Missouri Valley Conference Power Rankings – Updated February 2

After Indiana State lost at SIU on Wednesday night, I tweeted that Wichita State had just clinched the MVC title. Yes, I realize it was a bit too early to make that prediction, but does anyone believe that Wichita State will lose two games in conference play? I didn’t think so. What’s even more interesting is that despite what most would call that “bad loss” in Carbondale, the Sycamores appear almost certain to be the #2 seed at Arch Madness after winning in Cedar Falls on Saturday. In fact, the Shockers and Sycamores are the only two Valley teams above .500 in league play. And that is exactly what makes trying to separate teams 3-10 almost impossible in this version of the MVC Power Rankings.

Here are my updated MVC Power Rankings:

MVC Power Rankings

1) Wichita State 23-0, 10-0 -Shockers muddled through wins over Loyola and Evansville and seem to have all but locked up regular season MVC title already.
2) Indiana State 17-5, 8-2 - Any at large chance that existed for the Sycs washed away after a 79-60 drubbing in Carbondale. Yet, Indiana State remains a clear #2 in the MVC.
3) Missouri State 15-7, 5-5 - Winners of three out of four (all at home), the Bears move up to their highest rating of the year. Road games at UE and SIU await.
4) Illinois State 12-10, 5-5- Very little separates the Redbirds and Panthers right now. The first meeting between the two will be Wednesday night in Normal.
5) Northern Iowa 11-11, 5-5 – Frankly, I expected more out of UNI so far. Where has the team that took Iowa State to OT and drilled VCU been?
6) Bradley 9-14, 4-6 – Walt Lemon Jr continues to be an enigma, but Braves are 4-1 in Valley play at home and that’s good enough for a bump this week.
7) Southern Illinois 8-15, 4-6 – Salukis are on a two game winning streak including what may have been the most surprising win in conference play when they dominated Indiana State last week.
8 ) Drake 12-10, 3-7 – Bulldogs posted a solid win over Missouri State this past week, but it would be a minor surprise to avoid Thursday night in St. Louis.
9) Loyola 8-14, 3-7- The wins haven’t come yet, but signs of progress are appearing. Milton Doyle (my FOY pick) looks like a future All-MVC player.
10) Evansville 10-13, 3-7 – It’s going to be almost impossible to keep DJ Balentine off the 1st team All-MVC team, but the Aces haven’t given him much support in the post-Colt era.

 

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#ArchMadness seedings if the MVC season ended today

At the halfway point in the conference season, here are your projected Arch Madness seeds if the season ended today.

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January 25 – Updated MVC Standings and Arch Madness seeds if the season ended today

One of the more popular features of our site is the annual Arch Madness projections and probabilities data that is prepared by our good friend, Hacksaw. Even though the conference season is less than half way completed, we are happy to to present the initial version of what the Arch Madness seeds would be if the season ended today. The first of the official probabilities charts will be posted Sunday evening or Monday morning (Feb 16-17) when there are 20 conference games remaining.


 

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Missouri State’s Marcus Marshall to undergo knee surgery, could miss significant time

Adding to the pain of Missouri State’s loss to #6 Wichita State in overtime on Saturday was news on Tuesday that star guard Marcus Marshall sustained a knee injury in the extra period.  The injury to last year’s Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year was an apparent tear to the meniscus in his right knee.  Surgery will be performed on Wednesday.

Missouri State head coach Paul Lusk said more will be known about Marshall’s prognosis following surgery.  It is expected that he could miss a significant portion of the rest of the men’s basketball season.

 

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Missouri Valley Conference Power Rankings – Updated January 12

We are two weeks into the Valley schedule so I feel a little more confident in these rankings than I did before conference play. The week was highlighted by Wichita State’s tremendous comeback from a 19 point second half deficit to win in Springfield on Saturday. While the win showed how good of a team the Shockers can be, I think the Bears early domination may have given hope to other MVC squads looking to knock off the prohibitive favorite.

