The Missouri Valley Conference enters the New Year ranked No. 7 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), according to Collegiate Basketball News. The Valley has been ranked No. 6 in each of the past two season-ending rankings, but before that, the league had never eclipsed No. 8 (reaching that plateau in 1999 and 2005).
State Farm Missouri Valley Player of the Week
Levi Dyer, Illinois State, 6-11, Sr., C, Eaton (Colo.) High
Dyer scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 5-of-7 effort from three-point range, in Illinois State’s 80-67 win at Creighton Saturday night. It was the Redbirds’ first win in a Valley opener since the 1998-99 campaign. He also pulled down three rebounds and did not commit a single turnover in 25 minutes.
Dyer poured in 16 points in the first half (4-of-6 three-point range), including two stretches where he scored seven-consecutive and nine-straight points, respectively. Dyer has three games with five or more three-point field goals this season.
Newcomer of the Week
Isiah Martin, Indiana State, 6-8, Fr., F, Chicago (Ill.) Morgan Park High
Martin was strong off the bench in the first half for the Sycamores, as he scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots to keep the score close for ISU. The Chicago, Ill., native finished the game with 10 points, his fifth double-digit scoring effort of the season, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, while altering several other on the defensive side of the court.
The win marked the first time since the 2004-05 seasons that ISU is 1-0 in the Valley, and it was ISU’s first Valley road win since Jan. 6, 2007, when it won at Illinois State. In addition, the win broke a four-game losing streak to the Purple Aces as ISU hadn’t won at Evansville since the 2003-04 season.
In addition to the league’s player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
- Josh Bone, SIU -- Was 14-of-20 from the floor, and averaged 18.0 points as SIU lost to No. 16 Butler on a last-second shot and then beat Missouri State, 79-71. He was 8-of-12 from 3-point range and added one steal and two total rebounds.
- Eric Coleman, UNI -- Had his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds, helping lead UNI to a 59-46 win at Bradley. He scored 10 of his points in the final six minutes of the game as the Panthers held off Bradley.
- Sam Maniscalco, BU -- Making his first career start in place of injured Bradley point guard Daniel Ruffin, Maniscalco scored a career-best 15 points Saturday against Northern Iowa.
- Gabe Moore, INS -- Scored 17 of his game-high 22 points against the Purple Aces in the second half. He also added five rebounds and six assists to round out his performance.
- Deven Mitchell, MSU -- Had 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals, was 6-of-9 from the floor and 11-of-11 from line at SIU on Sunday.
- P'Allen Stinnett, CU -- Had 22 points and a career-high seven rebounds off the bench in Creighton's MVC-opening game against Illinois State on Saturday. The true freshman made 9-of-13 shots from the floor, including 4-of-7 three-pointers.
- Josh Young, DU -- Had a game-high 17 points, a career-high five steals, season-high five assists while leading Drake to its ninth-straight win with a 62-54 victory at Wichita State on Saturday.
Drake is the highest-rated MVC school in the RPI, at No. 26. Creighton is next-best (50). Since CBN began publishing the RPI data (1991-92), Drake’s highest-ever season-ending ranking is 113 (2006-07). Through Dec. 30, nine of the league’s 10 teams are at 150 or better in the RPI, and The Valley’s non-conference schedule strength ranks No. 4 among 31 conferences.
The league ended the 2007-08 regular season with a 10-11 mark against BCS-football leagues, matching the third-best record vs. the BCS since 1996-97 (17-14 in 2006-07; 12-12 in 2005-06; and 10-11 in both 2001-02 and this year). The other three listed seasons did include post-season play.
Two Valley games are on MVC TV this week, as UNI visits Indiana State (7 pm CT on Jan. 5), and Drake is at Evansville (2 pm CT on Jan. 6). Dan McLaughlin and Charlie Spoonhour are the announce team for both games.