Drake, 16-1 and winners of 15-straight games, is ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll this week (Jan. 21). It's the first time Drake has been ranked since the final poll of the 1974-75 season (Drake was No. 16 that year after winning the now defunct National Commissioner's Tournament that season.)
Another Top-25 Team
Drake becomes the sixth different Valley team in the past three years to earn a spot in the Top 25. Bradley (2005-06), Creighton (2006-07), UNI (2005-06), Southern Illinois (2007-08) and Wichita State (2006-07) have also represented The Valley in recent top-25 polls.
State Farm Missouri Valley Players of the Week
Adam Emmenecker, Drake, 6-1, Sr., Gd., Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hill
Emmenecker averaged 15.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals while leading Drake to two victories last week. He also shot 55.5 percent from floor, while more than tripling his season scoring average of 4.9 entering last week. Emmenecker scored a then career-high 12 points, including the game-winning basket to beat the buzzer in a 69-68 victory at Bradley on Wednesday. He also collected six rebounds, five assists and one steal. He came back with a career-high 19 points, including 14 in the second half, to help Drake overcome a 12-point second half deficit en route to handing co-leader Illinois State its first MVC loss, 79-73, on Saturday. He also had six rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Newcomer of the Week
Sam Maniscalco, Bradley, 6-0, Fr., Gd., Chicago (Ill.) St. Patrick High
Maniscalco averaged 13.0 points, 6.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in the two games last week, each decided by one point. In Wednesday's 69-68 loss to Drake, Maniscalco finished with 13 points, career-highs of seven assists and six rebounds, and a pair of steals. He hit a deep 3-pointer with 10.7 seconds remaining to give BU a 68-67 lead. In Saturday's 77-76 win against Evansville, Maniscalco again scored 13 points while adding six assists and three steals. He made two free throws with 10.4 seconds left to put the Braves on top, then helped pressure the Purple Aces into a turnover on their last possession to secure the win. In 68 minutes in the two games, he had just two turnovers, one in each game.
In addition to the league’s player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
- Nick Bahe, CU -- Averaged 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in wins over UNI and Indiana State. He tied career-highs with 15 points and six rebounds at UNI.
- Eric Coleman, UNI -- Averaged 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for the Panthers last week. Over the two games, Coleman was 12-of-14 (.857) shooting, while dishing out four assists, with two blocks and one steal.
- Jeremy Crouch, BU -- Averaged 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals in Bradley's two games last week, a pair of one-point decisions versus Drake and Evansville. Now just 22 points shy of becoming the 42nd member of Bradley's 1,000-Point Club, Crouch has taken over as Bradley's scoring leader for the season by pushing his norm up to 14.3 points per game.
- Osiris Eldridge, ILS -- Averaged 21.0 ppg, while shooting 55.6 (15-of-27), and 52.9 percent from three-point range (9-of-17), as Illinois State split a pair of Valley games.
- Shy Ely, UE -- Had 21 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists in the 80-67 loss to Southern Illinois, and 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists on Saturday at BU.
- Bryan Mullins, SIU -- In two wins, he made 9-of-12 (.750) shots from the field and 4-of-5 (.800) shots from 3-point range. He also added nine assists, only one turnover and four steals. Mullins averaged 12.5 ppg and 4.5 apg for the week.
- Marico Stinson, INS -- Stinson averaged 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in Indiana State’s two games last week while shooting 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from three-point range. He had a game-high 23 points, including six three pointers, at Creighton on Saturday.
- Booker Woodfox, CU -- Had a career-high 20 points on Saturday in a 86-69 win over Indiana State. He made 6-of-7 shots from three-point range and hit 7-of-8 shots overall in 22 minutes off the bench. Woodfox six three-pointers tied a Qwest Center Omaha record for a CU player.
MVC in Post-Season Play
Drake is looking to get back to post-season play for the first time since 1986. The Bulldogs played in the NIT that year and last reached the NCAA Tournament in 1971. Every other current member of the league has been in post-season play at least once in the past 10 seasons.
NCAA Tourney Hit List
Since 1994, a Missouri Valley Conference member has beaten the following teams from BCS-football conferences in the NCAA Tournament: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisville, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Tennessee (three times), Texas Tech, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin.
In 2006-07, Southern Illinois reached the NCAA Tournament for a sixth-straight year, matching Cincinnati (1958-63) for the longest consecutive streaks in MVC history. Cincinnati was an MVC member for 13 years.
