Shockers at No. 2 This Week
Wichita State is ranked No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 4 in the AP Poll this week (Feb. 3). The Shockers finished 2012-13 ranked No. 4 in the coaches poll but were not ranked in the final regular-season AP poll. Only five MVC teams have cracked the AP Top 10 in the past 20 years, and before this year (Dec. 23) Wichita State was the last to do it -- in 2006. The last MVC team to climb as high as No. 4 was Wichita State -- on Dec. 28, 1981 (No. 2).
Tough Tests on the Road
Wichita State is No. 1 nationally in road winning percentage over the past three-plus seasons (since 2010-11). This week, the Shockers travel to Indiana State (8-0 at home this year) and UNI (8-1 at home this year). Just five NCAA teams this year are perfect on the road, including WSU.
Players of the Week
D.J. Balentine, Evansville, So., 6-2, Gd., Kokomo (Ind.) High
Balentine opened the week with the third-best game in all of Division I this season as he scored 43 points against UNI. For the week, he averaged 34.5 points while hitting 21 out of 40 shots, 7 out of 14 three’s and 20 out of 22 from the stripe.
Anthony Beane, Southern Illinois, So., 6-2, Gd., Normal (Ill.) High
Beane averaged 24.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in wins over Indiana State and Loyola. He was 16-of-27 (.593) from the field and 14-of-15 (.933) from the line. He made the winning jumper in the overtime victory over the Ramblers.
Newcomer of the Week
Austin Ruder, Missouri State, Fr., 6-3, Gd., Nixa (Mo.) High
Ruder knocked down a total of nine 3-pointers, including a career-best 6-for-9 night beyond the arc at Drake. He posted a team-high and career-high 21 points in the game at Des Moines as the Bears split two games last week.
And Then There Were Two
Just two Division I teams remain perfect, through games of Sunday, Feb. 2.
- Wichita State (23-0) -- next at Indiana State (2/5)
- Syracuse (21-0) - tonight vs. Notre Dame (2/3)
Final Four ... 20-0 Starts
In NCAA history, there have been nine teams to start a season 20-0 or better after appearing in the Final Four the previous season. Wichita State and Syracuse are the first to do it since UNLV in 1991.
Best Starts Ever
Wichita State (23-0) will next look to extend a school record with a 24th victory to start a season when the Shockers play at Indiana State this Wednesday. Including Wichita State this season, only two MVC teams in the league’s 107 years have started a season 20-0 or better.
Recent 20-0 Starts
Including this year, there have been 11 NCAA teams that have started 20-0 in the past 10 seasons. A total of 47 NCAA men’s basketball teams all-time have started a season 20-0 or better.
Evansville’s D.J. Balentine became just the fourth player in the NCAA to hit 40 points in a game when he totaled 43 against UNI last week. It was the highest-scoring game in the MVC since 1/7/12.
Top Scoring Games in the NCAA in 2013-14
48 -- Tyler Haws, BYU vs. Portland (1/23/14)
48 – Aaric Murray, TX Southern vs. Temple (12/18/13)
43 – D.J. Balentine, Evansville vs. UNI (1/29/14)
43 – Frank Kaminsky, Wisc. vs. N. Dakota (11/19/13)
Last 5 in MVC to Reach 40 Points in a Game
44 -- Doug McDermott, Creighton, 1/7/12 vs. Bradley
43 -- D.J. Balentine, Evansville, 1/29/14 vs. UNI
43 -- Colt Ryan, Evansville, 2/21/12, vs. Creighton
42 -- Cavel Witter, Creighton, 3/1/08 vs. Bradley
41 -- Doug McDermott, Creighton, 3/2/13, vs. WSU
Nation’s Best Sophomore
Boosted by his 43-point game at UNI and a 26-point outing at Wichita State, D.J. Balentine became the nation’s top-scoring sophomore (through 2/2/2014)
League teams are 36-14 at home games in conference play, which - should it continue at that pace - would be the best success rate by home teams in any of the past 11 seasons.
Two in MVC Perfect at Home
Two MVC teams are unbeaten at home this season, including Wichita State (14-0) and Indiana State (8-0). A total of 26 teams are unbeaten at home this year. Cincinnati (15-0) has the most wins at home, followed by Arizona and Wichita State (14).
Best Starts in MVC?
Wichita State will be looking to go to 11-0 in league play for the first time in its history when the Shockers face Indiana State in Terre Haute on Wednesday. Southern Illinois (17-0 in 2003-04) and Drake (13-0 in 2007-08) are the only two schools to start better than 9-0 in the league in the past 20 seasons.
Like Father, Like Son
A total of 20 current Division I head coaches mentor their sons. Marty Simmons-Blake Simmons represent the MVC on the list. Notably, though, only two of the 20 current father-son combos both played at the same school. Marty & Blake (both at Evansville) join Keith Richard (father/coach) and Lance Richard at Louisiana-Monroe.
UNI set its school record for 3-pointers in a game by draining 17 3-pointers in a 95-81 win over Evansville (1/29). The previous mark of 15 had been set on five previous occasions (latest - vs. Bradley on Jan. 12, 2013). The 17 3-pointers tied for the most 3-pointers made by an MVC team in an league contest. Creighton (20 vs. Chattanooga in 2005) and Bradley (20 vs. Florida A&M in 2006) share the league all-time record for treys in a game.
Doyle in Elite Company
Loyola’s Milton Doyle is the league’s top scoring freshman in 2013-14, already reaching 363 points through 22 games. Only 18 freshmen in MVC history have reached 400 points - the last to do it was Creighton’s Doug McDermott in 2010-11 - McDermott established a league freshman scoring record of 581 that season.
Odum in Special Company
Indiana State’s Odum is three steals shy of becoming just the fourth player in the past 15 seasons to hit 1,000 career points, 500 career rebounds, 500 career free throws made, 500 assists and 200 steals. Odum is already the only player in MVC history with 500 free throws and 500 assists. Of course, should he get three steals, he’ll be the only active player with those stats.
What’s the Diff?
In the past 20 years (since 1994-95), seven MVC teams have recorded a double-digit advantage in scoring margin for a season. Wichita State currently has a +15.2 scoring margin, which is the best among any team in that span.
Ruder Climbing Trey List
Austin Ruder of Missouri State has connected on 53 treys this year in the Bears’ first 22 games. Should he keep that pace, he’ll join a small group of freshmen in MVC history to make 70+ triples. He ranks second in the MVC (behind D.J. Balentine’s 54) and 7th among NCAA freshmen in 2014.