggest problem is three-point shooting.  They are shooting the same number of shots, but fewer of them are going in.  If the Panthers hit better than 34% from three, then they are 6-1.
  7. Drake (7-9) (2-3) (9)—Drake has lost three of their last four games and are having problems hanging on to the ball and rebounding—many fundamental things that are needed to win games.  One positive is the performance of Aaron Hawley and Ben Simon off the bench. They will head to Evansville before battling Wichita State at the Knapp Center.
  8. Evansville (7-8) (1-4) (6)— The Purple Aces are reeling, losing all three of their games this week.  It probably has not helped that three of the first five conference games have been on the road.  Colt Ryan and Denver Holmes were quite the duo last season, but Holmes has been pretty quiet this season and hopes he is turning things around.   Drake and Illinois State are on the slate this week.  It is very possible the bottom four teams in the league right now will battle it out for those positions.
  9. Illinois State (8-8) (0-5) (7)— Tim Jankovich knew that he had some rebuilding to do, but probably didn’t expect to start 0-5 in conference play.  They went 0-3 this week and just missed defeating Southern Illinois on Sunday.   The Redbirds have now lost against all of the top teams in the league.  They get Northern Iowa and Evansville this week at home—they are hoping the schedule can help them get some wins.
  10. Bradley (6-10) (0-5) (10)— You wonder if Jim Les would like to start the season over, as nothing seems to be going right for them.  The Braves are still looking for their first conference win, and at this point, it isn’t looking good.  Fans and beat writers are trying to stay positive about the Braves.  I guess one other positive thing to look at is at least Carver Arena got a good review.  They host Indiana State and Missouri State this week.

A Look Ahead

Some great games at the right time this week, as conference play enters the second week.  It will be more intense with three games for each school between Tuesday and Sunday.   

  • 1/12—Wichita State @ Creighton (Local TV—KMTV and Cox-Kansas)— This is actually a pretty good non-rivalry where both schools really do not like each other.  These two teams always play their best against each other.
  • 1/12—Southern Illinois @ Missouri State (No TV)—Both programs are on opposite sides of where they used to be a decade ago, but Southern Illinois wants to stay in contention.  They have to beat Missouri State to stay in the race.
  • 1/16—Creighton @ Indiana State (Fox Sports Net)—The Sycamores have been the surprise in the league so far. They would like to continue that run against the Bluejays.
  • 1/16—Missouri State @ Bradley (ESPNU)—At the beginning of the season, this looked like a key matchup, but now Bradley is just trying to not finish last in the MVC.  At the same time, this would be a loss that the Bears do not need for their conference run.
  • 1/16—Southern Illinois @ Northern Iowa (Local TV—WSIU and PSN)—The Panthers and Salukis are trying to claw their way back in and both teams are searching for answers to get some wins.
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Checking in on… the MVC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 3rd, 2011

Patrick Marshall of White & Blue Review is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference

A Look Back

  • First week of Conference Play—The Missouri Valley Conference started conference play this week as each team had two games on the schedule.  In the first televised game of the season on the Fox Sports Net package, Missouri State and Northern Iowa took things down to the wire.  With Kyle Weems being pretty much ineffective for the Bears, he hit a three pointer with 2.5 seconds left to give Missouri State a one point victory against the defending champion Panthers.
  • Northern Iowa starts 0-2—The Panther s have started conference season 0-2 with a couple of thrilling games against Missouri State and Southern Illinois which were decided in the final seconds.   With the two losses, history may still be on their side since they seem to be exceptions to the rule.   Since 1993-94, only one team (Northern Iowa, a 2008-09 co-champion) has won at least a share of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title without winning its regular-season opener — and UNI lost Wednesday night.  Further, 15 of the last 16 regular-season champs (or co-champs) have opened 2-0 or better in MVC play, with UNI in 2008-09 once again serving as the exception.   So either they will become the next exception to the rule or they’re already essentially eliminated from contention on January 1st , one week into conference season
  • Three team race? –At this point of the season, it would appear the best scenario for the Valley to have multiple bids is for Wichita State, Missouri State and Creighton to continue winning and separating themselves from the rest of the league.  The rest of the league has questionable records and even if teams like Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa can rise up out of the Valley regular season; their records still may not be palatable to the selection committee to consider more than the conference tournament champion.