In 2006-07, Creighton reached post-season play for a league-record 10th-straight season, which includes 7 NCAA berths.
ESPN GameDay at SIU
Southern Illinois and Creighton will be the featured game Saturday (Jan. 26) on ESPN's College GameDay Driven by State Farm, ESPN's weekly college basketball road show. It will originate from Carbondale, with game time that set for 8 pm CT. The game will air on ESPN2.
Half Way Home
By next Sunday, every team in the league will have reached the midway point of the conference schedule. Since the 1991-92 season, 25 of 26 MVC teams in the lead (or co-lead) at the break have reached post-season play. UNI, last year, is the lone exception. Before that, the last Valley mid-season leader to not reach the post-season was Tulsa, in 1992. Since then, mid-year leaders Bradley (1994 & 1999), Illinois State (1996), Wichita State (2005) and Creighton (2006) played in the NIT, while the other 20 mid-way leaders reached the NCAAs.
On the Tube This Week
Three Valley games are part of the conference television package in the next eight days, beginning with two games Saturday, Jan. 26.
Date Game (Network)
J26 Bradley at Wichita State (MVC TV), 7 pm CT (Mitch Holthus, Charlie Spoonhour)
J26 Creighton at S. Illinois (ESPN2), 8 pm CT (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas, Erin Andrews)
J29 Missouri St. at Wichita St. (ESPNU), 8 pm CT (Bill Doleman, Mac McCausland)
Reversal of Fortune
Drake, picked ninth in the Valley's preseason poll, has stormed to a school-record 16-1 mark, the best start in school history. The only other Drake team to go as good as 11-1 was Maury John's 1968-69 squad. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have yet to lose at home, winners of 13-straight in the Drake Knapp Center. Drake's current 15-game winning streak trails only unbeaten Kansas and Memphis for the nation's longest.
Drake Homecourt Winning Streaks
23 -- Jan. 23, 1969 through Dec. 22, 1970
18 -- Feb. 16, 1962 through Dec. 1, 1964
13 -- Feb. 14, 2007 (current)
Drake Single-Season Homecourt Win Streaks
13 -- Dec. 1, 1969 through Feb. 21, 1970
10 -- Nov. 14, 2007 (current)
9 -- Dec. 11, 1982 through Feb. 12, 1983
9 -- Dec. 12, 1981 through Feb. 4, 1982
An MVC First
Drake (then 6-0 in conference play) and Illinois State (also 6-0 in the MVC) played this past Saturday, Jan. 19. It is believed to be the first time the league has had two 6-0 teams play one another. Drake, after trailing by 12 in the second half, rallied to beat Illinois State, 79-73.
Drake Still Perfect, 7-0
Drake's 7-0 start is its best in the league since the 1969-70 campaign when the Bulldogs started 9-0. Before falling to Drake this past Saturday Illinois State had reached 6-0 for the first time since starting 6-0 in 1997-98.
Drake Streak Reaches 15
Drake has won a school-record 15-straight games, bettering the previous school winning streak set by the 1968-69 team, which won 12-straight until losing in the semifinals of the NCAA Final Four to eventual national champion UCLA, 85-82. Only one MVC team has had a better streak since 1986-87. The league's all-time best streak is 33 games (Indiana State won its first 33 games of 1978-79).
MVC Win Streaks, past 22 years (since 1986-87)
16 -- Southern Illinois (2003-04)
15 -- Drake (current)
13 -- Southern Illinois (2006-07)
12 -- Missouri State (1991-92); Creighton (2003-04)
11 -- CU (2000-01); BU (1987-88); SIU (2005-06)
10 -- Missouri St. (twice); Creighton (2002-03); Tulsa (1986-87)
9 -- seven times
Fans Love the MVC
Last season, The Valley established all-time attendance marks as 1,251,050 fans witnessed regular-season and tournament games for a league-record average of 8,020. The State Farm MVC Tournament drew a league-record 85,074 fans over four days, eclipsing the previous record by more than 20,000. At the tournament, 22,612 fans were at both the semifinals and finals and those totals (both sellouts) set a Scottrade Center record for a basketball game. More people (22,612) attended the MVC title game than any other league championship tournament game.
