Missouri Valley Wrap & Tourney Preview

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 3rd, 2011

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

Postseason Preview

The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament will be a dogfight this season as a lot of teams feel like they have a great chance at winning it all.  The top six seeds all have legitimate shots at winning.  Games are not always about who has the best players, but who ultimately gets the best matchups.


  • Who’s HotMissouri State is definitely the team to beat.  They are on a roll with six straight conference wins to end the season.  A lot of teams have troubles matching up with the Bears as Kyle Weems plays more like a guard than a forward.  If everything goes like it has the past couple of seasons in the MVC, then you will see Missouri State heading to the NCAA Tournament.
  • Who’s NotNorthern Iowa is definitely the team who, despite the decent seed, is really struggling right now.  Ad nauseam we have talked about the loss of O’Rear to the Panthers, but it is apparent they have not found someone to patrol the paint like he did.  Losing six of their last seven doesn’t help either.  If Creighton uses their frontcourt to their advantage, then the Panthers will likely be out after the first round.
  • Watch Out ForIndiana State.  The Sycamores are tougher than people are giving them credit for and could surprise Wichita State as both teams are incredibly deep and match up well with each other.  Indiana State took them to triple-overtime at Koch Arena, which is as tough as any place in the nation to win a game.  The Shockers have struggled to finish out the season, and were a few seconds away from finishing the season 0-3.
  • Tournament Prediction—In what could be considered another down year for the Missouri Valley Conference, there is a small chance that if Missouri State and Wichita State met in the finals of the MVC Tournament that both teams might make it into the NCAA Tournament.  However, with their conference tournament occurring a week before all the major conferences play their conference tournament, it is very likely the selection committee will have forgotten by then about the MVC tournament runner-up.

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RTC Conference Primers: #10 – Missouri Valley

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 27th, 2010

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:

  1. Missouri State (24-6, 14-4)
  2. Wichita State (23-7, 13-5)
  3. Creighton (23-8, 13-5)
  4. Southern Illinois (21-9, 11-7)
  5. Northern Iowa (20-11, 10-8)
  6. Bradley (19-11, 10-8)
  7. Illinois State (16-16, 7-11)
  8. Drake (12-18, 4-14)
  9. Evansville (11-16, 4-14)
  10. 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)

6th Man

Adam Leonard, Missouri State  (13 PPG,  39% 3PT)

Impact Newcomer

Greg Echenique, Creighton (Rutgers transfer)

Kyle Weems was nine years old when Missouri State last made the NCAA Tournament in 1999.

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 OregonIowa 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.

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Morning Five: 06.14.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 14th, 2010

  1. Tom Izzo update — shockingly, the Michigan State coach is still considering the Cleveland Cavaliers job, but a report that surfaced late Sunday night stated that LeBron James would be behind the Izzo hiring.  What’s less clear is whether that means James would support the hire as a member of the Cavs or as a member of some other team, a key distinction surely not lost on Izzo in trying to make his decision.  Honestly, the only way that this move makes sense for Izzo is if he can rest assured that he’ll have the opportunity to coach LeBron; otherwise, he’ll be in much the same position that his collegiate forebears such as Pitino, Calipari and Floyd found at the next level — in possession of a swollen bank account but an emaciated roster.
  2. You typically don’t see this happen often, but Ralph Willard did it last year when he left Holy Cross to become an assistant at Louisville and now Indiana State head coach Kevin McKenna is leaving his post to become an assistant under Dana Altman at Oregon.  McKenna was only 43-52 in his three seasons at ISU but he did get the Sycamores to the CBI last year, so you wonder what might have been the underlying reason for this move.
  3. Was the Pac-10 taking another look at Kansas in light of rumors that Texas A&M is more interested in moving to the SEC (leaving the rest of the Big 12 South to the west coast)?  Pac-10 Commish Larry Scott was scheduled to stop over in Kansas City on Sunday night, but apparently the plane never showed up.  Does this mean that A&M is back on board with the move west?  And what of Missouri, who was so gung-ho about joining the Big Ten a month ago, but who is now scrambling around to try to save itself and the rest of the Big 12 (good luck with that).  Sensing an opportunity to improve its profile, the Mountain West is already looking at both schools as possible expansion candidates.
  4. D-day for the Big 12 will be Tuesday, as the regents for the University of Texas will meet to decide what, if anything, to do about the reported offers to join the Pac-10 or the SEC versus staying put.  If the Horns decide to move, the Big 12 will probably be kaput as a major conference, a doomsday situation that had its commissioner spending the weekend trying to convince UT brass that a 10-team conference could still remain viable and that the school would be free to pursue its own television deal (presumably something the new Pac-16 would not allow).  Stay tuned — much more will undoubtedly happen this week.
  5. FedEx CEO Fred Smith has his own ideas about conference realignment — if any BCS league agrees to take his beloved Memphis Tigers into its fold, that league could earn up to $10M yearly for the invitation.  The most likely beneficiary?  The Big East, especially if the Big Ten as expected raids some of the conference’s football-playing schools.
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Missouri Valley Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2010


