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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | Men's Basketball
MVC Men's Basketball Weekly Notebook (Jan. 10)
Missouri State (5-0) hosts Southern Illinois (3-2) on Wednesday, and the Bears are looking to start 6-0 in league play for the first time since starting Mid-Continent Conference play at 7-0 during 1988-89. MSU had never been better than 4-0 since becoming an MVC member, and the Bears matched and surpassed that last week. The Bears have won seven games in a row, and also sport a 17-game homecourt win streak (8th-best in the nation).
A comprehensive league notebook is available by clicking on the PDF icon below. The league release includes expanded conference notes, in addition to school notes/results/schedule.
On the Air
There is no mid-week MVC-produced men's basketball telecast this week, but there are a pair of games this weekend. Saturday's Evansville-Illinois State game will air at 6 p.m. CT, and the Creighton-Indiana State game will follow on Sunday, at 12 p.m. CT. Scott Warmann and McCausland will call the UE-ISU game, while Warmann and Mark Adams are the broadcast duo for the CU-ISU contest. Both games will air live on DirecTV Channel 671, Dish Network Channel 418 and AT&T U-verse Channel 748.
State Farm Missouri Valley Player of the Week
Kyle Weems, Missouri State, Jr., 6-6, Fwd., Topeka (Kan.) Highland Park HS
Weems led Missouri State in scoring (14.0), rebounding (7.7) and steals (2.0) in three wins this week as the Bears improved to 5-0 in the MVC for the first time ever. He had 17 points and 10 rebounds against Evansville, and was among a trio of Bears to score a game-high 11 points in Sunday's nationally-televised win at Wichita State, as he also had 6 rebounds, 2 three-pointers and 3 assists in that game to pace the win. He was 15-for-31 (.484) from the field on the week, including five three-pointers and was 7-for-10 (.700) at the free throw line with 42 points, 23 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists and a pair of blocks.
Newcomer of the Week
Jake Odum, Indiana State, Fr., 6-4, Gd., Terre Haute (IN) South Vigo HS
Odum averaged 10.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game as the Sycamores were a perfect 3-0 during the week full of MVC games by downing Illinois State, UNI and Drake. Odum hit 45.5 percent of his shots from the field (10-of-22) and was 7-of-10 (70 percent) at the free throw line. Odum hit two tough running shots in the final moments in Des Moines that helped preserve the Sycamores two-point lead in an eventual ISU road win.
In a week that featured only two games decided by six points or less on Tuesday and Friday (Jan. 4, Jan. 7), all five games on Sunday (Jan. 9) were decided by six points or less. Indiana State and Missouri State were the only two in the league to go unscathed last week, winning all three of their games.
When 4-0 Worlds Collide
When Missouri State and Wichita State (both at 4-0 in league play) met on Sunday, Jan. 9, in marked the first time in three seasons that two teams with undefeated records of 4-0 or better had played one another. On Jan. 19, 2008, Drake (then 6-0 in conference play) and Illinois State (also 6-0 in the MVC) played. 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.
The only previous time Missouri State started 4-0 in the MVC was during the 1999-2000 season. Before Sunday's win at Wichita State, MSU has never been 5-0 to start MVC play. Wichita State has an 8-0 start as its best ever in MVC play (during the 1964-65 championship campaign). The last time the Shockers started a season with a 4-0 league record was in 1982-83 when the Shox were 5-0 to begin the MVC race en route to a 25-3 overall record and 17-1 slate.
After winning just six of 29 road games in non-conference play, the league has combined to go 10-15 on the road in conference play (through Sunday, Jan. 9). The two biggest reasons for the turnaround: Creighton and Missouri State. The Bluejays and Bears are both a perfect 3-0 in conference road games, but went 0-2 and 0-3, respectively, on the road during non-league play.
More Road Stuff
Missouri State is one of just two Valley road teams to win games at the McLeod Center (Cedar Falls), Qwest Center (Omaha) and Charles Koch Arena (Wichita) in the same season, joining the 2007-08 Drake Bulldogs. McLeod Center is the newest of the three venues (opened in November 2006).
The Last To Be Perfect?
The last league team to go perfect on the road in conference play was Bradley's 16-0 team in 1985-86. The Braves went 8-0 at home and 8-0 on the road in conference play that year. A trio of teams have won eight road league games since then, including Illinois State (1997-98), Southern Illinois (2003-04) and UNI (2008-09). ISU was victimized at Missouri State; Southern Illinois lost the season finale in 2003-04 at UNI preventing the Salukis from an 18-0 campaign; and two seasons ago, UNI tripped for the only time on the road at Wichita State.