Here are my updated MVC Power Rankings:

MVC Power Rankings

1) Wichita State 17-0, 4-0 – And the beat goes on. Shockers took a number of punches at MSU, but kept battling back. A big game vs Indiana State looms on Saturday at Koch Arena.
2) Indiana State 13-3, 4-0 - Sycs have solidified themselves as most likely challenger to Wichita State, but close wins this week over Drake and Bradley show the margin for error is slim. Can Jake Odum will this team to a win in Wichita?
3) Northern Iowa 9-7, 3-1 - UNI had their own rally on Saturday night, escaping Drake with hot shooting late in the game. Panthers’ only MVC loss was at WSU.  A 2-0 week and an Indiana State loss at WSU, could elevate the Panthers to #2.
4) Missouri State 12-4, 2-2- A week after losing by 32 at Loyola, the Bears had #6 WSU down 18 at half. A year of ups and downs in Springfield seems like a safe bet.  Still a relatively young team (and coach) trying to find their way.
5) Illinois State 9-7, 2-2 – I feel like the Redbirds have separate themselves from the bottom of the Valley, but I don’t see them winning many games against the Top 4. 5th place seems just right for now.
6) Drake 10-6, 1-3 – Bulldogs are on a 3 game MVC losing streak. If they’d have closed out the win last night against UNI, they might sit 3rd in this week’s power rankings.
7) Bradley 6-11, 1-3 – How can the Braves get promoted after losing two games this week? Good question. I have no answer other than to point at the three teams below and you tell me who’s better.
8 ) Loyola 6-10, 1-3 – Ramblers humiliated a good MSU team, then promptly lost to SIU at home. Like most Valley folk, I’m still trying to get a good read on this club (and that is proving difficult).
9) Evansville 8-9, 1-3- Mary Simmons’ club had lost 9 of 11 before defeating SIU on the road last night. For now, that’s enough to avoid the cellar.
10) Southern Illinois 5-12, 1-3 – The only question I have about this Salukis team is if they will play in the 8 vs 9 game or the 7 vs 10 game at Arch Madness.

 

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Missouri Valley Conference Power Rankings – updated December 30

This is the final MVC Power Rankings before the conference season starts.  A note: I contemplated ranking only 7 teams on principle and leaving Loyola, SIU, and Bradley in the “others receiving votes” category after somewhat brutal non-conference performances.  Fortunately, Illinois State moved up to #6 or I’d be predicting a possible Thursday night pair of games between the four MVC schools located in Illinois at Arch Madness.

MVC Power Rankings

1) Wichita State 13-0 – Could the ’13-’14 Shockers be better than last year’s Final 4 team? The best start in school history forces an examination of when (if?) this team will lose in the regular season.
2) Indiana State 9-3 - Sycs got a much needed win on Saturday earning a season split with Belmont with senior PG Jake Odum scoring 25 and 23 in those two contests. An RPI in the 90′s makes an at-large unlikely, however.
3)Northern Iowa 6-6 - The record isn’t impressive, but if Ben Jacobson can get the type of performance that his team showed in a 77-68 win over VCU, the Panthers will be a handful in MVC play.
4) Missouri State 10-2- Flipside of UNI as the Bears have a great record (bolstered by a SOS of 210), but MSU needed a buzzer beater to defeat SEMO at home yesterday.
5) Drake 9-3 – Even though Bulldogs have only 2 wins over teams with winning records (UN-Omaha and W. Michigan), Drake has exceeded expectations so far with a new coach.
6) Illinois State 7-5 – Redbirds have shown flashes of their potential, winning 6 of 7 including games vs #25 Dayton and DePaul. Daishon Knight has scored in double figures 10 consecutive games.
7) Evansville 7-6 – Aces have lost 6 of 8 (including a head scratching home loss to Jackson State), but close losses to Xavier and Butler tell me they won’t be an easy win and could be an MVC spoiler again.
8 ) Loyola 5-7 – Head coach Porter Moser begins his third trip around the Valley (played at Creighton and previously coached Illinois State) with a tough game in Terre Haute on New Year’s Day.
9) Southern Illinois 4-9- Barry Hinson made national headlines with his now famous rant following an SIU loss to Murray State. One has to think there will be more gems coming from the pulpit in Carbondale with a long MVC season ahead.
10) Bradley 5-8 – Braves didn’t win a game in December and the wheels appear to have come off the bus in Peoria. BU ranks 299th in college basketball at 66.2 ppg.