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


As you can see from the preseason predictions I made on the Missouri Valley conference back in October versus how things ended up, the MVC turned out to be difficult to predict this year as none of the teams performed as expected other than Northern Iowa and Wichita State.

I originally was not sold on the Panthers, but as the season wore on, I could see the cohesiveness and all the little things this group of players do to win games.  Even with the suspension of Jordan Eglseder in three of the final four games, they were able to rally for the most part and continue their dominance in the Valley.  Wichita State may have surprised some, but the Shockers appear to be back in the Valley picture after a few year absence from relevance.  The work Gregg Marshall has done to build this team back up from scratch has paid off.  The question now is whether it is enough to get to an NCAA Tournament postseason.


The Missouri Valley Conference tournament will take place this coming week at the Scottrade Center in downtown Saint Louis.  Rush the Court will be live in St. Louis this week to keep you updated on the things going on at Arch Madness.  Here is how the bracket shapes up:

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Checking in on… the MVC

Posted by jstevrtc on January 11th, 2010

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

Current Records and my standings, (Conference Record) (Last Week):

  1. Northern Iowa  14-1  (5-0) (1)
  2. Wichita State 13-2 (4-1) (2)
  3. Missouri State  13-3 (3-2) (3)
  4. Illinois State  12-4 (3-2) (4)
  5. Indiana State  11-5 (3-2) (6)
  6. Bradley  7-8 (2-3) (7)
  7. Southern Illinois   9-5 (2-3) (5)
  8. Creighton  7-9 (2-3)  (8)
  9. Drake  6-11 (1-4)  (10)
  10. Evansville 6-8 (0-5) (9)


Valley sitting 10th The Missouri Valley Conference is sitting 10th right now in the Pomeroy ratings with Northern Iowa sitting up on top at #33 with Wichita State and Missouri State at #62 and #68 respectively.  In 2006 when the Valley had so much success and got four teams into the NCAA Tournament, six teams were in the top 60.  It will be interesting to see what kind of rankings they can end up with at this rate.  The conference is getting back to the national scene, but the numbers still are not where they were a few years ago and they are just hoping to get at least more than one team in the Big Dance this season.

Northern Iowa ready to run away — Speaking of Northern Iowa, the Panthers look like they could run away with the Valley this season.  With road victories already at Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Creighton, they have set themselves up for a chance to run away with the conference.  However, they still have all those teams at home.  Last season the Panthers struggled down the stretch, losing a lot of games in their own building.   A game in Wichita on January 19th is one to circle on the calendar as you may see the first game between the two leaders in the Valley.

Teams separating themselves — There are several other teams in the Valley trying to separate themselves from the rest of the pack to make the Valley less weird and wacky compared with past seasons.   Wichita State is playing extremely well right now along with Missouri State and Illinois State wanting to have a say.  A dark horse could be Indiana State.

Historically top teams need to check into rehab — Last season it was Southern Illinois suffering a losing record for the first time in ten years.  This season it may be Creighton headed to a losing season, sitting at 7-9 right now.   Southern Illinois may still end up joining them by the time the season is over as they have now lost three straight.  It is very unusual to see one of these two teams heading to the bottom of the league, but if both end up down there by season’s end, then there will be a lot more questions going forward.


Northern Iowa (2-0 this week)—As mentioned above, the Panthers are getting a lot of attention especially with a 13 game winning streak, but also as the only undefeated team in conference play after big road wins at Southern Illinois and Illinois State this past week.  Some feel that UNI deserves to be ranked.  They better be careful for what they wish for.  This week Northern Iowa gets to host Bradley and Indiana State which looks like an easy enough task, but there might be an upset in there that could turn things upside down.

Wichita State (2-0 this week)—The Shockers keep plugging along, getting wins against Creighton and Missouri State.  Wichita State had a 25 point lead at Missouri State before barely holding on at the end to get the win.  The Shockers, however, still look to play a full 40 minutes but have a lot of weapons.  The controversy in that game was that a fan in the Missouri State crowd shoved Toure Murry to the ground.  Likely no punishment for the fan.  They might have found that full 40 minutes on Saturday night as they took revenge against Creighton over last season’s MVC tournament game shocker with a rowdy home crowd and took Creighton out right from the beginning of the game.   They will be tested this week as they hit the road for both of their games against Indiana State, and a return game with Creighton in Omaha.


