Weekly Men's Basketball Notebook; Wichita State Ranked No. 8 This Week
Indiana State and Missouri State open their conference seasons on Saturday, Dec. 16, as the Bears host ISU in Springfield, Mo. MSU swept the two-game series last year. In what is only the second conference game before Christmas Day, the winner will be in a first-place tie with Evansville, which opened league play with a 69-41 victory against Illinois State on Dec. 9.
Shockers At No. 8
Wichita State climbed to No. 8 in this week's (Dec. 11) Associated Press poll (No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll). The Shockers are one of four Valley schools receiving votes in either (or both) of this week's polls (joining Missouri State, UNI, and Southern Illinois.) Before WSU, the last Valley men's basketball school to crack the AP Top 10 was Creighton (Jan. 20, 2003).
State Farm Missouri Valley Players of the Week
Eric Coleman, UNI
6-6, Jr., Ctr., Maplewood (Minn.) Tartan High
Coleman averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds in two wins last week. He had a season-high 21 points and tied his career-high with 15 rebounds in a 57-55 win over Iowa Dec. 5, the Panthers’ first win ever in Iowa City in 21 tries. It also broke Iowa’s 21-game home court winning streak which was the third-longest active streak in the nation at the time. In addition, Coleman, a career 53 percent foul shooter, hit 9-of-11 free throws against the Hawkeyes, including going 4-for-4 in the last two minutes of the game. Against UMKC on Dec. 9, he had 15 points and 13 rebounds in just 19 minutes of action. For the season, Coleman leads UNI in scoring (15.4 ppg), rebounding (9.9 rpg) and field goal percentage (.573).
Newcomer of the Week
Josh Young, Drake
6-1, Fr., Gd., Lawton (Okla.) High
Young was named to the Drake Regency Challenge All-Tournament team after leading Drake to the championship. He averaged 19.0 points in two games this weekend, along with 4.0 assists, while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor (14-of-26). He played 52 minutes in the wins over Troy and Georgia Southern, committing just one turnover. In three games last week (including Iowa State on Sunday), he established or matched career highs in scoring 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:
- Blake Ahearn, MSU (pictured at left) -- Ahearn was near-perfect in his shooting in a 26-point night Wednesday as Missouri State popped UW-Milwaukee 78-61, and then chipped in with 18 Saturday as the Bears rolled past UNC-Wilmington in MSU’s first road game of the season.
- Matt Braeuer, WSU -- Braeuer had a career-high 18 points on 5-of-5 shooting that included a 2-of-2 effort from the arc against Wyoming last week. He also had three assists and a steal.
- Ajay Calvin, DU -- Named outstanding performer of Drake Regency Challenge Tournament. He scored a career-high 24 points in championship, including 16 in second half. Averaged 20.0 points in two games, along with 6.5 rebounds, while shooting 68 percent from floor (17-for-25).
- Jordan Eglseder, UNI -- Eglseder averaged 5.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in two wins last week, in just 13 minutes per game.
- Spencer Laurie, MSU -- Laurie averaged 5.0 points and 5.0 assists in the Bears’ two wins. He added five rebounds and two steals on the week.
- Isacc Miles, CU -- Miles averaged 6.5 points while shooting 50 percent in two games last week, including a win over No. 24 Xavier.
- Gabe Moore, INS - Moore finished with a career high 24 points, including 3-4 from three point range in the Sycamores win over 14th ranked Butler. Moore went 4-4 from the line in the final 1:15.
- Matt Salley, BU -- Salley turned in his best game as a Brave to date with 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block vs. Wright State.
- J.J. Tauai, BU -- Tauai led six Braves in double-figures with 15 points during Tuesday’s 88-49 rout of Wright State at Carver Arena. Tauai made 6-of-7 field goal attempts versus the Raiders.
- Phillip Thomasson, WSU -- Thomasson averaged 8.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in WSU’s win last week, while he hit all four of his shots.
- Anthony Tolliver, CU -- Tolliver averaged 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as Creighton split games with Atlantic-10 rivals Dayton and Xavier. Tolliver opened the week with 13 points and matched a career high with 13 rebounds.
- Matt Webster, UE -- Webster scored a career-high 30 points and led a UE comeback in the second half Tuesday that gave the Aces a 69-64 win over Valparaiso, and scored a game-high 21 on Saturday in a 69-41 win over Illinois State.
