Missouri Valley Conference Power Rankings – Updated Dec. 30

For the first time in several years, the Valley doesn’t have an overwhelming favorite to win the league as conference season begins today. At different times over the past couple of weeks, I had the Aces, Shockers, and Panthers all atop these rankings only to have an untimely or surprising loss derail them one by one. I’ve yet to meet anyone confident enough to tell me with certainty where  the Valley is headed this year, but most seem to agree that circumstances could result in a one bid league. My gut tells me we have 2 teams dancing on Selection Sunday, but league officials might need a couple extra doses of Maalox for the heartburn as the calendar turns to March.

MVC Power Rankings

1) Wichita State 6-5 – The Shockers go back to the head of the class because a true inspection reveals that WSU has no “bad losses” as all five have been to potential NCAA teams including several played without Fred VanVleet. The Shockers convincing win over Utah (who subsequently won at Duke) is probably the truest indication that the Shockers deserve to be here.
2) Northern Iowa 8-5 – I suspect that the Panthers will be one of the more difficult teams for the Selection Committee to assess in March. Is there a school with a better pair of wins than UNC and Iowa State? Maybe not, but UNI’s five losses have all been to teams unlikely to make the NCAA tournament and that could be difficult to overcome without an outstanding record in league play.
3) Evansville 11-2- Aces would have been slotted atop this poll if they hadn’t laid an egg at Arkansas and had instead entered conference play with just one loss to Top 10 Providence. Instead, Evansville put themselves in a bad situation without a single non-conference win over a team likely to make the NCAA tournament (barring an automatic bid).
4) Southern Illinois 11-2 - After the top 3, things get awfully muddled. I acknowledge their schedule had plenty of 200+ RPI opponents, but SIU beat Kent State and Oakland which are better wins than either of the next two schools have that were considered for this spot. We’ll give Barry Hinson the benefit of the doubt and put the Salukis fourth… for now. Huge game vs Loyola tonight.
5) Loyola 7-5 -  Frankly, I expected more out of the Ramblers this year and it’s not a great sign when an upper half MVC team has an RPI of 217 entering league play. Loyola opens their MVC schedule with games against SIU, IndSt, IllSt, Missouri St, and Bradley. To retain this spot, Ramblers need to win at least 3 of those games.
6) Illinois State 6-7 – If Loyola has been disappointing, Illinois State’s performance thus far has been head scratching. Redbirds have zero quality wins – zero. Seriously, check for yourself (best win is either 67-66 over 5-5 Morehead St or 63-61 over 4-6 Murray State). Yikes. If we needed to sum up ISU in one word – underachieving.
7) Indiana State 6-6 – Sycamores take a three games winning streak into league play including a road win at SLU. I always felt Greg Lansing was a very good coach and he’ll need to do one of his best jobs to finish above .500 this year.
8 ) Drake 5-7 – I almost slotted the Bulldogs one spot higher because their recent losses to DePaul, Nevada and Iowa were all close and competitive. That’s how bad things have gotten at the bottom of the MVC.
9) Missouri State 4-8 – I’m not quite sure how you go into Stillwater and beat Oklahoma State, follow that up with a dominant win over Oral Roberts and then lose at home to previously winless SEMO.
10) Bradley 2-11 – If there was ever a season that the history books and media guides should omit from existence, the Braves’ season in 2015-16 would meet all the criteria. Somewhere, Kurt Kanaskie has his fingers crossed.


You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com Message Board

Missouri Valley Conference Power Rankings – Updated Dec. 7

Now that we are a month into the season I think we’ve seen enough games to adequately assess the Valley and update our power rankings.  There is a pretty dramatic drop off after the Top 6 and as of yet there isn’t much to say about the bottom of the league.

MVC Power Rankings

1) Evansville 7-1 – Aces at-large chances don’t have much room for error with a soft non-con schedule, but they have secured decent wins over Belmont and Murray State and their only loss was to Top 20 Providence. If they can win at Arkansas tomorrow and take a 12-1 record into MVC play, they’ll be in the NCAA discussion.
2) Wichita State 3-4 – Is it crazy to put WSU here with a losing record? With Fred VanVleet back on the court, the Shockers handled SLU easily. Hard to argue putting them any lower and I’m sure they would still be the bettors favorite to win the Valley.
3) UNI 5-2- Panthers have only one win against a team with a winning record, but that was over #1 ranked North Carolina. A huge game looms with Top 10 Iowa State next weekend in Des Moines.
4) Southern Illinois 8-1 - No question the surprise of the early season has been Barry Hinson’s Salukis. But can they sustain this level of success once the Valley season starts? Probably not, but escaping Thursday night at Arch Madness would be progress.
5) Loyola 5-3 -  Ramblers followed up a bad loss to sub-200 RPI UNC-Asheville with a victory over former MVC member Creighton. Milton Doyle has looked like an All-Valley performer so far.
6) Illinois State 3-6 – Redbirds have been disappointing, but they have also showed young potential.  Playing Kentucky even for a half and leading late in the game at Maryland should give ISU fans hope.
7) Indiana State 3-4
8 ) Drake 4-4
9) Missouri State 2-5
10) Bradley 1-8


You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com Message Board

UNI upsets #1 North Carolina 71-67

My 2015-16 preseason All-MVC teams and individual award selections

Missouri Valley Conference Media Day will be held this morning so it is time to make my fearless predictions. I had a little more trouble making some of the second team and honorable mention selections this year and I ended up giving my final spot to one guy no one else will probably recognize, but every team wishes they had.