Player of the Week— Jermaine Mallett, Missouri State –Mallett matched his career high of 22 points in the win against Illinois State this week and averaged 18 points and 6.5 rebounds.  He was key in the comeback against Northern Iowa and helped lead the Missouri State Bears to an early 2-0 conference mark.

Newcomer of the Week— Doug McDermott, Creighton—Once again, McDermott garners newcomer of the week honors as he averaged 17 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this week including a 28 points and 10 rebounds against Drake on Saturday night.  McDermott‘s 28 points were the most for a Creighton freshman since Ryan Sears scored 29 against Wyoming in 1997.

Power Rankings (Overall and conference records in parentheses, and last week’s ranking)

  1. Wichita State (11-2) (2-0) (1)— The Shockers have held serve with their convincing victories over Evansville and Bradley, but those teams are far from the best in the conference.  In the win against Evansville, Wichita State still scored 91 points even though they went through over a nine minute stretch where they scored only 10 points.  They will likely have a couple more appetizers with Drake and Illinois State this coming week before the showdown with Missouri State next Sunday. 
  2. Missouri State (10-3) (2-0) (2)— Missouri State looked a little out of sorts against Northern Iowa on Wednesday before the thrilling come back and big road victory in Cedar Falls. The past two seasons the Bears were 1-17 in road games before the win against the Panthers.   Then after getting a win against Illinois State in their home opener, they are well on track.  People will point to Kyle Weems, Adam Leonard or Jermaine Mallett as keys to Missouri State’s success, but it may actually be Will Creekmore that will make or break them.  They will have two big tests this week with the top of the league as they travel to Creighton on Tuesday and host Wichita State on Sunday.  They have a great opportunity to put some distance between the rest of the league.
  3. Creighton (10-4) (2-0) (4)— Creighton took a huge monkey off their back in the victory against Illinois State on Wednesday.  The Bluejays seven had lost  of their past eight meetings with the Redbirds coming into that game.  With the win, the four year seniors of Kenny Lawson, Jr., Casey Harriman and Kaleb Korver have beaten every team in the league at home and on the road during their career.  Drake played physical with the Bluejays on Saturday night, but they were able to fend off the Bulldogs to start 2-0.   One key player that may be missing for a while is sharpshooter Ethan Wragge.  He has been fighting plantar fasciitis all season.  After a few games of action, his foot is back in a boot and it is unknown when he is going to return now.   Missouri State comes to town before a two game road trip a rival Southern Illinois and Evansville.
  4. Southern Illinois (7-6) (1-1) (6)— Southern Illinois makes the big jump of the week after bouncing back from the loss against Drake to steal one against Northern Iowa.  Having a short memory was important for the Salukis this week as Carlton Fay hit a shot with two seconds remaining to help SIU knock off the Panthers.  This could be a big week for Southern Illinois as they travel to Bradley and then host Creighton and Illinois State.  They could be in the thick of things if they can go undefeated in this week’s stretch.
  5. Northern Iowa (8-5) (0-2) (3)— As noted above, the Panthers suffered some crushing losses early, losing their first two games by a total of three points.   The word of the week might be panic, but like we talked about earlier, there is still plenty of time to turn things around.  Northern Iowa can feast on Evansville, Indiana State and Bradley this week to try and get back in the race.   is second in the league in scoring through the first week averaging 21.5 points a game.
  6. Evansville (7-5) (1-1) (7)— The Purple Aces were blown out by Wichita State to open play but rebounded to take a close one against Indiana State. Evansville would like to get out of the shadow of other Indiana schools, but it is a long road.  Evansville could be in some trouble again as they travel to Northern Iowa and Missouri State before hosting Creighton on Sunday.
  7. Illinois State (8-5) (0-2) (5)—The Redbirds started where I projected by losing their first two games.  A week after saying they aren’t hitting the panic button yet, they may be ready to.    Hitting the road for two of three games this week can’t be too exciting.  Neither is the home matchup against Wichita State. 
  8. Indiana State (6-7) (1-1) (9)— The Sycamores won against the injury riddled Bradley team but could not hold off their in-state rival Evansville.   A couple of home games might be what is needed to give first year coach Greg Lansing an opportunity to make some noise early.  However, they will have to do it without Jake Kelly.  The senior who transferred from Iowa a couple of seasons ago has not had good luck in Terre Haute.  Kelly suffered a knee injury ending his season early last season and now he has a stress fracture in his foot this season that could keep him out of action for an unspecified time.
  9. Drake (6-7) (1-1) (10)—The Bulldogs up and down season continues.  They got an opening night win against Southern Illinois but then ran out of gas against Creighton in Omaha.  The theme most of the season for Drake were turnovers, but against Creighton it was rebounding.  They were outrebounded 45-24.   Their road trip continues to Wichita State before hosting a couple of home games against Indiana State and Bradley.   Rankings 8-10 could change significantly after this week.
  10. Bradley (6-7) (0-2) (8)— Bradley has lost seven of their last nine games and failed to secure a conference win this week.  The Braves are playing three of their first five conference games on the road and could lose another home game on Tuesday against Southern Illinois.   Bradley has always seemed to get socked with a weird conference schedule.  One positive for Bradley is Andrew Warren who is currently riding on 38 consecutive free throw makes, the second longest streak in Bradley history.   

