Missouri Valley Conference Preview
by Adam Reich
Everybody who correctly had Southern Illinois in the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament please stand up. Now tell me, why am I the only one standing? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the Missouri Valley Conference, like Rodney Dangerfield, “Gets no respect.”
Last season was a banner year for the Missouri Valley Conference. Conference champion Creighton upset Florida in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament, while Southern Illinois made their surprising run to the Sweet 16. And the reason these teams were so successful last season: Talent, with a capital “T”.
A Closer Look
1. Southern Illinois Salukis (28-8, 14-4, Tie for 1st)
Jermaine Dearman, 6-8 senior forward (12.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 47.8 FG%)
Kent Williams, 6-2 junior guard (15.8 ppg, 3.0 apg, 37.4 3PT%)
Bryan Turner, 6-1 junior guard (Transfer from JC)
Tony Young, 6-1 freshman guard
Roland Roberts, center (13.8 ppg, 7,1 rpg, 2.4 bpg)
Creighton 3/1 – This game could likely decide the league title.
2. Creighton Blue Jays (23-9, 14-4, Tie for 1st)
Kyle Korver, 6-7, senior forward (15.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 47.8 FG%)
Brody Deren, 6-8, junior forward (5.1 ppg, 1.6 bpg, 52.9 FG%)
Nathan Funk, 6-3, freshman guard
Brandon Sims, 6-5, sophomore guard (Transfer from JC)
Terrell Taylor, guard (12.6 ppg, 38.1 3PT%)
at Xavier 12/31 – New Year’s Eve showdown with the A-10’s best.
3. Drake Bulldogs (14-15, 9-9, Tie for 5th)
Luke McDonald, 6-5, junior forward (17.9 ppg, 42.5 3PT%)
Greg Danielson, 6-9, senior forward (10.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 51.4 FG%)
Josh Robinson, 6-3, freshman guard
Sean Tracy, 6-4, freshman guard
Andry Sola, forward (13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 41.5 3PT%)
Iowa 11/26 – An early contest with a Big Ten power.
4. Illinois State Redbirds (17-14, 12-6, 3rd)
Baboucarr Bojang, 6-9, senior forward (13.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
Gregg Alexander, 6-4, sophomore guard (10.0 ppg, 39.2 3PT%)
Trey Guidry, 6-2, sophomore guard (Transfer from NC State)
Chris Burras, 6-5, freshman forward
Shedrick Ford, forward (10.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Shawn Jeppson, guard (12.8 ppg, 41.0 3PT%)
at Western Kentucky 12/7 – A match-up with Chris Marcus and Co.
5. Northern Iowa Panthers (14-15, 8-10, 7th)
Chris Foster, 5-10, sophomore guard (12.6 ppg, 36.9 3PT%)
David Gruber, 6-6, junior, forward (12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 61.0 FG%)
Jon Godfread, 6-10, sophomore center (Transfer from Utah)
Pete Schmit, 5-10, sophomore guard (Transfer from Wisconsin)
Robbie Sieverding, guard (17.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg)
Erik Smith, guard (10.3 ppg, 38.0 3PT%)
at Utah 12/14 – A trip to Salt Lake City will test this young team.
6. Wichita State Shockers (15-15, 9-9, Tie for 5th)
Randy Burns, 5-11, sophomore guard (12.1 ppg, 42.2 3PT%)
Jamar Howard, 6-5, sophomore forward (10.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 52.8 FG%)
Aaron Hogg, 6-6
, junior forward (Transfer from JC)
Brett Wise, 6-7, sophomore forward (Transfer from Idaho)
Terrell Benton, guard (10.5 ppg, 41.2 3PT%)
C.C. McFall, guard (10.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 40.7 3PT%)
Troy Mack, forward (10.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 50.9 FG%)
at Tulsa 12/4 – A battle with the best the WAC has to offer.
7. Bradley Braves (9-20, 5-13, 8th)
Danny Granger, 6-8, sophomore forward (11.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
Phillip Gilbert, 6-3, junior guard (14.1 ppg)
James Gillingham, 6-4, junior guard (11.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
Jabbar Battle, 6-6, junior forward (Transfer from JC)
Steven Marcetic, 6-9, freshman forward
Reggie Hall, forward (48.1 FG%)
Pepperdine 11/22 – The season opener will be a challenging one.
8. Southwest Missouri State Bears (17-15, 11-7, 4th)
Terrance McGee, 6-0, senior guard (14.2 ppg, 3.2 apg, 41.9 3PT%)
Kellen Easley, 6-7, freshman forward
Emigijus Lukosis, 6-6, junior forward (Transfer from JC)
Scott Brakebill, forward (14.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 48.9 FG%)
Mike Wallace, center (13.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 53.2 FG%)
at Kent State 11/30 – Showdown with last year’s Elite 8 surprise.
9. Evansville Purple Aces (7-21, 4-14, Tie for 9th)
Tobias Brinkley, 6-5, senior forward (10.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Ian Hanavan, 6-6, senior guard (11.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 40.0 3PT%)
Dan Lytle, 6-11, junior center (11.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Nathan Koster, 5-11, freshman guard
Deywane Lee, 6-8, freshman forward
Mark Allaria, guard (4.0 rpg, 5.4 apg)
at Mississippi 12/23 – A chance to see what the SEC is all about.
10. Indiana State Sycamores (6-22, 4-14, Tie for 9th)
Lamar Grimes, 5-11, sophomore guard (38.8 3PT%)
Matt Broermann, 6-5, senior guard (39.0 3PT%)
Wilfred Antoine, 5-10, junior guard (Transfer from JC)
Catrel Green, 6-5, junior forward (Transfer from JC)
Kelyn Block, guard (11.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg)
Djibril Kante, center (10.ppg, 8.5 rpg, 51.1 FG%)
Wyoming 12/30-Date with the best of the Mountain West.
All Conference Team
G Terrance McGee, Southwest Missouri State
G Luke McDonald, Drake
F Kyle Korver, Creighton
F Jermaine Dearman, Southern Illinois
C Baboucarr Bojang, Illinois State
G Kent Williams, Southern Illinois
G Phillip Gilbert, Bradley
F David Gruber, Northern Iowa
Player of the Year
Kyle Korver, Creighton
Newcomer of the Year
Trey Guidrey, Illinois State
Southern Illinois and Creighton are clearly the class of the Missouri Valley Conference. Expect these two teams to battle for the conference crown. The March 1st showdown will likely decide who gets the #1 seed for the conference tournament. It is pretty clear that both these teams are again NCAA Tournament bound. However, Drake, Illinois State, Northern Iowa and Wichita State are all capable of making a run in the conference tournament and stealing away the automatic bid. If this is the case, don’t be surprised if the Missouri Valley Conference gets three teams in the NCAA Tournament.