Missouri State (1-1 this week)—Missouri State thought they could just show up to their JHQ Arena home court and notch a win, but Wichita State kicked them in the mouth to remind them that their non-conference success was nothing on which they could hang their hat.  Though they made a valiant effort to come back, it wasn’t enough, and they lost their first one at home.  They were able to rebound from that game to pound Bradley this week as Kyle Weems led the way with 30 points in that win.  Road trips to Drake and Bradley this week await the Bears.

Illinois State (1-1 this week) –The Redbirds got off on a good note this week to defeat Evansville as expected, but then laid an egg in front of a national television audience in their loss to Northern Iowa.  Though they remember the troubles with Northern Iowa over 300 days ago in the MVC Tournament finals, it was not enough for them to pull the upset.   Illinois State will fly under the radar this week against Evansville and Drake.  If they expect to be in the Valley race, they need to win both of these games this week.

Indiana State (1-1 this week)—The Sycamores have to be kicking themselves in that they had an opportunity to get a win at Bradley before losing in overtime after a furious comeback in the second half.  At least they were able to turn it around to blow out Evansville.  Indiana State is increasingly looking like a better and better team and could be in the mix in the conference race, but they cannot let games like Bradley slip away.  They also need to avoid the injury bug.  Last week it was Jake Kelly, now they hold their breath on leading scorer and rebounder Dwayne Lathan and a leg injury.   With Wichita State and Northern Iowa on the schedule this week, this could be a make or break point for Kevin McKenna and his team.

Bradley (1-1 this week)—Bradley needed overtime to get past Indiana State and then  lost at Missouri State this week.  There are doubters on whether this Bradley team can improve the rest of the season, but do not count them out.  With games against Northern Iowa and Missouri State this week Bradley needs to wake up now if they want to stay in the race.  Really, Sam Singh is in his final year at Bradley.

Creighton (1-1 this week)—Funny how both teams that have the most veteran coaches (Jim Les – Bradley), have teams on which they aren’t sure what they really have.  Creighton survived after a pesky Drake team took them to the wire earlier in the week, and then they were “not ready” for the Koch Arena crowd in Wichita.  In addition, Creighton forward Casey Harriman said, “We think we have it, but we don’t.  We need to recognize our record and where we’re at in the league. We have to do something about it.  Yeah, we are Creighton, but we’re not the Creighton of old. We’re not getting it done, and we need to pick it up.”  They need to do it in a hurry; Southern Illinois and Wichita State come to town this week.

Drake (1-1 this week)—Drake almost pulled out a win at Creighton this week, but then was able to come back against Southern Illinois to steal a victory in Carbondale.  The Bulldogs were looking to turnaround their season against SIU, and that is exactly what happened.  Drake is going to be one of those teams throughout the rest of the season that could play spoiler to other teams’ conference hopes.  This week, Missouri State and Illinois State get to head to Des Moines to play with the Bulldogs.


Southern Illinois (0-2 this week)—Is Chris Lowery’s job really on the line in Carbondale?  Yes, Southern Illinois struggled mightily last season, but they were on their way back up, right?  Well, this week after the loss to Northern Iowa, there were quotes from Lowery criticizing the crowd for not getting behind his team.  Then, a writer at ESPNChicago called for Lowery’s job.  People on the Salukitalk message board were talking about bringing Lowery boo signs to the arena, as well.  There was just a full explosion on that board about Lowery.  With the collapse in the final minutes against Drake this past Saturday to give them a three game losing streak, there are probably even more boo birds out there, and questions as to whether or not Lowery’s job is secure.   They hit the road to Creighton and Evansville this week.

Evansville (0-2 this week)—Another week and another couple of Evansville losses.  But they also lost another player as Bryan Bochie decided to leave school and basketball all together.  But coach Marty Simmons thinks Bochie leaving will be a positive on the team.   Will they show up to play Illinois State and Southern Illinois this week?  Probably, but don’t expect them to walk away with a win.  Maybe when they host Drake in a couple of weeks.