- Tony Young, SIU -- In Southern’s only game, he led the team with a season-high 22 points. He made 6-of-7 shots from 3-point range and was 4-of-4 from the line. He also added 2 assists.
Drake hosts Iowa (ESPNU) on Saturday, Dec. 16. The Bulldogs, who have already beaten Iowa State, will be looking for their first Iowa State-Iowa sweep since 1978-79. This year, UNI has already accomplished the sweep -- a first for the Panthers since the 1997-98 season. Notably, if Drake can beat the visiting Hawkeyes it will mark the first time since 1998-99 (Creighton vs. Iowa and Baylor, Oklahoma State; and Missouri State vs. Wisconsin and at Missouri) that two MVC members posted wins against at least one Big 12 and Big 10 school in the same season. Drake's Josh Young, this week's Newcomer of the Week, is pictured at left.
This year, The Valley had two top-25 wins on the same day (Dec. 9), marking just the fifth time that has happened in the 100-year history of the league. The Missouri Valley Conference is 5-1 against top-25 teams so far this year. The last time the MVC had a winning mark vs. top-25 foes was in 1975 (10-6 that year). The Valley was 6-7 against top-25 foes last year and was last .500 against the Top 25 in 1979 (3-3).
Valley's Same-Day Multiple Top-25 Wins (AP)
Jan. 17, 1953
Saint Louis vs. #11 Notre Dame (W, 86-81)
Tulsa vs. #18 Oklahoma City (W, 65-62)
Mar. 19, 1960
Bradley vs. #14 Providence (W, 88-72)
Cincinnati vs. #12 New York University (W, 95-71)
Dec. 30, 1974
Drake vs. #11 South Carolina (W, 92-71)
Wichita State vs. #16 Memphis State (W, 95-91)
Dec. 6, 2005
UNI vs. #12 Iowa (W, 67-63 ot)
Indiana State vs. #18 Indiana (W, 72-67)
Dec. 9, 2006
Indiana State vs. #15 Butler (W, 72-64)
Creighton vs. #24 Xavier (W, 73-67)
WSU Is Still Perfect
WSU is one of just nine Division I teams that has not lost this season (thru Dec. 10). Since 1984-85, only three Valley schools have started the year 10-0 or better, and only four times in that span (1999-00, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06) did two teams start 6-0 during the same year. Indiana State’s 33-straight wins to start the 1978-79 season is the league’s all-time record, while 25 teams all-time have started the season 10-0 or better. Here are the best starts since 1985:
Team (Year) How it Ended
12-0 Creighton (2003-04) Lost at UNI
10-0 Missouri State (1996-97) Lost to Cincinnati
10-0 Creighton (2002-03) Lost at Xavier
9-0 Wichita State (2004-05) Lost to Manhattan
9-0 Bradley (1985-86) Lost to Clemson
9-0 Creighton (1999-00) Lost at Hawaii
8-0 Indiana State (2005-06) Lost at Wichita State
8-0 Missouri State (1994-95) Lost at Evansville
7-0 Creighton (2004-05) Lost to Kent State
7-0 Wichita State (2005-06) next game is 12/17
6-0 seven times
Hello, Big Boys
The Valley is 11-10 against teams from BCS-football conferences. Notably, only three of the 21 meetings were on Valley homecourts. The MVC was 12-12 against BCS member schools last year. Three games against BCS members dot this week's Valley schedule.
Against the Top 25
This season, The Valley is 5-1 against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Last year, the league posted six wins against top-25 schools (including three in the NCAAs). The last time Valley members posted at least three top-25 non-league wins in back-to-back years was in 1662-63 (6) and 1963-64 (5).
Spreading it Around
Four different MVC teams have won a non-conference game against a top-25 team. That also happened last season and just nine times total since the AP started its poll in January 1949. Only twice have five different MVC teams won a top-25 non-league game in the same season (1957-58, 1974-75).
Steady RPI Climb
The Valley's No. 6 RPI ranking last season was an all-time best. Listed below is the first year the RPI was conducted by Collegiate Basketball News (1992) and the last four-plus seasons:
Year RPI Post-Season Teams
1991-92 21 2 (Southern Illinois, Missouri State)
2002-03 14 3 (Creighton, SIU, Wichita State)
2003-04 11 4 (Creighton, UNI, SIU, Wichita St.)
