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2013-14 Missouri Valley Post-Mortem

by - Published May 8, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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The Missouri Valley sent just one team to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, but that team was pretty good – and it brought a lot of attention to the conference. It was a good thing since the conference as a whole has had better years than this one.

Wichita State became the first team to go 34-0 before the NCAA Tournament. The Shockers’ pursuit of an undefeated regular season was a big storyline for much of conference play, especially once it became clear that there weren’t many teams in the Valley that could beat them this year. They pulled it off, including convincing wins in the conference tournament, and then reached 35-0, the first team ever to do that. Their season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in a classic against eventual runner-up Kentucky.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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How the conferences shake out as 2013 approaches

by - Published December 28, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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Non-conference play is almost over, and it has been quite a stretch. We’ve learned a good deal about a lot of teams, while some are still a mystery for various reasons – injuries, suspensions, ineligibility and a light schedule are all possible reasons. In addition, a few conferences have already seen a game or two mixed in with the non-conference schedule.

Conference play is right around the corner, and while a non-conference resume doesn’t tell the whole story, it does shed some light on teams and conferences. In conference play, there is more familiarity since teams play each other every year, although the changing landscape is starting to diminish that factor a bit. That’s one reason why we see some teams put forth a very good non-conference showing, including some good wins, then go on to have a mediocre showing in conference play.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how every conference in America shapes up.

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Quick Hitters – March 2, 2012

by - Published March 2, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Quick hitters as we move toward the first weekend of Championship Week:

  • New Hampshire will head into the America East Tournament playing about as well as any team outside of the top three in the conference, and if you’re looking for a dark horse it’s probably the Wildcats. They went 6-2 in February and finished fifth, and they have won at Boston University and at home against Vermont. They didn’t break through against Stony Brook, however, and the Seawolves likely await them if they knock off Albany in the quarterfinals. … Continue Reading

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.

 

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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

Wichita State Rides Defense to NIT Title

by - Published April 1, 2011 in Columns

NEW YORK – In a battle of two programs, frequent participants but never an NIT champion, Wichita State emerged victorious. The Shockers defeated Alabama 66-57 in the title game on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. A tempo-free look follows.

 

Possessions:

Wichita State 65

Alabama 65

 

Offensive efficiency:

Wichita State 102

Alabama 88

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Missouri Valley Notebook – February 23, 2011

by - Published February 23, 2011 in Conference Notes

Valley struggles in BracketBusters weekend
In an attempt to make a statement and avoid being a one-bid league for the NCAA Tournament, the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) did not fare well this weekend in the BracketBusters challenge. The league combined for a 3-7 record in the competition, with all six postseason hopefuls falling. Wichita State, Northern Iowa and Indiana State all had opportunities at home, but failed to capitalize in defeats to VCU, George Mason and Morehead State. This weekend’s struggles magnify the importance of the final week before the conference tournament in St. Louis, March 3-6.

A look at the postseason hopefuls:

… Continue Reading

Missouri Valley Notebook – December 5, 2010

by - Published December 6, 2010 in Conference Notes

Missouri Valley dominated in MWC-MVC Challenge Series

Any bubble teams from the Missouri Valley Conference on Selection Sunday better hope no team from the Mountain West is also on the bubble. The bids will likely go out west based on head-to-head play, as the Mountain West Conference breezed to an 8-1 record in this year’s Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge Series. Six of the eight losses were by double digits for the Valley, and only Northern Iowa’s 64-60 win at TCU was the MVC’s taste of victory. There will be little time to lick the wounds, as games against powers such as Duke, North Carolina and Oklahoma State loom this week.

A look at some of the Challenge Series highlights:

Wichita State barely blinked and saw a three-point lead turn into an 11-point deficit during an 83-69 loss at No. 17 San Diego State on Saturday night. It was a match that pitted who most consider the top teams of each conference, and the score can be a little misleading. Had it not been for a fierce two-minute stretch, the contest probably could have been a last-possession thriller. The Shockers led 47-44 in the second half and only let roughly two minutes pass before hitting their next basket. But San Diego State caught fire and reeled off 14 straight points during that span. The closest WSU could pull within the Aztecs after that was six. Wichita State (5-2) now sits at 0-2 against teams currently in the top 25.