The Valley does not have a lot of compelling matchups this week due to many top teams playing bottom feeders, but here are the best of the crop (or at least the ones you can watch on TV):

  • 1/12, Bradley @ Northern Iowa (ESPNU)—The Panthers try to stay undefeated in conference play.
  • 1/13, Southern Illinois @ Creighton (Fox Sports Net)—These two teams have historically sat at the top of the conference, but these rivals are fighting to just stay relevant in the conference race.
  • 1/16, Indiana State @ Northern Iowa (Local TV)—The Sycamores want to be in the race, and a win at Northern Iowa would be huge.
  • 1/16, Wichita State @ Creighton (ESPN2)—The second matchup in a week, this time on ESPN2 as the Bluejays try to make it a closer game at home.
  • 1/17, Illinois St. @ Drake (ESPNU)—The Redbirds have been flying a little under the radar with Wichita State, Northern Iowa and Missouri State getting all the attention.  This is a chance to showcase what they bring to the table.
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Checking in on… the MVC

Posted by jstevrtc on January 5th, 2010

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

Current records and my standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week):

  1. Northern Iowa 12-1 (3-0) (3)
  2. Wichita State 13-2 (2-1) (1)
  3. Missouri State 12-2 (2-1) (2)
  4. Illinois State 11-3 (2-1) (5)
  5. Southern Illinois 9-3 (2-1) (4)
  6. Indiana State 10-4 (2-1) (6)
  7. Bradley 6-7 (1-2) (8)
  8. Creighton 6-8 (1-2) (9)
  9. Evansville 6-7 (0-3) (7)
  10. Drake 5-10 (0-3) (10)


Northern Iowa mowing down the Valley — Those that don’t consider Northern Iowa the class of the Valley need to have their head examined (including myself, before now).  The Panthers are on an 11-game winning streak after following a tough road win against Creighton in Omaha with victories against Evansville and Missouri State to race out to a 3-0 conference record in the first week.

Should be an interesting Conference Season — After the first week, six teams have gotten out to 3-0 or 2-1 records.  The games have all been mostly competitive so far and it will be interesting to see if a few teams will break out of the pack or if they will be spending the season beating up on each other, which may hurt their postseason plans.  If this conference is going to have multiple bids this season, there will need to be a few teams that need to separate themselves, or it could end up being a one-bid league again.  I am sure Bradley and Creighton still think they have something to say about things as well.


Northern Iowa (3-0 this week) — As mentioned above, the Panthers have won three games to start the conference season.  Their shooting percentage against Creighton was not that great, but they left Omaha with a win.  It took a second half rally to get past Missouri State.  The next big test for them will come this week with a road trip to Southern Illinois and Illinois State.


Southern Illinois (2-1 this week) — The Salukis are trying to re-establish themselves as the cream of the Valley once again.  They are definitely starting off better than they did last season.  Things looked pretty good when they took out Indiana State and Bradley earlier this week, but then they played mediocre basketball against the Illinois State Redbirds and couldn’t get over the hump to steal a victory there.  Luckily for the Salukis they get some home cooking this week as they host conference leader Northern Iowa and Drake.

Missouri State (2-1 this week) — Missouri State will be interesting to watch during conference season.  They have been a surprise so far with their non-conference record as well as two victories over Evansville and Illinois State to start conference season.  A loss against Northern Iowa was a bit expected.  The jury is still out on this team and it will be interesting to see how they react by hosting Wichita State and Bradley this week.  Adam Leonard has the nickname “Iceman” now with his cool demeanor and free throw shooting ability with the game on the line.

Wichita State (2-1 this week) — Wichita had been riding high after getting some votes for the Top 25 and several feature articles on them.   They started off the conference season, however, at Illinois State, and had their nine-game winning streak snapped.  They then summoned the moxie to turn around and get wins at home against Bradley and Drake.  This week will be an important week for them as they go to conference surprise Missouri State and host Creighton.   If Wichita is going to continue to be successful, it falls on the shoulders of David Kyles and Garrett Stutz.   In other news, the city of Wichita is excited to open a brand new arena in town, but the Shockers are probably only going to play once or twice a year there.

Indiana State (2-1 this week) — Kevin McKenna is really starting to show why he was hired to take over the reins of the Indiana State team a couple seasons ago.  This team is really playing at a high level right now.  After starting off on the wrong foot against Southern Illinois and losing Iowa transfer Jake Kelly for the season with a torn ACL, they were been able to turn things around and knock off Creighton (where McKenna used to be an assistant for Dana Altman) and then Drake on the road.  If the Sycamores get wins against Evansville and Bradley this week, look out MVC.  Another family tie for McKenna and Altman is that Altman’s son, Jordan, is the Graduate Assistant at Indiana State this season.

Illinois State (2-1 this week) — The Redbirds were another team flying high after knocking off Wichita State to open conference play with their defense, but then stumbled at Missouri State.  They were able to respond with a nice home victory against Southern Illinois.  A trip to Evansville and then hosting conference leader Northern Iowa is on the slate this week.