 

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Wichita State moves up to #10 in AP poll

For the first time since December 2006, the Wichita State Shockers are ranked in the AP Top 10. The 12-0 Shockers are off to their best start in school history and Gregg Marshall’s squad remains one of only nine unbeaten teams in college basketball.

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Arizona (63) 12-0 1623 1
2 Syracuse (2) 11-0 1528 2
3 Ohio State 12-0 1462 3
4 Wisconsin 12-0 1390 4
5 Michigan St 10-1 1336 5
6 Louisville 11-1 1274 6
7 Oklahoma St 11-1 1221 7
8 Villanova 11-0 1116 8
9 Duke 9-2 1108 8
10 Wichita St 12-0 981 11


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Video: Barry Hinson’s rant following SIU’s 73-65 loss at Murray State

Valley fans have known for years that Barry Hinson is the prince of basketball quotes, but the national media took notice after this rant for the ages following the Saluki’s loss at Murray State on Tuesday night.

On rebounding, “I’ve been telling my wife this for years, that size doesn’t matter.”

Another gem: “My wife could score more than two buckets on 11 shots because I know my wife will shot fake at least one time.”

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Illinois State upsets #25 Dayton 81-75

Illinois State upset #25 Dayton 81-75 before an energetic crowd at Redbird Arena on Saturday night earning Head Coach Dan Muller the biggest win of his young tenure.  Illinois State opened a 39-32 halftime lead, but watched the Flyers respond with a barrage of three pointers to briefly take a 50-48 lead in the second half.  The Redbirds then shifted momentum with an attacking offense and opportunistic defense to open a 75-59 lead with 4 minutes to play.  The Flyers put a scare into the home crowd cutting the lead to 75-69 with just one minute to play before Illinois State secured the victory at the free throw line.

Daishon Knight led Illinois State with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

 
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Missouri Valley Conference Power Rankings – updated December 1st

This is my first update since before the season started and now that we have a month of the games in the books, I think we have an adequate sample size to at least begin an appropriate assessment of the Valley teams.

Here is a look at my updated MVC Power Rankings.

MVC Power Rankings

1) Wichita State - Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet have been terrific. Can’t imagine a scenario where the Shockers fall from top spot.
2) Indiana State - The high and low of a season within 10 days: Sycs beat #21 Notre Dame, then lose to winless Tulsa.
3) Missouri State - Nice win over Texas A&M, but Bears have injury issues that threaten to derail the season.
4) Northern Iowa- A 3-3 record for the Panthers might seem like trouble, but losses have come against opponents with 16-5 combined record.
5) Drake - Bulldogs make the biggest jump as they start 5-1 (only loss at St. Mary’s) behind Richard Carter’s 21.0 ppg.
6) Bradley – Braves have 5-2 record, but were beaten soundly in both games they played against BCS teams (Illinois, Arizona St).
7) Evansville – DJ Balentine was the MVC breakout player early on, but Aces have lost last two games by a combined 53 points.
8 ) Illinois State – Redbirds get the nod here over the final two based on their win in Evanston over Northwestern.
9) Loyola - Four Ramblers’ losses are by a combined 18 points.  Christian Thomas leads the team with 14.0 ppg and 6.9 rpg.
10) Southern Illinois - Salukis played Mizzou and SLU close, but yesterday’s loss to Chicago State has to be worrisome.

 
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