2004-05 8 5 (CU, MSU, UNI, SIU, WSU)
2005-06 *6 *6 (BU, CU, MSU, UNI, SIU, WSU)
*all-time season-ending highs for The Valley
League by League RPI
(thru Dec. 10) W-L* Sked RPI
1 Atlantic Coast 82-22 .5833-1 .6120
2 Missouri Valley 56-19 .5271-4 .5836
3 Pacific 10 64-16 .5165-9 .5789
4 Southeastern 75-24 .5053-12 .5648
5 Big Ten 78-28 .5168-8 .5610
6 Big East 99-32 .5108-11 .5590
7 Mountain West 50-22 .5179-7 .5589
8 C-USA 47-31 .4987-17 .5358
9 Western Athletic 39-36 .5012-15 .5127
10 Big 12 75-29 .4815-21 .5125
*includes only games against Division I opponents
All 10 Missouri Valley Conference schools are .500 or better (thru Dec. 11). The last two times the league finished a season with more than five .500-or-better teams was in 1998-99 and in 2005-06. The last time The Valley had all of its members with .500 or better marks in non-conference games was in 1978-79.
Great Mark in 2006-07
The Valley's 61-18 non-conference mark (through games of Sunday, Dec. 10) is No. 3 all-time in league history and the best record in 86 years. Last year, the Valley was 80-34 (.702) in non-league play.
BU .. Break Time
With final exams following last Tuesday’s 88-49 win against Wright State, Bradley (6-3) will have had 11 days to prepare for Saturday’s game versus Iowa State in the Mediacom Cyclone Capital Classic in Des Moines. Fifth-year Bradley head coach Jim Les is 6-2 in his career when given a full week to prepare for a game, including a 2-0 mark with at least 10 days to prep.
CU .. Ranked Win
Creighton’s win over No. 24 Xavier on Saturday improved Creighton to 6-9 under Dana Altman against ranked teams. The six wins are a school-record for a coach, one more than Eddie Sutton’s 5-18 mark against ranked foes. The Bluejays improved to 5-2 versus ranked teams in home games under Altman, including a 2-0 at Qwest Center Omaha against ranked teams.
DU .. Hot Offense
Drake is averaging 93.2 points during its four-game winning streak, while outrebounding opponents, 44.5 to 29.5. The Bulldogs are shooting 50.9 percent from the floor as a team with six players shooting better than 50 percent, led by sophomore reserve forward Jonathan Cox who is shooting 73.7 percent (14-19) in his last four games.
UE .. Chart Breaker
Matt Webster is quickly climbing in two UE records sections. With 51 points in two games last week, he moved past five players and into 31st place on Evansville’s all-time scoring list with 1,081 career points. In addition, Webster now ranks fifth in free throws made, with 393. He led the league in free throws and attempts last season, and is doing the same this season. He’s 67-for-94 at the line in just nine games.
ILS .. It's Up, and In
So far this season, when Greg Dilligard attempts a field goal there is a high probability it is going in. In fact it is so high, that if he stays on this pace it would be the highest single-season field goal percentage in Illinois State history. Dilligard leads The Valley by making 66.7 percent of his field goals, while shooting 42-of-63 from the floor.
INS .. Giant Killers
Indiana State’s 72-64 win over 14th ranked Butler on Saturday night should come as no surprise. It was the Sycamores 3rd straight win over the Bulldogs. ISU’s win also marked two consecutive seasons that ISU knocked off a top-25 team at the Hulman Center. Last season it was No. 18 Indiana, 72-67.
MSU .. NCAA Success
With wins over Wis.-Milwaukee and UNC Wilmington this past week, Missouri State now has three wins against teams from the 2006 NCAA field, in their past six games. Wisconsin is the other.
UNI .. Kangaroo Court
Junior Adam Viet made a career-high seven three pointers vs. UMKC Dec. 9. Over his career, Viet has made 13-of-20 three-pointers against the Kangaroos, making one as a freshman two years ago, and five last year in the UNI-Dome.
SIU .. Nation's No. 2 D
The Salukis allow just 51.7 ppg on the season, which leads the MVC and ranks #2 in the nation (Duke). Last year, SIU allowed just 56.5 ppg, which ranked fourth in Division I out of 334 teams.
WSU .. Team Play
Wichita State averages 16.1 assists per game to opponents’ 9.6 per game. WSU has six players averaging between 7.1 and 14.0 points a game and nine players averaging more than 10 minutes.