Bradley (1-2 this week) — Bradley broke a three-game losing streak by defeating Drake on the road with Andrew Warren giving the Bulldogs nightmares to start off the conference season, but then suffered two losses against Southern Illinois and Wichita State.  Bradley was also without one of their better players in Taylor Brown against Wichita State on Sunday due to a decision by coach Jim Les.   It doesn’t get any easier for Bradley this week as they have Indiana State and Missouri State waiting in the wings for them.

Creighton (1-2 this week) — Creighton was hoping to start the slate clean after a disappointing non-conference season by getting the first crack at the Northern Iowa Panthers.  But the problems that were plaguing Creighton throughout the season against quality competition hit them again.   Bad free throw shooting and not being able to hold on to leads led to their downfall.  A road trip to Indiana State did not bring any relief either as they lost that one, as well.  This led to a two-hour players-only team meeting.  A salvaged win against Evansville on Sunday might be a start of something.  Some people are a bit too concerned about P’Allen Stinnett’s Facebook status, rather than basketball.  Drake and Wichita State are on the slate this week for the Bluejays.


Evansville (0-3 this week) — Evansville has started 0-3, but have been right there the whole way in each of their games, losing by small margins.   One big bright spot for the Purple Aces has been the play of freshman Colt Ryan.  In the game against Creighton on Sunday, he single-handedly kept Evansville in the game with his 26 points on 8-16 from the field and 6-11 from three-point range to go along with five assists.   They could be the spoiler in the conference this season, especially if they get their low post problems solved.  Indiana State and Illinois State probably aren’t looking forward to seeing the Aces this week.

Drake (0-3 this week) — Drake is destined to be the doormat of the league this season, evidenced by losing to Bradley, a second half breakdown against Indiana State at home and then just getting completely dismantled at Wichita State.  They now hit the road to visit Creighton and Southern Illinois, two venues that don’t like to let road teams walk away with victories.


Conference season is well underway and there are a few great matchups this week.

  • 1/6, Wichita St. @ Missouri State (Local TV)—Missouri State is undefeated at home this season. Can Wichita go in to Springfield to get what would look to be a solid win at this point?
  • 1/6, Northern Iowa @ Southern Illinois (ESPNU)—Both teams are at the top of the Valley right now and this winner gets a leg up in the early MVC race.
  • 1/9, Northern Iowa @ Illinois State (ESPN2) —If Northern Iowa gets past SIU earlier in the week, it will be interesting if they can continue the road run. The Panthers already have three big road wins already against the historically tough Valley home venues.
  • 1/9, Bradley @ Missouri State (Local TV)—Bradley had high expectations heading into the season, but have some very disappointing performances. The winner here will have a turnaround of sorts, whereas the loser could spiral down quickly.
  • 1/9, Creighton @ Wichita State (ESPNU)—Many say that Creighton vs. SIU is the rivalry of the Valley, but I really think that Creighton vs. Wichita State is a bigger rivalry between the fan bases and it has spilled over to the court as well. The first meeting of two within a week of each other.
  • 1/10, Evansville @ Indiana State (Fox Sports Net)—If Indiana State wants to consider themselves a contender, they should win this nationally televised game. For Evansville, it is a chance to showcase their phenom, freshman guard Colt Ryan.
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Checking in on… the Missouri Valley

Posted by jstevrtc on December 14th, 2009


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

Current Records and My Standings (Last Week’s Rank)

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


  • Missouri St. wins two more games.  The Bears are continuing to win, much to the chagrin of my pre-season rankings. I thought they would have at least 3 losses by now. Home court advantage was probably a help to their early success, but they also have two wins on the road and are in the middle of a three-game road trip. It would be pretty amazing if they finish the non-conference season undefeated by getting road wins at St. Louis and Arkansas, both very winnable games.
  • Creighton loses on the road again.  Creighton is now 0-5 on the road this season and could finish 2009 with a losing record which would be the first time in a long time. This week it was to George Mason as they led most of the game and collapsed in the last few minutes of the game, helped by a technical foul on coach Dana Altman with 18 seconds left in the game with Creighton up by two.  Creighton lost the game, 75-72.
  • Shockers looking pretty good.  Other than the loss to Pittsburgh in the CBE Classic, Wichita State  is playing some good basketball lately and have gained a lot of confidence with a couple road wins at UMKC and Cleveland State as well as some guarantee games at Koch Arena.  They will be a force come conference play.
  • UNI sweeps Iowa teams.  For the first time since 2006-07 season, UNI beat both Iowa and Iowa St. in the annual matchup between the Iowa schools. The Panthers are on a roll as of late and creating quite the resume’ with wins over Iowa, Iowa St., Boston College, and Siena.
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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. 