Once again, I expect Wichita State to be a unanimous favorite to win the league and (once again) both Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker will vie for Larry Bird Player of the Year honors. I picked Baker last year and I will stick with it in ’15-’16. My predictions for all-MVC teams and individual honors are below.


First Team All Missouri Valley Conference
Ron Baker, Wichita State – Preseason MVC Player of the Year
Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
DJ Balentine, Evansville
Egidijus Mockevicius, Evansville
Milton Doyle, Loyola


Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference
Paul Jesperson, UNI
Devaughn Akoon-Purcell, Illinois State
Anton Grady, Wichita State
Wes Washpun, UNI
Anthony Beane Jr, SIU


Honorable Mention All-Missouri Valley Conference

Devonte Brown, Indiana State
Brenton Scott, Indiana State
Montel James, Loyola
Reed Timmer, Drake
Evan Wessel, Wichita State


Player of the Year – Ron Baker, Wichita State
Newcomer of the Year – Anton Grady, Wichita State
Freshman of the Year – Joel Okafor, Bradley


You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com basketball discussion board.

No Shocker: MVCfans.com voters select Wichita State as likely regular season champ


For the third consecutive year, the users at MVCfans.com have chosen the Wichita State Shockers as the likely regular season champion of the Missouri Valley Conference.  The Evansville Purple Aces were predicted by our voters to finish second.

Official MVCfans.com – Predictions to date:

10th Place – Bradley

9th Place – Missouri State

8th Place – Southern Illinois

7th Place – Drake

6th Place – Indiana State

5th Place – Loyola

4th Place – Illinois State

3rd Place – Northern Iowa

2nd Place – Evansville

1st Place – Wichita State

Message board and poll results: MVCfans.com 2015-16 men’s basketball discussion

Listen: Inside The Valley Podcast – Sep. 21, 2015

Derrick Docket, MVC Associate Commissioner for New Media & Technology, visits with MVC television analyst Mark Adams and more.

Listen: Inside The Valley Podcast – Sept. 14, 2015

Listen to Derrick Docket, MVC Associate Commissioner for New Media & Technology, discuss the Valley’s MTE schedule and more.

ESPN and MVC Announce 10 year extension through 2023-24

Great news today from the MVC office:

ESPN and the Missouri Valley Conference have announced a 10-year extension to their current media rights agreement that will provide increased coverage of conference events across ESPN platforms through the 2023-24 academic year.

As part of the deal – which continues a business relationship that began in 1986 – ESPN, the Missouri Valley Conference and its 10 member institutions will work jointly to develop inhouse production capabilities at each campus that will provide significant national coverage for multiple sports on ESPN3 and hands-on educational opportunities for students. As a result, ESPN3 will showcase a minimum of 820 events a year (a minimum of 70 men’s basketball) in the final six years of the agreement.

Full report: MVC-sports.com

You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com Message Board

Missouri State sweeps into NCAA baseball super-regional

Congratulations to Head Coach Keith Guttin and the Missouri State Bears on winning the Springfield regional.

From MissouriStateBears.com:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State extended its storybook run through the 2015 postseason with a 3-2 victory over Iowa to clinch the second NCAA Division I Regional title in school history Sunday evening at Hammons Field. Jordan Knutson limited the Hawkeyes to one hit and only two baserunners through the first seven innings, before Bryan Young withstood a late UI charge to wrap up the Bears’ 19th consecutive victory and the Springfield Regional championship.

With their school-record-breaking 48th victory of the season, Missouri State advances to Super Regional play, where they will take on Arkansas in a best-of-three format next weekend (June 4-7). The NCAA will make its official announcement of Super Regional locations, dates, game times and television information Monday (June 1) evening.


You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com message board:
MVCfans.com baseball discussion

Report: Gregg Marshall agrees to 7yr deal worth $3.3M/yr to remain at Wichita State

Multiple reports are indicating that Gregg Marshall will not make his planned visit to Tuscaloosa (since confirmed by Alabama AD Bill Battle) after being offered the head coaching position at Alabama. Instead, Marshall will sign a new 7 year deal to remain at Wichita State as the Shockers’ head coach. The new contract is expected to be worth $3.3 million/year.

Great news for Wichita State and for Missouri Valley Conference hoops.

You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com Message Board