The "Big Show"
With 17 straight losses to Creighton in Omaha, it's been a while since Wichita State has beaten the Bluejays away from home. In fact, the last time the Shockers won in Omaha (Feb. 22, 1992), they got eight points and seven rebounds in a career-high 18 minutes off the bench from a center named Paul Wight. Wight is well-known among wrestling diehards as "The Big Show," where he is a former WWE and WCW heavyweight champion.
A trio of Valley players scored 30+ points on Sunday, Jan. 9. UNI's Jake Koch had a career-high 34, while Bradley's Andrew Warren reached a career high with 30 -- both in the same game. SIU's Carlton Fay scored 33 in a win against Illinois State. The last time three different players went for 30 or more points in the same night -- 2/15/97 (Danny Moore, MSU - 36; Rodney Buford, CU - 30; and Jason Daisy, UNI - 34). Moore and Buford did it against each other. Daisy lit up SIU. Since that game (MSU-CU on 2/15/97), two players have gone for 30 in the same conference game three other times, most recently on 3/1/08 when Daniel Ruffin of Bradley had 30 and Cavel Witter of Creighton had 42 in a game in Omaha.
Bradley's Andrew Warren leads the league in scoring at 19.6 points per game and is challenging to become the first league player to average better than 20 points a game since Illinois State's Tarise Bryson led the league with a 22.8 figure during the 2000-01 season.
Another 3-0 Start
The league has had a 3-0 team for 21-straight years. The last time a league season did not have a 3-0 team was in 1989-90, when Illinois State and Tulsa both started 2-0 then lost their third game. UNI started last year with seven-straight MVC wins, and the last to start the MVC season at 6-0 was Drake (13-0 in 2007-08) and Illinois State (6-0 in 2007-08). Missouri State enters this week at 5-0 in the MVC. Meanwhile Wichita State started the season with a 4-0 MVC mark.
Two-time defending champion UNI is the first league school to repeat as regular season conference champions since Southern Illinois earned four crowns in a row from 2001-02 through 2004-05.
The league has had five different regular-season champs in the past five seasons (Wichita State-2006, Southern Illinois-2007, Drake-2008, UNI/Creighton-2009, UNI-2010).
Quick Starts Important
Since 1993-94, only one team (UNI, a 2008-09 co-champion) has won at least a share of the regular-season title without winning its regular-season opener. In fact, 15 of the last 16 regular-season champs (or co-champs) have opened 2-0 or better in conference play, with UNI in 2008-09 serving as the lone exception. Three league teams this year started 2-0: Creighton, Missouri State and Wichita State
An RPI Update ...
The Valley is 12 of 32 conferences in Monday's (Jan. 10) Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report. As a league, the MVC is No. 11 in schedule strength. Three league teams are in the Top 100: Missouri State (38), Wichita State (50), and UNI (84), while Creighton is just outside of the Top 100 (101). Indiana State made the biggest jump of any MVC team last week, going from 172 to 131 in the RPI (+41).
50 or Better in the RPI
Since 1992, 39 MVC teams have entered Selection Sunday with an RPI better than 50. All of them reached the post-season (27 NCAA bids and 12 NIT bids). Notably, though, of the 12 top-50 teams not to receive an NCAA bid, 10 of those happened in the past six seasons, including WSU (43) last year.
Home Win Streaks
UNI’s 21-game home-court winning streak ended on Dec. 29 with a last-second loss to Missouri State. Meanwhile, the Bears have the longest current homecourt winning streak in the MVC (17 games). That streak ranks No. 8 in the nation. And Indiana State's current 11-game homecourt win streak is tied for 25th best. A league team (current MVC teams only) has won 20+ home games on 14 occasions. The streaks below only include current members (not the other 21 departed schools). Some current members have longer homecourt win streaks, but before they were in the MVC – those streaks are also not included.
Longest Homecourt Streaks, Current Members
1. 46, Bradley (1958-61)
2. 33, Southern Illinois (2003-06)
3. 31, Southern Illinois (2001-03)
4. 30, Bradley (1979-81)
5. 28, Creighton (2002-04)
6. 26, Bradley (1993-95); Bradley (1949-51)
8. 25, Bradley (1985-87)
9. 23, Drake (1969-71)
10. 22, WSU (1982-83); INS (78-79); INS (99-01)
13. 21, UNI (2009-11)
14. 20, Creighton (2000-01)
Only one of the league's top seven scorers is a senior -- Bradley's Andrew Warren leads the league with 19.6 points per game. Meanwhile, two freshmen are among the Top 10 (Drake's Rayvonte Rice and Creighton's Doug McDermott). Two freshmen have not finished the season among the league's Top 10 since 1995-96 (Rodney Buford of Creighton & Marcus Wilson of Evansville). Notably, the league's top four rebounders are non-seniors, led by SIU's Mamadou Seck.
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