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Checking in on the… Missouri Valley

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008

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

Current Records and my standings:

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


Illinois St. (3-0 this week)—Illinois St. is in this spot just because they are actually winning games.  The Redbirds have won the games they are supposed to.  They won games against a couple more cupcakes – Nichols State, Winston-Salem St. and UC Santa Barbara – in their own hosted World Vision tourney this past weekend and put the crowd to sleepChamp Oguchi has been a constant force for Illinois St. as they keep rolling along and host Bowling Green  next Saturday night.   Illinois St. fans will be happy to hear that former coach Porter Moser is doing just fine as an assistant at St. Louis.  He just bought a $1 million house.

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2008-09 Season Primers: #10 – Missouri Valley

Posted by rtmsf on November 2nd, 2008

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


Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Creighton  (27-4, 15-3)
  2. Southern Illinois  (25-6, 14-4)
  3. Bradley  (22-8, 12-6)
  4. Illinois St.  (22-8, 10-8)
  5. Drake  (21-10, 10-8)
  6. Indiana St.  (17-13, 7-11)
  7. Wichita St.  (15-15, 6-12)
  8. Northern Iowa  (15-15, 6-12)
  9. Evansville  (14-15, 6-12)
  10. Missouri St.  (13-17, 4-14)

WYN2K.  Last season, Drake was predicted to finish 9th in the league and ended up having a dream season, winning the conference and the conference tournament, only to be knocked out by Western Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament in a thrilling game.  Most coaches from the Missouri Valley after a successful season jump ship and embrace the hype of their ability to move up into the major conferences – Steve Alford (Iowa at the time), Bruce Weber (Illinois), Matt Painter (Purdue), Greg McDermott (Iowa St.), Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M) and now Drake’s head man, Keno Davis.  Davis jumped at the Providence job 26 days after taking Drake to its first NCAA Tournament in many, many years.  The question that needs to be asked is whether Drake was that good or if the Valley was down last year.  It was probably a combination of both.   In the past, the Missouri Valley Conference has had multiple teams make the NCAA Tournament and the known teams in the conference will be making their return.  Creighton has been in the postseason (NCAA or NIT) a conference-record eleven straight seasons and Southern Illinois last year broke their six-year streak of getting into the NCAA Tournament.  Creighton has a ton of experience coming back whereas Southern Illinois is going back to their roots of tough defense and a solid floor general.  Drake will not reach the same level as  last year  as they have their third different head coach in as many years.  If Drake didn’t have the year they did last year, the story of the Valley would have been Illinois St.  First year coach Tim Jankovich (who was an assistant at  Kansas) was able to take advantage of the recruits of former coach Porter Moser and led this team to an unbelievable season themselves, but got destroyed on national TV in the Missouri Valley Tournament Championship game by Drake (79-49) and that was probably what kept them from being considered for the Big Dance.  Valley Preseason  Player of the Year Osiris Eldridge will be back to try to lead the Redbirds to another successful season.  After getting to the finals of the inaugural CBI postseason tournament, Bradley  is a tested team with experience that will make some noise this year.  Former Creighton assistant and second-year head coach Kevin McKenna has started to turn the Indiana St. team around and will show improvement.   Gregg Marshall is still trying to have the same success with Wichita St. that he had at Winhrop, but still has a lot of work to do.  Northern Iowa gets out of the gate a ltitle behind with several injured players, one suspended for the first three games and one waiting until semester’s end to become eligible. MVC cheerleader and resident little man Barry Hinson is out at Missouri St. and did not leave a lot behind.  Evansville is Evansville, although they have the advantage of returning all five starters from last season.  

Predicted Champion.  Creighton (NCAA #9).  Creighton is the obvious choice as they have eight players returning that played 12 or more minutes a game.  They also led the nation in bench scoring last year and there is enough talent on this team that the two players leading the nation in scoring off the bench without receiving a start (Booker Woodfox and Cavel Witter) may still not start this season.  P’Allen Stinnett is the Jays’ POY candidate that can amaze and wow people with his athleticism, but will need to be a leader this season and play with emotion like he is known for (keeping it contained to keep from bugging officials and unnecessary fouls).  Justin Carter comes in from the JUCO ranks as a scorer who may be able to step into the starting lineup sooner rather than later.  The frontcourt may be a little suspect since they only have three players over 6’8 but it appears they have been to the weight room and if they make the impact as expected, they will solidify this team.  Coach Dana Altman plans to have the high-pressure full-court defense back in motion this year to create turnovers.  The veteran coach, the returning player experience and the ability to play high-pressure defense is what will cause Creighton to rise to the top.  Also having eleven straight 20+ wins in a season is a streak that this team will not want to break.  This team should be able to get to the NCAA Tournament and win a couple of games to continue to build this program.  Here’s POY candidate P’Allen Stinnett rising up for a dunk.

