Weekly Men's Basketball Notebook (Feb. 2)
The league begins play in the final month of the regular season Tuesday night (Feb. 2) as first-place UNI visits second-place Bradley in Peoria. The Braves are one of three teams tied for second place and trail the Panthers -- winners of 10-straight games -- by three games in the standings.
For a comprehensive printed version of the weekly MVC release (which includes school-by-school results and notes), please click on the downloadable PDF link near the bottom of the this page.
UNI Streak Reaches 10
UNI has now won 10-straight games, which is tied for the longest winning streak in school history. The 1963-64 Panthers, which at the time were a Division II team known as the State College of Iowa, won 10-straight to open its season. That team, under the direction of head coach Norm Stewart, eventually finished 23-4 and advanced to the College Division Final Four. UNI's current 10-game win streak is tied for fifth-best current streak in the nation:
Team (next opponent), Game Date -- Streak
1. Utah State (New Mexico State) 2/5 -- 16
2. Memphis (at SMU) 2/4 -- 12
3. Butler (at Green Bay) 2/2 -- 11
Marquette (at DePaul) 2/3 -- 11
5. UNI (at Bradley) 2/3 -- 10
Xavier (Temple) 2/5 -- 10
The MVC Record?
Although UNI's streak is a school record, the Panthers have a long way to go to reach the league record (37 by Cincinnati in 1961-62). Thirteen teams in league history have posted win streaks of 14 games or more (including Illinois State's 14-gamer earlier this year).
State Farm Missouri Valley Player of the Week
Shy Ely, Evansville, Sr., 6-4, Fwd., Indianapolis (Ind.) Speedway High
Ely averaged 20.0 points and 7.0 rebounds as the Aces won two MVC games last week, winning at Drake and handling Southern Illinois at home. He totaled 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in Thursday's 65-62 win at Drake, and added 22 points, six rebounds, one assist and two steals in Saturday's 60-54 win over Southern Illinois. Ely scored 18 of the team's 36 points in the second half Saturday, including two straight baskets on steals that gave UE the lead for good.
Newcomer of the Week
Justin Carter, Creighton, Jr., 6-4, G/F, Gaithersburg (Md.), Watkins Mill High [Fullerton College]
Carter helped CU to an undefeated week, leading the team with 29 points (14.5 ppg.), 15 rebounds (7.5 rpg.) and six steals (3.0 spg.) in double-digit wins against visiting Indiana State and Missouri State. He opened his week with career-highs of 17 points, four steals and two blocked shots while tying his best with eight rebounds in Tuesday's 73-62 win over Indiana State. For the week, Carter made 10-of-15 shots from the field (66.7 percent), including 2-of-4 from three-point range (50 percent) while also draining 7-of-9 shots from the line (77.8 percent).
In addition to the league’s player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
- Anthony Booker, SIU -- Came off the bench to average 7.5 ppg and 5.0 rebounds in two games last week. He was 6-of-11 from the field.
- Tony Boyle, SIU -- Averaged 12.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg and made .500 percent of his shots in a win over Missouri State and a loss at Evansville.
- Dodie Dunson, BU -- Led the Braves in scoring for the week by averaging 16.5 ppg. Also averaged 5.0 rpg and 1.5 spg as the Braves split 2 games.
- Ali Farokhmanesh, UNI -- Had a team-high 17 points, making 4-of-7 three-pointers, in UNI’s 59-55 win over Illinois State Jan. 28.
- Emmanuel Holloway, ILS -- Tied a season-best with 15 points in the win over Bradley. Also grabbed a career-best nine rebounds at UNI.
- Harry Marshall, INS -- Averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest last week.
- Cardell McFarland, MSU -- Matched a career high Sunday at Creighton with 14 points and shared team-high honors with three assists. Also posted eight points at Southern Illinois.
- Toure' Murry, WSU -- Averaged 13.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.5 steals while hitting all of his free throws and shooting 43.5 percent from the field last week.
- Lucas O'Rear, UNI -- In his first career start, O’Rear scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds, had three assists and one steal in a career-high 34 minutes versus Illinois State.
- Champ Oguchi, ILS -- Collected his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over Bradley.
- Josh Parker, DU -- Scored a team-high 18 points at Wichita State.
- Jordan Printy, INS -- Averaged 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in two contests last week for the Sycamores.
- Theron Wilson, BU -- Averaged 14.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg and 1.0 spg as the Braves split a pair of games last week. Had a game-high 17 points and added a team-best nine caroms at Illinois State.
- Josh Young, DU -- Averaged 14.0 points, 3.5 rebounds in Drake's two games last week.