Fueled by Creighton (15,705) and Wichita State (10,478) the league is averaging 7,478 fans per game in home games. According to numbers supplied by the NCAA, the 2007-08 total attendance per-game average is third-best all-time in league history, without the benefit of the conference tournament:
Top all-time averages:
8,020 (2006-07) -- includes MVC Tournament
7,716 (2005-06) -- includes MVC Tournament
7,478 (2007-08) -- does not include MVC Tournament
7,309 (1982-83) -- includes MVC Tournament
Top all-time gate:
1,251,050 (2006-07) -- includes MVC Tournament
1,203,771 (2005-06) -- includes MVC Tournament
1,137,677 (2004-05) -- includes MVC Tournament
717,844 (96 games: 7,478 average)
Streaky, in the MVC
Three league teams have put together win streaks of five games in league play this season. The league record for consecutive MVC regular-season wins is 34, set by Kansas in the early '20s. SIU’s 22-game streak, which ended at UNI in the regular-season finale in 2004, was the longest in the MVC since Indiana State won 20 in a row from 1978-1980.
MVC-Only 5+ Win Streaks (2007-08 season only)
7 -- Drake, current, next at Creighton, Jan. 22
6 -- Illinois State, streak ended Jan. 19 at Drake
5 -- Creighton, current, next vs. Drake, Jan. 22
RPI - MVC at No. 8
According to the Collegiate Basketball News, the Missouri Valley Conference is ranked No. 8 among conferences, through games of Jan. 20. The Valley has been ranked No. 6 in each of the last two season-ending rankings, but before that, the league had never eclipsed No. 8 (reaching that plateau in 1999 and 2005). The MVC's schedule strength is No. 7.
BU .. I-74 Rivalry, Rd. 1
Interstate 74 rivals Bradley and Illinois State will meet for the first time this season Wednesday night when the Redbirds invade Carver Arena for a 7:05 p.m. tip. Bradley owns a 59-45 lead in the all-time series versus the Redbirds, which dates back to a 39-13 ISU win during the 1904-05 season. The Braves have had the upper hand of late, winning five straight, eight of the last 10 and 13 of the last 20 meetings.
BU .. Tight Ones
Bradley's last three games have been decided by a total of just four points and the Braves have gone 2-1 in those games. Including a pair of overtime wins, Bradley is 8-3 (.727) the last two years in games when the teams have been separated by three points or less at the end of 40 minutes.
CU .. Million Fan March
Jared Stickrod, a 10-year old from Omaha, was honored as the 1,000,000th Creighton basketball fan to Qwest Center Omaha on Saturday. Stickrod received two season tickets for the 2008-09 season, a framed photo signed by Dana Altman and Dane Watts, a Creighton basketball jersey, a Creighton "Jays" flag, and an autographed basketball signed by the 2007-08 Creighton basketball team. The Bluejays have hosted 1,003,391 fans in 74 all-time regular-season and NIT home games. The works out to an average of 13,559 fans per home contest in the five-year span of the facility.
CU .. 10 at Home Again
Saturday's win against Indiana State was Creighton's 10th home win this season. Creighton has won 10 or more home games in 12 straight seasons. That ties a school-record, as Creighton previously won 10 or more home games in 12 straight seasons from the 1969-70 season to the 1980-81 campaign.
DU .. Nearing Milestones
Drake senior forward Klayton Korver needs seven treys to become the second player in Drake history to make 200 career three-point baskets. He needs 39 points to become 20th player in Drake history to join the 1,000 career point club. Korver, who will be appearing in his 106th career game Tuesday at Creighton, has 961 points and 193 treys.
DU .. Sold Out, Again
Second-semester classes don't start until Tuesday, but despite the absence of vocal student crowds, Drake enjoyed its third consecutive home sellout crowd when 7,152 fans saw the Bulldogs beat co-league leader Illinois State, 79-73, last Saturday. It marked the second time in the 15-year history of the Drake Knapp Center (capacity 7,002) that the Bulldogs have enjoyed three sellout crowds in a season, equaling a feat that occurred in 1992-93. Drake also has drawn SRO crowds against Indiana State (7,168) Jan 9 and Missouri State (7,047) Jan. 12. Drake is averaging 5,481 fans for 10 home games -- the third best single-season home attendance mark since the Drake Knapp Center opened in 1992.
