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Missouri Valley Conference Notebook – November 18, 2011

by - Published November 18, 2011 in Conference Notes

Ranking the MVC through Week 1 (Games through Nov. 17)

 

  1. Creighton Bluejays (3-0)

On the surface, the Bluejays are cruising, nearly hitting the century mark in scoring the first two games and winning easily on the road in game three. Sophomore Doug McDermott is also just warming up, increasing his point totals from 13 to 21 to 27. The Bluejays will experience some close, heartbreaking losses this season though if they continue to shoot poorly at the free-throw line – a total of 44-for-66 through three games. Creighton will face a stronger test when traveling to play Iowa on Sunday afternoon.

 

… Continue Reading

2011-12 Missouri Valley Conference Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Columns

Although the Missouri Valley Conference fielded just one team in the NCAA Tournament last season, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the 2011-12 campaign.

Missouri State became the first regular-season MVC champion in more than a decade to miss the NCAA Tourney after its unexpected loss to Indiana State in the conference tournament. As has been the case several times during the past 10 seasons, the Bears found themselves on the wrong side of the bubble, even with a 15-3 conference mark. Preseason favorite and regular-season runner-up Wichita State also found itself settling for an NIT bid after Selection Sunday, as the Valley received no at-large bids in what was considered a down year for the league. … Continue Reading

Bradley Braves 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Bradley Braves (12-20, 4-14)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Dyricus Simms-Edwards
Sr. F/C Will Egolf
So. F Jordan Prosser
Sr. F Taylor Brown
So. G Walt Lemon Jr.

Important departures:

Andrew Warren: 18.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Dodie Dunson: 10.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Sam Maniscalco: 9.7 ppg, 3 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 56.9 percent
Minutes: 56.0 percent
Scoring: 48.1 percent
Rebounding: 63.6 percent

Additions:

Bradley will bring in 6’6” forward Shayok Shayok from Pendleton School at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., where he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Donivine Stewart, a four-time Illinois all-state selection, also joins the Braves. Stewart racked up almost 2,300 points in four years at Limestone Community High School.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 22 vs. Wofford
Nov. 25 vs. No. 14 Wisconsin
Dec. 17 at Drexel
Dec. 22 at No. 18 Michigan

Outlook:

“Disappointment” was the word to describe last season for Bradley, although injuries did have a great deal to do with the last-place finish. Considered a contender for the conference title before the season began, BU’s 4-14 struggle ended up costing head coach Jim Les his job. The obstacle for the Braves and new head coach Geno Ford in 2011-12 will be filling in the void from the departures of Andrew Warren, Dodie Dunson and Sam Maniscalco. Almost 40 points a game departed with those seniors. A bright spot in the lineup will be the return of senior forward Taylor Brown. Brown was forced to sit out last season to undergo a series of cardiac tests, but he has been cleared to play this winter. He was the captain of the MVC Most Improved Team in 2009-10 after increasing his points and rebounds from 3.4/3.0 per game the previous season to 13.5/6.9. Bradley does have the talent left for an upper-half finish if they can find a way to fill in for the large losses of last season’s seniors.

Prediction: Sixth

Next: Creighton Bluejays

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Drake Bulldogs 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Drake Bulldogs (13-18, 7-11)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Rayvonte Rice
Jr. F Ben Simons
Sr. G Kurt Alexander
Jr. F Jordan Clarke
Sr. F Kraidon Woods

* Jr. C Seth Vandeest should start after returning from shoulder surgery, and he is expected to be out at least one month.

Important departures:

Ryan Wedel: 10.9 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 73.5 percent
Minutes: 80.7 percent
Scoring: 80.6 percent
Rebounding: 88.3 percent

Additions:

Judd Welfringer joins the roster after being named first team all-state for Waukee High School, Iowa.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 18 vs. Mississippi
Nov. 30 at Boise State

Outlook:

Drake returns the most experience, points and rebounds of any team in the MVC. However, how quickly Seth Vandeest returns from his injury will determine how far the Bulldogs climb the ladder in 2011-12. The expectation is that the junior center will miss the first month. This squad will definitely be dangerous as February rolls around. And even better news: only two seniors occupy the roster this season.