NCAA/NIT Teams. 

  • Southern Illinois (NCAA #13). SIU had a high-profile non-conference schedule last season due to recent success, but came up short in justifying their hype.  Fortunately, the Salukis still have a high-profile non-conference schedule, but at the expense of playing marquee home games and instead going on the road to try to regain their notoriety.  They have the opportunity to be the featured team with the likes of Duke, Michigan and UCLA by being a part of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic if they win their home regional and advance to New York.  They are also part of the John Wooden Tradition game against St. Mary’s.  So the opportunities are there to be back in the spotlight for the Valley.  SIU will be led by senior point guard Bryan Mullins who was the Valley Defensive Player of the year and a solid leader.  The supporting cast is hyped as SIU’s best recruiting class ever and they had the opportunity to go to Canada over Labor Day to get familiar and some early playing time.  However a little blow came after the Canada trip when 3-point specialist Joshua Bone (at least he has seemed like that every time I have watched him) had a tough trip and decided to leave the team once they returned. That is one less player with experience.  So there will be a bit of a learning curve this season for Southern Illinois, but their tradition and fan base will keep them in contention and they should have enough to make it back to the NCAAs after settling for the NIT last season. 
  • Bradley (NIT).  People reading this who are knowledgeable of the Valley probably think I am crazy for having Bradley ranked so high compared to their own views and what other publications have written.  However, it was three short seasons ago that Bradley was in the Sweet 16.  Like it or not Jim Les has developed quite a program with Bradley.  Last season because of injuries, suspensions and other various reasons, the actual starting lineup that was expected to be on the floor didn’t occur very much, but last year’s team was a solid team. Being able to be a part of the initial CBI basketball tournament gave them the chance to play longer than most Valley teams and an opportunity to improve in areas for this season.  With the trio of point guard Sam Maniscalco, guard Andrew Warren and forward Theron Wilson provide a good starting group of players that if the newcomers gel could make some noise.  However, Bradley probably does not have enough firepower to win the Valley this season,  and are otherwise borderline in making the NCAA tournament so they probably will be in the NIT.
  • Illinois St. (NIT).  The Illinois St. defense was a stalwart last season as they were 11th nationally in points allowed per game (59.3).  Osiris Aldridge will be looked upon to continue his conference leading scoring along with the additions of transfers Champ Oguchi (Oregon) and Landon Shipley (Austin Peay).  The Redbirds’ frontcourt will be decimated to start the year as forwards Brandon Sampay and Bobby Hill are expected to be out until January due to injuries.  So this team will just be starting to gel under a cupcake non-conference schedule and these players will be coming back once conference season starts.  It may take a while for this team then to adjust to the higher level of play and integrating these players back into the lineup which will keep Illinois St. from returning to the Big Dance this season.  The non-conference slate that has an RPI average of 215 is well below standards of the Valley and will not jump onto anyone’s page as an at-large team for the NCAA Tournament.  Unless they win the conference tournament, it is the NIT for them.
  • Drake (NIT).  Mark Phelps takes over the Bulldogs and has now been tasked with high expectations after last year’s remarkable season.  Gone is the point guard, Adam Emmenecker, who really made things gel for Drake last season.  However they return “Bucky” Cox who likes to shoot threes more than play inside and All-MVC pick Josh Young at guard.  Keno Davis did not go too deep into his bench last season so a lot of players come in inexperienced.  Also, Davis did not really talk to players extensively and sort of let the players play their game.  On the other hand, new coach Phelps is more of  a talker, telling the team the things they need to do that may take some adjustment.  Both the coach and the team like the 3-ball so that will help the team stay on a common ground, but the moving back of the 3-point line will affect them if they live and die by the three.  The Bulldogs are the hunted and not the hunters this season and will suffer through a year of transition and will probably settle for the NIT this season.  In the meantime, Drake fans will still have this to remember… 


  • Indiana St.  This team took a hit when its leading returning scorer Marico Stinson unexpectedly left the team and the university, but is on an upswing with a solid coach.  Look for them to make some noise next season.
  • Wichita St.  Only one returning starter and several new players will still try to find an identity while Gregg Marshall tries to look like he is not mad at the world.
  • Northern Iowa.  UNI gets out of the gate a little slowly with injuries and players missing from the team that won’t be able to play right away.  With coach Ben Jacobsen on the hot seat, he cannot afford to have another mediocre season after what Greg McDermott did with the team before Jacobsen’s tenure.  It may show the recruiting or coaching ability is not there. 
  • Evansville.  This team is still rebuilding as half the team is still freshman and sophomores though they have an advantage of returning all five starters.  However, they will need  a lot of help inside and that is not there yet. 
  • Missouri St.  The most exciting thing Missouri St. fans have to look forward to is the new $67M JQH Arena.

