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Monday, January 23, 2012

Conference Power Rankings: Missouri Valley

The Missouri Valley is a conference I enjoy following and this was before I attended one of the schools.  I've always liked the mid-majors but this is a conference whose style is similar to that of the Big Ten.  The tempo is slower than most, defense is emphasized, and rebounding and fundamentals are a must.  Think of it as the Big Ten's little brother.  Though it's been a few seasons since the MVC has made an impact in March, I believe the conference is turning the corner.  This is exemplified by the top two teams Creighton and Wichita St.  If they have success in the NCAA Tournament it's likely the conference will ride the effect for several years much like the Colonial did after George Mason's great run from 2006.

Father and son have been a lethal combination for the 
 Blue Jays this season. Winning Coach and Player of 
the Year honors
may be just the beginning of this team's 
post-season success. 

  1. Creighton 18-2 (8-1) - The Blue Jays avenged their only conference loss last week with a one point victory over Missouri St.  If they can defeat Wichita St. in the rematch there will be no doubt who the best team in the conference is.  Winning the conference title will also be a big help to Doug McDermott's All American chances.
  2. Wichita St. 17-3 (8-1) - The Shockers' three losses this season have come to Alabama, Temple, and Creighton.  While it's a bit worrisome they haven't defeated any of the ranked teams they've played, they're close to a lock for an NCAA berth.  The rematch with Creighton takes place in Omaha on Feb 11th.
  3. Missouri St. 12-9 (5-4) - To me this team has been a bit disappointing.  Losing to Creighton and Wichita St. is fine but the two home losses to Evansville and Illinois St. sting.  They'll have to win the conference tournament to earn the MVC a third NCAA bid.
  4. Drake 12-8 (5-4) - They're 0-4 against Creighton, Missouri St., and UNI and haven't even played Wichita St. yet.  Basically they're beating up on the bottom of the conference which is nice but getting a couple of wins against the top teams would go a long way in building their NIT resume.
  5. Evansville 10-9 (5-4) - Currently riding a three game winning streak, junior Colt Ryan has emerged as one of the conference's top players highlighted by his 39 points against Bradley.
  6. Northern Iowa 14-7 (4-5) - After playing great in the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Panthers have been mediocre during the regular season. They have a nice one point win over Missouri St. but also lost to Bradley.  They have a good enough non-con profile that they could have been a bubble team but it's too late for that now unless they go undefeated the rest of the way.
  7. Illinois St. 12-8 (4-5) - After starting off 3-1 in conference play, the Redbirds have gone 1-4 with their only win coming against Indiana St.  While ISU is + 14 in turnovers in their last four losses, they're only forcing 11 a game.  That's not enough when you're allowing opponents to make 46% of their two point shots.
  8. Southern Illinois 6-14 (3-6) - SIU opponents shoot free throws on 52% of their field goal attempts. That is an atrocious number that I'm willing to bet ranks in the bottom ten in the nation.  They also shoot 28% from three while allowing opponents to shoot 36%.  In case you're not getting the hint, this team is bad - worse than their record suggests.
  9. Indiana St. 11-7 (2-7) - What happened to this team? Their poor conference record is a result of the odd combination of not defending the three and not getting offensive rebounds.  I expected much more from this squad.
  10. Bradley 6-15 (1-8) - Their one win is perhaps the biggest surprise of the conference season thus far (defeated NIU 78-67).  They could squeak out a couple of more before the season ends but this team is pretty much entrenched in last place.
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