Prediction: Ninth

Next: Evansville Aces

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Evansville Aces 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Evansville Aces (16-16, 9-9)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G/F Colt Ryan
Sr. G/F Kenneth
Sr. G/F Denver Holmes
Jr. G Ned Cox
Jr. G/F Lewis Jones

Important departures:

Clint Hopf: 6 ppg
Pieter Van Tongeren: 6 ppg
Kavon Lacey: 5.1 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 60.0 percent
Minutes: 70.3 percent
Scoring: 74.6 percent
Rebounding: 71.4 percent

Additions:

Freshman forward Ryan Sawvell joins the Aces from Mundelein High School, Ill., where he averaged 20 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 12 vs. Butler
Dec. 6 at No. 1 North Carolina

Outlook:

Evansville will definitely enter the conference season tested, as the Aces play last year’s national runner-up and the top-ranked team in the country. Although UE lost two starters from last season, Jordan Jahr, Lewis Jones and Troy Taylor saw a lot of playing time last season to return enough depth and experience to make the Aces a postseason lock. To be considered a serious threat for the conference crown, Evansville will need to improve on last season’s 4-7 record against the MVC’s upper division. UE looks good enough at first glance to get consideration for the NIT.

Prediction: Fourth

Next: Illinois State Redbirds

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Illinois State Redbirds 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Illinois State Redbirds (12-19, 4-14)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. F Jackie Carmichael
Jr. G John Wilkins
Jr. G Anthony Cousin
So. F Jon Ekey
Jr. G Justin Clark

Important departures:

Austin Hill: 10.5 ppg
Tony Lewis: 7.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 63.2 percent
Minutes: 61.3 percent
Scoring: 60.2 percent
Rebounding: 59.4 percent

Additions:

The 2011 Indiana Mr. Basketball runner-up joins the Redbirds in guard Nic Moore. Moore averaged 27.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Warsaw High School and also dished out almost five assists per contest. Illinois State also welcomes two-time Illinois all-stater, Johnny Hill, a guard from Glenbard East High School.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 22 vs. Rutgers
Dec. 7 at Morehead State

Outlook:

After a rebuilding project last season, Illinois State could be this year’s surprise team in the Valley. Though the Redbirds lost a good deal of experience with Austin Hill, Tony Lewis and Alex Rubin gone, ISU returns three of its top five scorers from last winter, who accounted for 24 points a game. The Redbirds should take the next step this season and could be good enough to snag a couple surprise wins to finish near the upper half of the MVC in 2011-12.

Prediction: Seventh

Next: Indiana State Sycamores

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Indiana State Sycamores 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Indiana State Sycamores (20-14, 12-6)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Dwayne Lathan
Sr. G/F Carl Richard
So. G Jake Odum
Sr. C Myles Walker
So. G Steve McWhorter

Important departures:

Jake Kelly: 8.8 ppg
Aaron Carter: 8.6 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 78.2 percent
Minutes: 77.3 percent
Scoring: 72.6 percent
Rebounding: 77.9 percent

Additions:

The Sycamores’ two top incoming freshmen include guard Brandon Burnett from Cinega High School, Ariz., and Justin Grant, a center from Terre Haute North Vigo High School, Ind. Burnett was a McDonald’s All-American nominee as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 24 vs. Texas Tech
Dec. 3 at Boise State
Dec. 17 at No. 7 Vanderbilt

Outlook:

The Sycamores should be tabbed to win the MVC, as only one team in the league returns more points and rebounds per game this season (Drake). Out of all the teams that finished first through sixth last season, only Evansville comes close to returning as much experience as Indiana State. Dwayne Lathan, Carl Richard, Jake Odum and Myles Walker form a dangerous quartet that seems to be overlooked by many, something that could work in the Sycamores’ favor. The starting five, along with a deep bench, make Indiana State the conference favorite and a threat to capture a win or two in the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction: First

Next: Missouri State Bears

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Missouri State Bears 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Missouri State Bears (26-9, 15-3)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. F Kyle Weems
Sr. C Caleb Patterson
So. F Nathan Scheer
So. G Corey Copeland
So. G Keith Pickens

Important departures:

Jermaine Mallet: 11.7 ppg, 6 rpg
Will Creekmore:11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Adam Leonard: 10.1 ppg
Nafis Ricks: 9.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 20.0 percent
Minutes: 37.2 percent
Scoring: 39.2 percent
Rebounding: 39.5 percent

