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Missouri Valley Preview

November 14, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

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)

Key Players:
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%)

Top Newcomers:
Bryan Turner, 6-1 junior guard (Transfer from JC)
Tony Young, 6-1 freshman guard

Key Losses:
Roland Roberts, center (13.8 ppg, 7,1 rpg, 2.4 bpg)

Schedule Highlight:
Creighton 3/1 – This game could likely decide the league title.

2. Creighton Blue Jays (23-9, 14-4, Tie for 1st)

Key Players:
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%)

Top Newcomers:
Nathan Funk, 6-3, freshman guard
Brandon Sims, 6-5, sophomore guard (Transfer from JC)

Key Losses:
Terrell Taylor, guard (12.6 ppg, 38.1 3PT%)

Schedule Highlight:
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)

Key Players:
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%)

Top Newcomers:
Josh Robinson, 6-3, freshman guard
Sean Tracy, 6-4, freshman guard

Key Losses:
Andry Sola, forward (13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 41.5 3PT%)

Schedule Highlight:
Iowa 11/26 – An early contest with a Big Ten power.

4. Illinois State Redbirds (17-14, 12-6, 3rd)

Key Players:
Baboucarr Bojang, 6-9, senior forward (13.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
Gregg Alexander, 6-4, sophomore guard (10.0 ppg, 39.2 3PT%)

Top Newcomers:
Trey Guidry, 6-2, sophomore guard (Transfer from NC State)
Chris Burras, 6-5, freshman forward

Key Losses:
Shedrick Ford, forward (10.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Shawn Jeppson, guard (12.8 ppg, 41.0 3PT%)

Schedule Highlight:
at Western Kentucky 12/7 – A match-up with Chris Marcus and Co.

5. Northern Iowa Panthers (14-15, 8-10, 7th)

Key Players:
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%)

Top Newcomers:
Jon Godfread, 6-10, sophomore center (Transfer from Utah)
Pete Schmit, 5-10, sophomore guard (Transfer from Wisconsin)

Key Losses:
Robbie Sieverding, guard (17.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg)
Erik Smith, guard (10.3 ppg, 38.0 3PT%)

Schedule Highlight:
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)

Key Players:
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%)

Top Newcomers:
Aaron Hogg, 6-6
, junior forward (Transfer from JC)
Brett Wise, 6-7, sophomore forward (Transfer from Idaho)

Key Losses:
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%)

Schedule Highlight:
at Tulsa 12/4 – A battle with the best the WAC has to offer.

7. Bradley Braves (9-20, 5-13, 8th)

Key Players:
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)

Top Newcomers:
Jabbar Battle, 6-6, junior forward (Transfer from JC)
Steven Marcetic, 6-9, freshman forward

Key Losses:
Reggie Hall, forward (48.1 FG%)

Schedule Highlight:
Pepperdine 11/22 – The season opener will be a challenging one.

8. Southwest Missouri State Bears (17-15, 11-7, 4th)

Key Players:
Terrance McGee, 6-0, senior guard (14.2 ppg, 3.2 apg, 41.9 3PT%)

Top Newcomers:
Kellen Easley, 6-7, freshman forward
Emigijus Lukosis, 6-6, junior forward (Transfer from JC)

Key Losses:
Scott Brakebill, forward (14.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 48.9 FG%)
Mike Wallace, center (13.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 53.2 FG%)

Schedule Highlight:
at Kent State 11/30 – Showdown with last year’s Elite 8 surprise.

9. Evansville Purple Aces (7-21, 4-14, Tie for 9th)

Key Players:
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)

Top Newcomers:
Nathan Koster, 5-11, freshman guard
Deywane Lee, 6-8, freshman forward

Key Losses:
Mark Allaria, guard (4.0 rpg, 5.4 apg)

Schedule Highlight:
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)

Key Players:
Lamar Grimes, 5-11, sophomore guard (38.8 3PT%)
Matt Broermann, 6-5, senior guard (39.0 3PT%)

Top Newcomers:
Wilfred Antoine, 5-10, junior guard (Transfer from JC)
Catrel Green, 6-5, junior forward (Transfer from JC)

Key Losses:
Kelyn Block, guard (11.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg)
Djibril Kante, center (10.ppg, 8.5 rpg, 51.1 FG%)

Schedule Highlight:
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

Honorable Mention
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

The Shakedown

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.


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