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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#12 Wichita State claims CBE championship with 75-62 win over BYU

 

Ron Baker was 11-11 from the free throw line and scored 23 points, leading #12 Wichita State to a come from behind victory over BYU in the CBE Hall of Fame championship game in Kansas City. In a 68-62 game with under a minute to play, Baker calmly made two free throws after BYU’s Nate Austin was assessed a flagrant-2 and ejected from the game for a foul to the Baker’s head.

Baker was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Fred VanVleet and Cleanthony Early each added 12 points for the 12th ranked Shockers. With the win, Wichita State moves to 7-0.

 

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Indiana State hammers #21 Notre Dame 83-70

Prior to Sunday’s meeting with Indiana State, Notre Dame had been 48-0 in November games at home under head coach Mike Brey. That fact didn’t bother the Sycamores, however, as the visitors largely controlled their matchup and posted an 83-70 victory in South Bend.

Indiana State led the Fighting Irish 40-30 at halftime, but Brey’s squad opened the second half quickly and gained a 45-44 lead with 15 minutes to play. The Sycamores responded with an 18-3 run to quiet the home crowd and Indiana State cruised from that point forward.

The difference in the game was Indiana State’s stellar shooting. ISU made 11 of 20 three pointers and 16-17 from the free throw line; Notre Dame was just 7-26 from behind the arc. Justin Gant led the Sycamores with 17 points and Khristian Smith scored 15 off the bench.

With the win, Indiana State moves to 2-1 on the season.

 
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My 2013-14 preseason All-MVC teams and individual award selections

Last week I presented my predicted finish for the upcoming MVC men’s basketball season (see below). With MVC Media Day scheduled for tomorrow in Chicago, we are happy to present our preseason All-MVC teams and individual award selections.

 

First Team All Missouri Valley Conference
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State – Preseason MVC Player of the Year
Jake Odum, Indiana State
Marcus Marshall, Missouri State
Walt Lemon Jr, Bradley
Seth Tuttle, UNI

 

Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference
Ron Baker, Wichita State
Jamar Gulley, Missouri State
Desmar Jackson, SIU
Christian Thomas, Loyola
Manny Arop, Indiana State

 

Honorable Mention All-Missouri Valley Conference
Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
DJ Balentine, Evansville
Zach Lofton, Illinois State
Anthony Beane, SIU
Deon Mitchell, UNI
Tyshonn Pickett, Bradley

 

Player of the Year – Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Newcomer of the Year – Wes Washpun, UNI
Freshman of the Year – Milton Doyle, Loyola

 

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

2013-14 Official MVCfans.com Poll Results

This site has existed for 4 years and each season we ask fans of the Missouri Valley Conference to predict the finish of the men’s basketball season.  We have conducted weekly polls over the past two months and have finally concluded our voting with the selection of the Wichita State Shockers as the projected league champion.

I present the results of the fan voting below along with my own personal predictions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those interested, here are previous MVCfans.com results (predicted / actual):

2010-11: Wichita State / Missouri State 
2011-12: Creighton / Wichita State
2012-13: Creighton / Creighton

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

 

Preseason 2013-14 MVC Power Rankings

Now that we have started the 4th 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.  Indiana State and UNI will undoubtedly be 2nd and 3rd (or 3rd and 2nd).  After that, spots 4-10 could go any which way.

MVC Power Rankings:

1) Wichita St – Shockers will be a unanimous selection and Cleanthony Early preseason POY.
2) Indiana St - Can the senior version of Jake Odum take the Sycs back to the NCAA tournament the way he did as a frosh?
3) UNI - I think success in Cedar Falls rides on the development of Deon Mitchell.
4) Bradley – I favor the experience of Lemon, Pickett, and Prosser in placing the Braves here, but worry about depth.
5) Missouri St – This year’s Bears will make a big jump and could position themselves for a Top 2 finish next season.
6) Loyola - I acknowledge this might be a reach, but I will go out on a limb and say the Ramblers avoid Thursday night.
7) SIU - Despite a weakened inside presence, Barry Hinson knows the Valley well and he’ll get the most out of Jackson and Beane.
8 ) Illinois St - I could be convinced to drop the Redbirds lower. It wouldn’t be that hard except for the questions at 9 and 10.
9) Evansville - Losing Colt Ryan was bad enough, but Ned Cox and Troy Taylor too?  Could be a long year for the Aces.
10) Drake – A new coach and a roster overhaul typically doesn’t result in a winning season right out of the gate.

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

 

Wichita State looking for opponent to open season in Dallas; Shockers will play Western Kentucky on ESPN2 in Tip-Off Marathon

The Wichita State Shockers, fresh off of a Final 4 run, have landed a desirable national television game on ESPN2 against Western Kentucky during the channel’s Tip Off Marathon on November 11.  Here is the analysis from ESPN.com:

Western Kentucky at Wichita State, 1 a.m. ET, ESPN2: Just two years ago, Western Kentucky, a proud, historically successful program, appeared to be in deep decline. In January 2012, a 5-10 team lost to six players (true, and long, story), then fired its coach. Since then, Ray Harper has managed to get WKU into the tournament twice, which is as much a testament to his coaching as it is to the wacky power of automatic bids and mid-major conference tournaments. But really, this fixture is about the Wichita State Shockers and their fans, who, in the wake of a surprise Final Four visit, are no doubt eager to showcase the strength of their program and their fan base to a national audience. Charles Koch Arena is always bumping. Imagine what they’ll have cooking for a midnight local tip. Oh my.

Additionally, news reports have indicated that the Shockers have agreed to participate in the season opening set of games to be played on November 8 at American Airlines Center in Dallas if a suitable opponent can be found.  Here is a link to the report from: CBSsports.com:

 
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Court: Bradley coach Geno Ford to pay $1.2M to Kent State for breach of contract

Interesting development in the world of coaching contracts with possible future ramifications for coaches at all levels.  Apparently, head mens basketball coach Geno Ford received permission from Kent State to interview for the  Bradley opening in 2011, but never got their permission to actually leave his position at Kent State.

While Kent State agreed to let Ford talk to Bradley, “Consent to interview was not a consent to breach the employment contract,” Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow said in a 14-page ruling Friday. “KSU did not acquiesce to Coach Ford’s abandonment of their mutual contract.”

Because Kent State did not agree to allow him to leave his contract with their institution and no compensation or buyout was agreed to before he took the Bradley job, the university was awarded a $1.2M judgment against Ford for breach of contract.  Additionally, Kent State has sued Bradley for contract interference and that case will go to trial on October 7.

Full story from The Peoria Journal Star: http://www.pjstar.com/free/x853689962/Kent-St-wins-1-2M-judgment-against-Bradley-head-coach-Geno-Ford

The Missouri Valley Conference officially welcomes Loyola University

We welcome the Loyola Univeristy Ramblers to the Missouri Valley Conference!

Video: 2012-13 MVC Year in review

Great work by @ddocket – a full year of MVC sports in 8 minutes.

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