Additions:

Missouri State brings in several transfers to help replace the four seniors from last season. Junior guard Anthony Downing, guard/forward Jamar Gulley and forward Drew Wilson enter to try to help the Bears defend their conference crown. Freshman guard and serious 3-point threat Dorrian Williams will also join the lineup this winter, as will freshman forward Christian Kirk, who was regarded as one of the state of Missouri’s top high school seniors.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Dec. 3 at New Mexico
Dec. 7 vs. Oklahoma State
Dec. 22 vs. West Virginia
Dec. 23 vs. St. Mary’s

Outlook:

The defending MVC champions could be in rebuilding mode this winter with the departure of four starters and its head coach. Head coach Cuonzo Martin bolted for the opportunity to take Tennessee’s head coaching position, leaving new MSU head coach Paul Lusk to replace four players who started all 35 of the Bears’ games in 2010-11, as well as two other players who transferred. Missouri State has one of the conference’s most dangerous players on its roster, but the departures of so many might be too much to overcome in 2011-12.

Prediction: Eighth

Next: Northern Iowa Panthers

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Northern Iowa Panthers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Northern Iowa Panthers (20-14, 10-8)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Anthony James
Jr. F Jake Koch
Sr. G Johnny Moran
Jr. G Marc Sonnen
Jr. C Austin Pehl

Important departures:

Kwadzo Ahelegbe: 14.1 ppg
Lucas O’ Rear: 6.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 64.7 percent
Minutes: 68.7 percent
Scoring: 64.7 percent
Rebounding: 66.1 percent

Additions:

Northern Iowa is bringing in a freshman class that looks like it will have a bright future. Matt Bohannon, a 6’4” guard, led his high school to a perfect record and the Iowa class 4-A title as a senior. Forward Seth Tuttle was a three-time all-state selection at West Fork High School, Iowa, and basically rewrote the season and all-time record book at his school for points, rebounds, blocks and assists. From Hopkins High School in Minnesota, 6’6” forward Marvin Singleton was named the State Tournament MVP two years in a row, as Hopkins won three consecutive state titles. He averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 12 at Old Dominion
Nov. 14 at St. Mary’s

Outlook:

On paper, the Panthers return three starters and a lot of depth. However, one of those players not returning is Lucas O’ Rear, and it was clear how much of an impact he had on the team. Before O’ Rear went down with a season-ending injury in the beginning of February last season, UNI was in the hunt for the conference title. After the injury, the Panthers dropped six of their final seven regular season contests. The Panthers also must account for the loss of Kwadzo Ahelegbe, the team’s top scorer and fifth-best in the MVC. The talent and experience are there to compete for a conference crown. How Northern Iowa responds to the loss of those two players will make the difference between an MVC title or a second middle-of-the-pack finish in as many seasons.

Prediction: Fifth

Next: Southern Illinois Salukis

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Southern Illinois Salukis 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Southern Illinois Salukis (13-19, 5-13)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. F Mamadou Seck
Jr. G Kendal Brown-Surles
Sr. G Justin Bocot
So. G Diamond Taylor
So. F Davante Drinkard

Important departures:

Carlton Fay: 12.7 ppg, 4 rpg
Gene Teague: 8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg
John Freeman: 5.6 ppg
Mykel Cleveland: 3.2 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 43.8 percent
Minutes: 45.2 percent
Scoring: 42.0 percent
Rebounding: 46.6 percent

Additions:

Along with several junior transfers, SIU will welcome a strong incoming freshman class. Forward Antonio Bryer and center Harry Whitt join the Salukis from Fishburne Military Academy. Bryer was averaging a double-double before going down with a season-ending injury last season. Treg Setty also comes after being named an all-state selection and to the Kentucky All-Star team as a senior at Mason County High School.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Dec. 22 vs. Kansas State

Outlook:

Although the future looks bright for Southern Illinois, this season appears as it will be another struggle. The Salukis lost a lot of experience and depth from a squad that was already sitting near the MVC’s cellar in 2010-11. Only two seniors are on this year’s roster, including Mamadou Seck, a preseason All-MVC candidate.

Prediction: 10th

Next: Wichita State Shockers

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