Preseason 2014-15 MVC Power Rankings

Now that we have started the 5th installment of our MVCfans.com predictions, I offer my final preseason power rankings until our polling has completed.  There is no doubt that Wichita State will be selected to win the Valley.  I think UNI is clearly second best as they return nearly all of their team from last year’s 3rd place finish.  After that, it become markedly more difficult.  Below is my best guess as to what we’ll see when the season begins in just over two months.

MVC Power Rankings:

1) Wichita St – Shockers will again be a unanimous pick and WSU should have three pre-season 1st team All-MVC players.  Even though they lost Cleanthony Early to the NBA, I expect Wichita State will be favored in every league game again this year. Expecting Gregg Marshall to run the table again is asking too much, right? Well, I’m not betting against him.
2) Northern Iowa - Ben Jacobson returns 4 starters to a team that would be strong enough to be chosen as a Valley favorite in some years. If the Panthers can get Virginia transfer Paul Jesperson to have a breakout year, Panthers could be in the NCAA discussion come March.
3) Missouri State - If Marcus Marshall can return to his pre-injury self, Bears can beat anyone on a given night. Austin Ruder and Gavin Thurman provide needed support as MSU looks like the “best of the rest” in the MVC.
4) Evansville - DJ Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius might be the best inside-out combination in the MVC, but has the cast around them improved enough? Croatian Mislav Brzoja leads a group of talented first year players who should challenge for an upper division finish if the pieces fit.
5) Southern Illinois - Barry Hinson lost Desmar Jackson, but SIU returns a young cast led by possible all-league player Anthony Beane Jr.  Salukis avoided Thursday night last season and finished .500 in league play which was progress, but I’m not sure their ceiling is much higher this season.
6) Indiana St - In the first year post-Odum, Coach Greg Lansing returns familiar names – Kitchell, Gant, Smith – but will it be enough to again finish near the top of the MVC standings? I think this year’s Sycs team takes a step back.
7) Bradley – Braves graduated their two leading scorers in Walt Lemon Jr and Tyshon Pickett, so slotting the Braves 7th here might be a bit generous. Give yourself a pat on the back if you knew that Omari Grier will be Bradley’s leading returning scorer.
8 ) Illinois State – Post-season defections of Zach Lofton, Nick Zeisloft, and Kaza Keane leave Dan Muller with an inexperienced group. He will rely heavily on Daishon Knight while hoping that freshmen MiKyle McIntosh and Deontae Hawkins can contribute immediately. I think that’s too much to ask.
9) Loyola - Milton Doyle and Christian Thomas are among the best returning players in the Valley, but will they have more support around them this season than they did last? To me it looks like probably not enough to elevate the Ramblers from a play-in date at Arch Madness.
10) Drake - Coach Giacoletti gets Gary Ricks Jr back for one more year after he received an extra year of eligibility, but Drake will need more from their big men than what they got from Seth VanDeest (4.9 ppg, 5.0 rbg) if the Bulldogs want to avoid the bottom of the league standings.

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“Historic” or not… Arch Madness to remain in STL until at least 2018

Missouri Valley Commissioner Doug Elgin announced in a (insert chuckle here) “historic” press conference today that the league would continue to hold the Valley’s post-season conference tournament at the ScottTrade Center in downtown St. Louis. The agreement will keep the annual championship in St. Louis through at least 2018 and the league holds options for 2019 and 2020.

Speculation of a possible move from the long time location swirled in March when a report circulated that the MVC had requested bids from 4 cities: St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, and Las Vegas. In the end, however, Elgin and Co. determined that recommitting to St. Louis was the league’s best option.

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Cleanthony Early selected #34 overall in 2014 NBA draft by New York Knicks

Congratulations to Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early for being selected by his hometown NBA team – the New York Knicks – with the 34th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

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Video: Evansville LHP Kyle Freeland selected #8 overall in MLB draft

Awesome video of Evansville LHP Kyle Freeland’s reaction after being selected 8th overall in the MLB draft by his hometown Colorado Rockies.

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Dallas Baptist defeats Illinois State 4-1 to win first MVC baseball title

Dallas Baptist scored 3 runs in the 8th inning to defeat Illinois State 4-1 in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament played in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was the first title for the Patriots who began participating in the Valley baseball tournament as an affiliate member in 2014.

Dallas Baptist will learn their NCAA tournament destination and seed on ESPNU, Monday, May 26 at 11am.  The 16 regional hosts for the NCAA baseball tournament will be revealed tonight approximately 8pm.

 

2014 MVC All-Tournament Team
1B – Mason Snyder, Illinois State
2B – Drew Turbin, Dallas Baptist
SS – Camden Duzenack, Dallas Baptist
3B – Brock Stewart, Illinois State
C – Mike Hollenbeck, Illinois State
UT – Mike Wesolowski, Dallas Baptist
DH – Logan Leverett, Illinois State
OF – Daniel Dwyer, Illinois State
OF – Tate Matheny, Missouri State
OF – Max Murphy, Bradley
P – Dylan Craig, Illinois State
P – Cy Sneed, Dallas Baptist

Most Outstanding Player:
Camden Duzenack, Dallas Baptist

Loyola wins NCAA men’s volleyball national title 3-1 over Stanford

Congratulations to the newest member of the Missouri Valley Conference, Loyola University, on winning the NCAA men’s national championship last night. The Ramblers defeated Stanford 3-1 in the finals to claim the school’s first national title in any sport since the 1963 men’s team won the NCAA basketball championship.


 
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Illinois State news: Lofton, Keane, and Zeisloft transferring


Reports out of Normal indicate that three Illinois State Redbirds are transferring from the program. All sophomores with regard to eligibility, guards Zach Lofton, Kaza Keane, and Nick Zeisloft have chosen to leave Illinois State.

Lofton was the second leading scorer for Coach Dan Muller’s team at 11.3 ppg. Zeisloft was a three point specialist and key contributor averaging 25 min/game – he had a career high 8 rebounds in a CBI win over Texas A&M. Keane was a highly regarded recruit who was expected to immediately fill in when Nic Moore left for SMU, but inconsistency limited his minutes.

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Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall named Henry Iba National Coach of the Year

Congrats to Wichita State Head Coach Gregg Marshall on this well deserved honor.

Link to announcement: Marshall Named National Coach of the Year

Report: MVC asks 4 cities to bid on hosting Arch Madness

Could Arch Madness be leaving St. Louis?

According a report by Blair Kerkhoff in the Kansas City Star, the Missouri Valley Conference has sent out requests for proposals to four cities potentially interested in hosting the league’s post season tournament beginning in 2016. The cities asked to consider a bid are St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Read the full article here: Kansas City Star: MVC asks four cities for proposals to hold its tournament

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#1 seed Wichita State hammers Cal-Poly 64-37 in NCAA opener

35 straight wins and counting.  Led by Cleanthony Early’s 23 points and a stifling defense, Wichita State cruised to a 64-37 win over Cal-Poly in their NCAA opener at Scottrade Center in Saint Louis. The Shockers led 32-13 at halftime while holding the Mustangs to 4-28 field goal shooting.  In the first 20 minutes, Early outscored Coly-Poly 19-13 by himself.

With the victory, the Shockers advance to face the Kentucky - Kansas State winner on Sunday.

 

 
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