A Look Ahead

Some great games at the right time this week as conference play enters the second week.  It will be more intense with three games for each school between Tuesday and Sunday.

  • 1/4—Missouri State @ Creighton (Fox Sports Net)—Both teams come into this game at 2-0 in conference play and will be a good challenge to see who can take the early lead in the conference.
  • 1/4—Southern Illinois @ Bradley (ESPN Full Court/—Bradley has started off 0-2 while Southern Illinois is looking to build on their last second win against Northern Iowa.  The Braves could be out of the race early with a loss here.
  • 1/7—Creighton @ Southern Illinois (ESPN Full Court/—This is always a heated rivalry although it has cooled a bit the past few seasons because both programs have been trying to get back to their top level status.  Nonetheless, it should be a good one to catch on a Friday night.
  • 1/9—Missouri State @ Wichita State (ESPNU)—The Bears and Shockers were picked in the preseason to battle it out for the conference championship this season.   This is the first of their two matchups with this one at the always tough Koch Arena.
  • 1/9—Bradley @ Northern Iowa (ESPN Full Court/—It is weird to think that Northern Iowa might be on the outside looking in for the first time in the past couple of seasons after starting 0-2.  With the third game in a week, it will be interesting to see if the Panthers can walk away with a winning record or end up at the bottom of the Valley standings.
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Set Your Tivo: 11.14.09

Posted by nvr1983 on November 13th, 2009


I originally wanted this to be a post for the entire weekend, but after looking at the schedule for the weekend I realized that the only games worth watching were on Saturday so I had to make a slight revision and consequently this will be a Saturday only post. The way I look at it is to view Sunday as a day off to rest up (maybe get a little bit ahead on either school work or “real world” work so you can do absolutely nothing next week) for the first set of big games, which will be start on Monday. Unfortunately as you will soon see even Saturday might be a bust unless you live in about a 200-mile radius near the Indiana or Ohio border. Fortunately, your fearless editors have come through with RTC Live coverage at 2 out of 3 sites with the third site being less enlightened about new media.