Two other top 25 teams from the Mountain West had little trouble with their competition. No. 23 UNLV cruised past Illinois State, 82-51, and 25th-ranked BYU held off Creighton at the Qwest Center, 77-65. Coupled with another loss to Nebraska on Sunday, Creighton’s record against above-.500 teams fell to 1-4. The Bluejays nearly came back to pull off the upset against BYU after erasing a double-digit deficit midway in the second half, but the Cougars tallied 10 straight after Creighton tied the game and made that lead stick.

Bad news for the rest of the MVC: Northern Iowa’s defense is still improving and forcing opponents to play its style. The Panthers held TCU to 60 points on the road, which actually raised their points allowed per game to around 58. The Missouri Valley’s sole win in this series was also the Horned Frogs’ first home defeat of the season.

Evansville was one basket away from giving the MVC a second win in the series – also on the road. Kenny Harris missed a trey as time expired, and Air Force held on, 57-56. Even in the defeat, the Aces continue to look like they may compete for an upper-half finish in the MVC. The real measuring stick will come when North Carolina visits on Wednesday.

Other outcomes of the series: Utah held off Bradley, 68-60, sending the Braves to their fourth consecutive loss after a 4-0 start. Wyoming had little trouble taking care of Indiana State, 81-51. New Mexico used a second-half spurt to pull away at Southern Illinois, 74-59. And Drake shot almost 60 percent from the field in the first half at Colorado State, but couldn’t keep up in the second half during a 78-67 defeat.

Top performers in the MWC-MVC Challenge

Doug McDermott, Creighton: The freshman forward grabbed another double-double with 20 points and 12 boards. He also hauled in more than half of the Bluejays’ offensive rebounds.

Andrew Warren, Bradley: The loss to Utah spoiled a stellar output from the guard. Warren sank 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, was 10-for-10 at the charity stripe, nailed 3 treys and snatched 4 steals.

Kwadzo Ahelegbe, Northern Iowa: The senior guard scored almost half of the Panthers total points. Without a doubt, the Northern Iowa defensive effort would have been a loss without his contribution.

Ranking the MVC (through Dec. 6)

  1. Wichita State (5-2)
  2. Missouri State (6-2)
  3. Northern Iowa (4-2)
  4. Creighton (4-4)
  5. Evansville (3-3)
  6. Bradley (4-4)
  7. Illinois State (6-2)
  8. Indiana State (3-5)
  9. Southern Illinois (4-4)
  10. Drake (2-4)

Top games to watch this week

Wednesday, Dec. 8

Bradley at No. 1 Duke: A four-game skid is not how the Braves envisioned going into Durham, N.C., but a road win at No. 1 would be quite the way to snap a losing streak. The MVC will try to make it two wins in a row over No. 1, after Northern Iowa’s triumph over Kansas last March. Valley teams haven’t beat the top-ranked team outside of the NCAA Tournament in almost 59 years.

North Carolina at Evansville: Evansville also gets to take on an ACC power Wednesday when the Tar Heels visit. UNC sits just outside the top 25 going into this contest. The matchup will be a perfect opportunity for the Aces to prove their win over Butler wasn’t a fluke.

Saturday, Dec. 11

Missouri State at Oklahoma State: After missing its opportunity at Tennessee last month, Missouri State has one last shot to take down a BCS team before conference play.

Missouri Valley Notebook – November 30, 2010

by - Published November 30, 2010 in Conference Notes

The young season is two weeks old already, and the Missouri Valley Conference is off to a slow start – although against some strong competition. All teams have combined for a 33-21 non-conference record – not quite on pace to match last winter’s 90-39 mark.

