Coming off a heartbreaking loss to West Virginia, Missouri State faces St. Mary’s in the final round of the Las Vegas Classic tonight at 10:30 Central on ESPN3. The Bears are a 5.5 point underdog to the Gaels, who were defeated yesterday by Baylor.
You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com message board: Missouri St vs St. Mary’s discussion thread
Five Bluejays scored in double figures , led by Doug McDermott’s 27 points, to help Creighton defeat Northwestern 87-79 on Thursday night. With the win, 21st ranked Creighton ends non-conference play with a 10-1 mark. The game was played before 17,676 fans – the second largest in arena history.
Four MVC teams with games tonight against BCS foes that could have an impact on post season play. I will try to post links for online viewing later today.
- West Virginia vs Missouri St (+5) (ESPN3)
- Northwestern at Creighton (-7)
- Bradley (+17) vs Michigan
- Southern Illinois (+15) vs Kansas State
The Week That Was:
- The Valley Beats Another Ranked Team: Another week, another set of nice wins in the Valley. The latest is Indiana State knocking off then #25 Vanderbilt on the Commodores’ home court. Sophomore R.J. Mahurin came off the bench to get 14 points including 4-7 from three to help lead them to the 61-55 victory. After going 11-22 against BCS schools last season, this year the MVC is 10-10 so far. The last time they had a .500 record against those leagues was during the 2007-08 season.
- Poll Gathering: Creighton continues to stay in the polls, this week at #21 in the Coaches Poll and #23 in the AP poll. But other MVC teams are starting to get noticed. Wichita State,Northern Iowa and Indiana State are all getting votes in the AP poll. The chances of having two teams in the Valley ranked might be going down as conference play starts in about a week. It may be a battle all season on which MVC team will be ranked in the national Top 25.
- Sending Out An SOS: While most teams in the MVC are trying to set the bar high to get the conference at a different level and four teams are in the RPI top 52, there are a couple of other teams that are on the other end of the spectrum. Illinois State is sitting at #292 in the strength of schedule category, while Southern Illinois‘ strength of schedule is at #343 out of 345 teams in D-I. Evansville is at #305. While the top of the league is pretty solid, the bottom half of the league still has some work to do. This could keep the Valley from moving as high as they could in the RPI as a conference later in the season.
To read the rest of the article, click here: Checking In On..The Missouri Valley Conference
In what many expected to be the game of the night, Ohio University led from start to finish in an impressive 76-59 win over Northern Iowa on Tuesday night. The game featured two Top 20 RPI teams (UNI at 10-1, Ohio 9-1). The Bobcats shot 11-21 from three point range and never trailed in the contest.
Jake Koch led the Panthers with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Anthony James added 11 points.
You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com message board: Ohio vs Northern Iowa discussion thread
Here are the updated RPIs for Missouri Valley Conference teams following games on Monday, December 19. The most significant moves – Indiana State’s win at nationally ranked Vanderbilt bumped the Sycamores up from 31 to 18. Creighton and Wichita State both experienced minor drops through no fault of their own, whereas Evansville’s loss to TN-Tech dropped the Aces from 236 to 281. And despite wins over Northern Illinois and SIU-Edwardsville, SIU dropped from 333 to 338.
Records include only games against D1 opponents. Last week’s RPI listed after their record.
2. Northern Iowa (9-1) (4)
18. Indiana State (7-2) (31)
33. Creighton (9-1) (17)
49. Wichita St (8-2) (39)
88. Drake (5-4) (79)
108. Missouri St (6-3) (81)
145. Bradley (5-5) (165)
213. Illinois St (7-3) (257)
281. Evansville (3-5) (236)
338. Southern Illinois (3-4) (333)
To discuss this and more: MVCfans.com message board.
#21 Creighton defeated Tulsa 83-64 on Monday night behind a career night from Doug McDermott. The Bluejay sophomore scored 19 first half points on 9-12 shooting and finished with a career high 35 points. Creighton led by eight at halftime and scored the first nine points of the second half and never led by less than 11 points the rest of the way.
Antoine Young added 14 points and Grant Gibbs had 9 points and 10 assists for Creighton.
You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com message board: Creighton vs Tulsa discussion thread
I hope everyone will take a moment to read Joe Book’s seasonal masterpiece. I will share the first few stanzas here and hope you will click the link to enjoy the full piece.
‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all thro’ the land
A mid-major conference was taking a stand
The wins against majors were stacked up with care
In hopes that March 11 soon would be there
Nantz, Kellogg and Lundquist; a collection of fools
Who just paid attention to BCS schools
But out in the land, there arose quite a clatter
They sprang from their chairs to see what was the matter
When what to their wondering eyes should appear
But the Missouri Valley having a fine year
With Creighton out front and Wichita State
The rest of the Valley was playing so great
Click here for the full piece: Joe Book’s “Twas the Week Before Christmas – Missouri Valley Style.
1. Creighton (8-1)- The Jays annihilated Houston Baptist in their only game of the week. Gregory Echenique busted the Huskies for 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. (1)
2. Wichita State (8-2)- The Shockers weren’t tested last week, as their only contest was a 50-point win over Chicago State. Ben Smith scored 22 points in 18 minutes to pace WSU. (2)
3. Northern Iowa (9-1)- No games for the Panthers last week, and only home games against Loras and Ohio stand in the way of an extremely impressive non-conference season. (3)
4. Indiana State (8-2)- The Trees scored another huge win for the Valley with their victory at #25 Vanderbilt. Jake Odum averaged 9.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.8 assists over his last four games. (5)
To read the rest of the article, click here: Joe Book’s MVC Power Rankings.
One cannot underestimate the possible significance of the Indiana State Sycamores win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. At face value, it provided Coach Greg Lansing’s club the signature win that every non-BCS (Note: I didn’t say mid-major) conference team desires come selection Sunday. In a broader sense, the win reaffirmed what many believed about the Missouri Valley Conference – what was once college basketball’s premiere non-BCS league is once again a force nationally.
In 2006, the Valley sent four teams to the NCAA tournament (much to the dismay of Billy Packer) and the nation saw Bradley and Wichita State advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Could this year be a repeat of that penultimate season? The early indications are that the Valley has risen and will again send multiple teams to the Dance this March.
Today’s matchup between the Sycamores and Commodores was one of imposing a will on your opponent and in the end, Indiana State wanted it more. I had to wonder if the Sycs had the caged animal mentality, knowing that they needed this win to achieve their goal of another NCAA berth and simply refused to lose. The Valley certainly wanted it for them as well and I make the comment via twitter that it’s certainly possible for the Valley to again send four team to the NCAA tournament this March.
Jake Odum an outstanding game (10 pts, 8 reb, 7 asst) and RJ Mahurin hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points off the bench to the Sycamores.
You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com message board: Indiana State defeats Vanderbilt