Creighton at #22 Dayton at 1 PM on WHIO-TV: Yeah. That’s right. Only on local television, but like I said we will be there with RTC Live coverage. This will be the first game for both teams so both teams will be hyped up for this game even though the Flyers come in with significantly higher expectation not that the Bluejays are slouches.  After being snubbed by the NCAA Selection Committee two years ago, the Flyers now have a target on their back after knocking off West Virginia in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament. Brian Gregory‘s team is led by Chris Wright, everyone’s preseason A-10 POY (everyone also conveniently forgets that Wright wasn’t even 1st team A-10 last year), but if the Flyers are to live up to their preseason ranking they will need other players to step-up. If we were to pick out two players to fit that description would be London Warren, who picked apart West Virginia with 9 assists and only 1 turnover, and Marcus Johnson, a sophmore swingman who put up solid if unspectacular numbers (6.3 PPG and 5.2 RPG) last year, but has been pegged by Gregory as a breakout star this year. On the other sideline, Dana Altman will be hoping that P’Allen Stinnett can fill the void left by Booker Woodfox, last year’s Missouri Valley Conference POY and need center Kenny Lawson (8.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and conference-leading 1.6 BPG last year) to dominate the Flyers on the inside. If the Bluejays can get big performances out of those two and some big shots by Kaleb Korver (yes, he is Kyle’s brother and he can shoot–45% from beyond the arc last year).  However, the Bluejays’ biggest advantage might be that the Flyers could be looking ahead to their next opponent–#20 Georgia Tech and its hyped freshman Derrick Favors in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Davidson at #10 Butler at 2 PM on WHMB-40: Yeah. Local television again, but once again we have come through for you with yet another RTC Live from historic Hinkle Fieldhouse (the site of Milan’s famous 1954 win over Muncie and where they filmed Hoosiers–anybo are dy got the odds that Bill Simmons has ever travelled there since he references the movie so often?). Of course, we have a funny feeling that if Stephen Curry were still in a Wildcat uniform ESPN might have found a way to get them on one of their networks. Instead this game will give us a look at Butler, everyone’s top mid-major team and one of the highest ranked mid-majors that I can remember in recent years. Butler coach Brad Stevens managed to lead the Bulldogs to 26-6 record last year despite starting three freshmen in every game, a remarkable feat for the 2nd year coach who has more wins (56) in his first two years than any coach in D1 history other than Bill Guthridge (58). This year, Stevens will have significantly higher expectations for his Bulldogs who are led by sophomore Gordon Hayward (13.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.5 SPG) and junior Matt Howard (14.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG). On the other side of the ball, Davidson coach Bob McKillop will have his hands full trying to manage an inexperienced and Curry-less group in a hostile environment. In addition to losing Curry and his nation-leading 28.6 PPG, the Wildcats also lost Andrew Lovedale (a solid inside presence who provided both points and rebounds) and Max Paulhus-Gosselin (an excellent defender who to the best of my knowledge is not related to Jon, Kate, or any of the 8). This year, McKillop will be relying on Will Archambault (8.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG), Bryant Barr (7.1 PPG and 2.0 RPG), and Stephen Rossiter (6.1 PPG and 5.9 RPG). Unfortunately, the Wildcats strength is on the inside where Hayward and Howard will be dominating. The Bulldogs relative weakness is on the outside where Curry could have done some major damage, but he’s hanging out with Nellie now so expect the Bulldogs to be out to send a message to the rest of the nation that they deserving of this extremely high ranking.

Mount St. Mary’s at #16 Oklahoma at 2 PM on ???: This is ridiculous. I can’t find this game on any TV listing and we won’t be there thanks to Big 12 policy against new media  so we will just assume that Jeff Capel will hire one of those courthouse artists to let the rest of us know what the action was like.  There are only really two reasons to watch this game if you happen to be in Norman, Oklahoma (since you can’t see it anywhere else–seriously Oklahoma’s site doesn’t even list a local TV station carrying the game): to see how the Sooners adapt to life without Blake Griffin and to see how Willie Warren plays as the main option for the Sooners playing against the Mountaineers’ backcourt of Jeremy Goode (15.9 PPG and 3.1 RPG), Kelly Beidler (12.1 PPG and 6.5 RPG), and Jean Cajou (13.6 PPG and 3.4 RPG). We expect the Sooners to be ok, but don’t be surprised to see them struggle a bit in the early going. They shouldn’t have a problem with the Mountaineers, but if Milan Brown‘s backcourt gets hot from beyond the arc we could have an interesting game that nobody outside of the arena will see.

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Checking in on the… Missouri Valley

Posted by rtmsf on December 14th, 2008

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences.

Current Records and my standings (Last Week Rank)

  1. Illinois St. (9-0) (1)
  2. Creighton (7-2) (2)
  3. Evansville (7-1) (3)
  4. Drake (8-3) (6)
  5. Missouri St. (5-3) (5)
  6. Bradley (5-4) (7)
  7. Northern Iowa (5-5) (4)
  8. Southern Illinois (3-5) (9)
  9. Wichita St. (4-5)  (8)
  10. Indiana St. (1-8) (10)


Evansville (2-0 this week)—I could easily put Creighton in this position after the big win against previously unbeaten Dayton, but Evansville has earned the recognition for  what some would consider a surprising start this season.    Their only loss is to Butler and they just destroyed Western Kentucky on Saturday night.  Shy Ely and Jason Holsinger are leading this senior laden team.   Evansville also gets to fight the big fish this week as they head to Chapel Hill to take on the Tarheels on Thursday night.  So even if they are not the team of the week the rest of the season, it is deserved heading into this week.

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