The Gap Band
First-place UNI currently enjoys a three-game lead in the conference standings. Southern Illinois' five-game gap from first to second place in 2003-04 is the biggest in the MVC since Bradley set the league standard in 1985-86. The 1985-86 Braves -- the last team to go perfect (16-0) in MVC play -- held a six-game margin on second-place Tulsa and Drake. That six-game cushion in 1986 is the league record.
Speaking of Winning ...
If the Braves can pick up a pair of wins this week, they will achieve a victory milestone. The Braves begin the week with 498 all-time Missouri Valley Conference victories in 57 years, the second-best total in league history, trailing only Drake’s 510 Valley wins in 97 seasons. Bradley is tied with North Carolina State for 25th all-time in NCAA history with 1,517 all-time victories.
Redbirds Close in on 20
Illinois State, with its 18-4 record, could be the first Valley team to reach 20 wins this year. ISU had a 25-10 mark last year and is looking to record back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since putting a string of four-straight 20-win seasons from 1995-1998.
20 Wins Important?
Since the NCAA Tournament field was expanded to 64 teams (1985), 62 Valley teams, including three last year, have posted 20 wins prior to "Selection Sunday." Forty-three have reached the NCAAs, and another 18 were in the NIT (Creighton was 20-12 in 1985 and did not reach the post-season -- the only MVC team with 20 wins not to reach post-season play since '85).
Active 20-Win Streaks
In 2007-08, Creighton reached the 20-win plateau for a league-record 10th-straight season. In the 102-year history of The Valley, only five schools have won 20 games six-straight years, including Cincinnati (1957-58 to 1962-63), Bradley (1956-57 to 1961-62) Oklahoma State (1943-44 to 1948-49), and Southern Illinois (2001-02 to 2006-07), plus the current streak by Creighton. The MVC has had at least four 20-win teams for five-straight years.
Active 20-Win Streaks in The Valley
10 - Creighton (1998-99 - 2007-08)
3 - Bradley (2005-06 - 2007-08)
1 - Drake (2007-08)
1 - Illinois State (2007-08)
Searching for No. 300
With a win this week, Dana Altman can become just the second coach in the 102-year history of the Missouri Valley Conference to win 300 games at one school. Altman, who enters Wednesday's game at Drake with a 299-158 mark, can join Henry Iba (486 wins at Oklahoma State) in that elite group.
A Call From the Hall
Former Drake basketball standout Dolph Pulliam will be among 14 athletes inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on March 25. Pulliam was a two-year staring forward at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Ind., earning all-state honors while leading the team to the semifinal round of the 1965 Indiana State High School Tournament. He was a three-year standout forward at Drake from 1966-69, guiding the Bulldogs to the 1969 NCAA Final Four where the team finished third.
To Be Continued ...
The postponed games last week marked the first time since the 1995-96 season that a game had been rescheduled in MVC men's basketball. (SIU at Drake that year). It's not known whether two games had been postponed on the same date previously.
On the MVC Road
Last year, Drake had six-straight MVC road wins. The league record for consecutive MVC regular-season wins on the road is 28, set by Kansas, during the 1920s. UNI won its sixth MVC road game of the season (against no losses) at Indiana State on Saturday. It is the most road conference wins by the Panthers ever. UNI’s previous high was five road victories in the 2005-06 season. Only three schools since 1958-59 (past 50 years) have had league road win streaks of 8+ games.
Only 23 of 50 starters returned for the MVC from last year. Here's the makeup of the league's most commonly used starting lineups Twenty of the 50 are freshmen or sophomores. Sr.-16; Jr.-14; So.-11; Fr.-9
On the Air This Week
Four league games will be aired as part of the MVC Television Network this week, and three games will be on Sirius XM radio. Check the attached PDF for a complete breakdown of the MVC's national games this week.
Home Sweet Home?
Last season, the Missouri Valley Conference was No. 2 among 31 conferences with a 62-28 (.6889) winning percentage at home in league games. This year, the MVC is 36-19 (.6545) at home, although the league was 14-11 (.560) at one point in home conference games.
MVC Among Elite Again
The Missouri Valley Conference is No. 9 among 31 Division I leagues in the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report (thru Feb. 1). The MVC has been rated among the nation's top 10 conferences in RPI and in schedule strength in each of the past four seasons. Five Valley teams rank among the Top 100 in the RPI. A minimum of five league teams have finished in the Top 100 of the RPI in each of the past four seasons. The league has had only two seasons in which six teams finished the year 100 or better (Southern Illinois-124 and Drake-126 are currently just outside of 100). Those years included 1999 (3 NCAA bids) and 2006 (4 NCAA bids).