What we’ve learned heading into December:

Wichita State is the only team helping its at-large opportunity so far. Yes, there is a long time to go after November, but the selection committee nevertheless will look at some of these good wins and losses – and in some cases, very bad losses. Wichita State (3-1) has steamrolled through the competition early, with the only defeat at the hands of Connecticut, 83-79. UConn, now ranked No. 7, shot its way to the Maui Tournament title, also knocking down the likes of No. 2 Michigan State and No. 9 Kentucky.

Other teams who may depend on at-large bids in March aren’t faring as well as the Shockers. After rushing out to a 4-0 start, Bradley has dropped two straight, including a head-scratching home loss to Eastern Illinois. Missouri State (4-2) sits in a slightly better position, with a 4-point loss to then-No. 23 Tennessee, but another loss to Conference USA foe, Tulsa. What may work in Missouri State’s favor this March is its 60-49 victory over fellow mid-major, Pacific. Northern Iowa’s (2-2) best chance to prove it hasn’t fallen far from last season’s success flopped during the second half of the season-opener at Syracuse, a 68-46 defeat. That was followed with another loss at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Creighton (4-2) has a lot to prove in the Mountain West-Valley Challenge Series this week. A date with BYU on Wednesday will give the Bluejays an opportunity to raise some eyebrows. It will also give Creighton another chance to beat a team with a winning record for the first time this season.

Through the questions though, Creighton has a fearsome trio forming for MVC opponents. Antoine Young, Kenny Lawson Jr. and newcomer Doug McDermott have combined for 44 points and almost 20 rebounds per game. If they’re unable to grab the needed non-conference wins, the Bluejays are certainly solidifying themselves as a scary team by the time the conference slate begins.

The Northern Iowa defense looks like it will have to be stellar for another postseason appearance. They allowed just 55 points per game last season and might need to duplicate that to stay competitive in the MVC during 2010-11 to aid a struggling offense. Not counting the victory over Division III Coe College, the Panther offense is managing a mere 58.7 points. The good news so far: The defense is still solid, allowing just 57.5 points in four games. Syracuse managed the best output so far against them during its 68-46 thumping.

Evansville (3-2) is continuing where it left off last season. A 71-68 overtime win at No. 23 Butler Saturday is the proof. As the only MVC team not to win at least 10 games last season, Evansville still finished the ’09-10 campaign 3-3. That included wins over league leaders Northern Iowa and Wichita State and another near-miss against Wichita State. With its current play, the Aces may be pushing 10 wins by the time they play Wichita State on Dec. 29. Even if they don’t have 10 by then, the Aces have clearly pulled themselves out of the Valley cellar.

Ranking the Missouri Valley (through Nov. 28)

  1. Wichita State (4-1)
  2. Missouri State (4-2)
  3. Bradley (4-2)
  4. Northern Iowa (2-2)
  5. Creighton (4-2)
  6. Evansville (3-2)
  7. Indiana State (3-3)
  8. Illinois State (5-1)
  9. Southern Illinois (3-3)
  10. Drake (2-3)

Games to watch this week

Tuesday, Nov. 30

Indiana State at No. 25 Notre Dame: After a rough start, the Sycamores have an opportunity to run their win streak to three and make a statement against the newly-ranked Irish.

Wednesday, Dec. 1

Iowa State at Northern Iowa: The unbeaten Cyclones (6-0) will try to continue their early season dominance over the MVC, having dropped 91 points on both Creighton and Drake. With the style Northern Iowa plays though, you can almost expect Iowa State and UNI to combine for 91 points Wednesday.

No. 21 BYU at Creighton: The Bluejays have yet to beat an opponent with a winning record. Wednesday is the perfect opportunity, as the No. 21 Cougars visit the Qwest Center unbeaten.

Saturday, Dec. 4

Wichita State at No. 17 San Diego State: This contest will be like a Bracket Buster in February, and could catapult the Shockers into the Top 25 with a win.

Avery Bradley Skills Academy

August 11-13, 2014 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

More information is available by clicking here.

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2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

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