RPI Boosters / Key Games.

The key to this conference getting multiple bids is to have success against BCS and high mid-major teams.  Unfortunately, home games for the Valley teams are far and few between.

  • Missouri St. @ Auburn  (11.14.08)
  • Bradley @ Florida (CBE Classic)  (11.16.08)
  • Southern Illinois @ 2K Sports College Classic vs. Duke and Michigan/UCLA, but of course have to get out of their regional to get to New York.  (11.20-21.08)
  • Missouri St. vs. Arkansas  (11.22.08)
  • Wichita St. @ Old Spice classic vs. Georgetown and Maryland, Michigan St., or Gonzaga.   (11.27-30.08)
  • Northern Iowa vs. Marquette (Chicago Invitational)  (11.28.08)
  • Northern Iowa vs. Auburn (Chicago Invitational)  (11.29.08)
  • Indiana St. @ Depaul  (11.29.08)
  • Drake vs. Vanderbilt (Cancun Tourney)  (11.29.08)
  • Wichita St. @ Texas Tech  (12.03.08)
  • Creighton @ St. Josephs  (12.06.08)
  • Indiana St @ Louisville  (12.06.08)
  • Bradley @ Michigan St.  (12.07.08)
  • Creighton vs. Dayton  (12.10.08)
  • Indiana St. @ Purdue  (12.13.08)
  • Evansville @ North Carolina  (12.18.08)
  • Southern Illinois v. St. Mary’s  (12.20.08)  (Wooden Tradition)
  • Creighton vs. Depaul (in Vegas possibly)  (12.23.08)

Drake and Northern Iowa also benefit from a state law requiring Iowa and Iowa St. to play both Valley teams each year which adds and extra large conference school to their schedule. (ed. note: apparently this is a myth… thanks, readers)


Then you have the key conference games that will decide the conference champ.

  • Creighton vs. Southern Illinois (01.14.09)
  • Bradley vs. Illinois St.  (01.29.09)
  • Southern Illinois vs. Creighton  (02.14.09)
  • Drake vs. Southern Illinois (02.25.09)
  • Creighton vs. Illinois St.  (02.26.09)
  • Drake vs. Bradley  (02.28.09) 

Neat-O Stat.  Home Sweet Home.  The Missouri Valley Conference is known for defending its home court.  Southern Illinois is 92-6 in overall home games since 2001-02 and is 61-2 against conference opponents at home during that same period.  During that same period, Creighton is 97-17 at home.  Since Creighton opened the Qwest Center in 2003-04, the Jays are 66-13 at home.   These are just a couple of examples of why major conference teams don’t want to visit Valley schools. 

65 Team Era.   The MVC is a multiple-bid league, having before last season gone a decade between single-bid years (1998 to 2008).  In the 24-year history of this era, the league has only gotten one bid seven times, and even got as many as four in the high-water mark of 2006.  Despite an average seed of #10.2 over this period, the Valley has gone 22-45 (.329) and put seven different teams into the Sweet 16, including S. Illinois in 2007 and both Wichita St. and Bradley in 2006.  What’s more, in the last six years, MVC teams play teams tough, losing by an average of 6.1 pts in their knockout games (only one double-digit loss in 14 games).  We see 2008 as a one-year blip, and have no reason to believe the MVC won’t continue to put numerous teams into the Dance and have them succeed.    

Final Thoughts.  If Creighton plays to its potential they could easily run away with the conference and have a chance to make some noise in the Big Dance.  The 2-5 spots will be a dog fight between the established Southern Illinois and the questions of the one-year wonders of Drake and Illinois St.  Bradley will stick its nose in and cause a little disruption in the league similar to what Drake did last year and could be the big surprise.  If the Valley teams can win their high-profile non-conference games, the league will be recognized again as a powerful conference.  No significant wins by the Valley in the non-conference could unfortunately put them in obscurity for another season.  However, I say to look for the Valley to be a multiple-bid league once again this season and to make an impact on the college basketball world. 

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