UE .. Big Man on Campus
Freshman center Pieter van Tongeren keeps showing potential at Evansville. He scored a career-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in Tuesday's loss to Southern Illinois. Among MVC newcomers, van Tongeren has ranked among the top five most of the season in both scoring and rebounding. The 6-11 native of The Netherlands is averaging 7.9 points and 5.4 rebounds
UE .. Road Warriors
Evansville's fourth road game in its last five MVC games takes place Wednesday at Indiana State. Even though Evansville still hasn't seen Missouri State or Wichita State this season, Wednesday's game will be the second one against Indiana State. The Sycamores beat the Aces 70-56 back on Dec. 29 in the MVC opener for both.
ILS .. One from 15
Illinois State enters this week’s slate of MVC games with a 14-4 record, including a 6-1 mark in Valley play. The Redbirds have already equaled their conference win total from last season, and are just one victory away from tying the entire win total from the 2006-07 season (15).
ILS .. Unfriendly Carver
Illinois State will face rival Bradley Wednesday at Carver Arena in the first of game of the home-and-away regular season series. The Redbirds have not fared well in Peoria as of late, dropping five-straight decisions, and 8-of-10 overall, against the Braves at Carver Arena. Bradley has also won five-consecutive games in the series.
INS .. 100 and Counting
When teams face off against the Sycamores, one thing will be constant: Gabe Moore will be in the starting lineup. On Saturday against Creighton, Moore started his 100th consecutive game at Indiana State. The Little Rock, Ark., native started the final 23 games of his freshman career and has not missed a start since, for a total of 77 straight games. In his career, Moore has scored 1,017 points, grabbed 278 rebounds, dished out 379 assists and collected 175 steals.
INS .. Breakout Game
Marico Stinson has been a consistent scorer for the Sycamores this season, but he broke out for a couple of season highs in Saturday’s game at Creighton. He connected on a season-high six three pointers and finished the game with a season-high 23 points to lead the way for ISU. They were not career highs for Stinson, who scored 37 points and hit nine three-pointers against Drake on Dec. 30, 2006 to set his career marks in those categories.
MSU .. Charity Tosses
Two weeks ago, the Bears were 10-of-10 vs. Wichita State and 7-of-7 vs. Drake, and last week 6-of-9 vs. Indiana State and 9-of-11 vs. UNI for 32-of-37 (.865) over last four games. But they are averaging fewer than 10 attempts a game in that time. Overall, Missouri State is 110-of-137 (.803) from the line in the eight games they’ve played since they went 8-of-23 in a loss to Alabama in Las Vegas. Their team figure has gone up after seven of those eight games and is now at a season-best .710.
MSU .. Movin' Up
Deven Mitchell has stayed hot as well from the line, hiking his season figure to .902 (101-of-112) and his career figure into the Bears’ all-time top 10 at .802. Mitchell had four more steals Sunday at UNI to bring his career total to 146, still in fourth on Bears’ career list. Kevin Ault holds record at 243.
UNI .. Season Bests
UNI shot a season-best 57.5 percent from the floor against Missouri State Jan. 20, connecting on 23-of-40 field goal attempts. The Panthers also recorded 16 assists versus the Bears, their second-highest assist total of the season. The Panthers held MSU to just .311 field goal shooting, marking the 12th time in 18 games that UNI has held its opponent to 38 percent shooting or less.
UNI .. Board Certified
UNI posted a 41-28 rebounding advantage against Missouri State. That was the 12th time in 18 games this season that the Panthers have outrebounded their opponent, and the eighth time this year they have posted a double-figure rebounding advantage.
SIU .. Green Steps Up
In the last four games, Tyrone Green has made 15-of-19 (.789) shots compared to 13-of-45 (.289) in the first 14 games of the season. He has averaged 10.5 ppg during the span and posted career highs against Bradley (12) and Indiana State (14).
SIU .. Toughest Schedule
According to CollegeRPI.com rankings, Southern Illinois has played the 6th toughest schedule in the nation to date. The only teams to play a tougher schedule this year are Arizona, Miami (Ohio), Tennessee, Temple and Syracuse. The MVC team with the second-toughest schedule to date is Missouri State (47) where SIU plays on Wednesday.
WSU .. Dishin' the Rock
Since the injury to Matt Braeuer, sophomore Gal Mekel has taken his place in the starting lineup and is starting to get a better feel for the offense at the point. Mekel leads the team with 61 assists and is averaging 4.0 apg since taking over for Braeuer.
WSU .. Windex Men
After out-rebounding 13 of 14 opponents to open the season, WSU was out-rebounded in two-straight games for the first time by one board at Missouri State and against Creighton. WSU out-rebounded its two opponents last week, and still holds a plus 6.3 margin over opponents.