Weekly MVC Men's Basketball Notebook (Dec. 21)
The Valley is 70-29 (.707) in non-conference play (through Sunday, Dec. 20). That winning percentage is the 11th best in the 102-year history of the Missouri Valley and the second-best in 46 seasons. Missouri State (10-0), UNI (8-1), and Wichita State (10-1) each received votes in the AP top-25 poll this week. Eight more non-league games are this week, and then 11 are after Christmas (Western Kentucky at Southern Illinois, plus the ESPN BracketBusters series in February).
For a full set of notes, including team-by-team notes and results, please click on the PDF link.
State Farm Missouri Valley Players of the Week
Clevin Hannah, Wichita State, Sr., 5-11, Gd., Holly Springs (Miss.) Chipola CC
Senior point guard Clevin Hannah scored a season-high 24 points on 67 percent shooting to push Wichita State past No. 16 Texas Tech. His back-to-back three-pointers at the four-minute mark broke the 61-61 tie and put WSU ahead for good. He also made all eight free throws, including six in the final :40 to ice the win, hit four treys and had five assists.
Newcomer of the Week
Marc Sonnen, UNI, Fr., 6-3, Gd., St. Paul (Minn.)Tartan High
Sonnen buried 7-of-8 three-point shots in leading UNI to a 64-41 win at North Dakota. Sonnen drained four 3-pointers in the first half and then knocked down a trio of long balls in the second half to help the Panthers to a non-conference win and extend their win streak to seven in a row. Sonnen's 21 points was a career-best as his previous career-high was five points on three occasions. Entering Saturday, Sonnen had scored 15 points this season.
In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
- Kevin Dillard (SIU) averaged 17.5 points and 8.0 assists in wins over San Diego and San Francisco. Dillard made the winning basket for SIU on a driving layup with 12.5 seconds left against San Francisco.
- James Haarsma (UE) had a double-double in both games last week, with a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds vs. Georgia Southern followed by 18 points and 14 rebounds vs. UT-Martin.
- Austin Hill (ILS) -- despite playing with a strained Achilles heel on his left foot that kept him out for two games -- returned to the Redbirds Saturday at Utah and played 19 minutes, scoring 12 points.
- Jake Kelly (INS) hit a 12-foot jump shot with 5.6 seconds remaining to propel ISU to a one-point win at Toledo.
- Dwayne Lathan (INS) led ISU with 11 points in the thrilling 55-54 victory over Toledo this past week. Lathan finished the game with 11 points and added six rebounds.
- Kenny Lawson Jr. (CU) averaged 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while making 9-for-13 shots from the floor.
- Jermaine Mallett (MSU) scored a team-high 15 points at Saint Louis. He also led the Bears in assists for the seventh time this season and collected a pair of steals and three rebounds in the contest.
Troy Taylor (UE) totaled 14 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists and just one turnover in Evansville's two victories last week, including a 7-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist game Saturday against Tennessee-Martin.
- Seth VanDeest (DU) had 15 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots vs. Iowa Saturday.
- Ethan Wragge (CU) averaged 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds while making 4-of-8 three-pointers and 6-of-6 free throws.
Bears are Still Perfect
Missouri State is off to a 10-0 start for the first time since 1996-97 (10-0) and the Bears are one of only eight teams nationally that haven't lost. MSU and Wichita State are among just 30 teams that have posted 10+ victories.
Nation's Perfect Teams (through Dec. 20)
12-0 -- New Mexico
11-0 -- Kentucky, Syracuse
10-0 -- Kansas, Missouri State, Purdue, Texas
8-0 -- West Virginia
Four Valley teams head into this week with lengthy win streaks. Missouri State takes its 10-game streak on the road to Arkansas on Tuesday, while Wichita State (8), UNI (7) and Southern Illinois (4) all play their next contests at home. Last year, three MVC schools had double-digit win streaks (ILS-14, CU-11, UNI-11).
This season, the MVC was 6-4 in ESPN BracketBuster 'return' games. Including last year's 7-3 slate in BracketBusters games, the Valley is 40-23 all-time, and the MVC is 42-21 in the return games, giving the MVC an overall slate of 82-44 in games as a result of the scheduling concept. The MVC has never had a losing record in the series in any season, or in the returns the following season. BracketBusters started in February 2003.
The league has recorded an 18-12 record in true road contests this year. The 18 road wins are more than all of last year (10). In recent history, road success has translated into multiple bids in the NCAA Tournament. The league is on the road two times this week.
Us 4, Them 3
The inaugural Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge Series will feature nine games between the two leagues in each of the next four seasons. The series concludes this week with two contests played at MVC sites.
2009 Challenge Series (MVC: 4-3)
Nov. 13 Bradley at BYU (BYU, 70-60)
Nov. 20 Colorado St. at Indiana St. (INS, 65-60)
Nov. 21 Southern Illinois at UNLV (UNLV, 78-69)
Dec. 5 Air Force at Missouri St. (MSU, 58-48)
Dec. 12 TCU at Wichita State (WSU, 80-68)
Dec. 19 Creighton at New Mexico (UNM, 66-61)
Dec. 19 Illinois State at Utah (ILS, 73-63)
Dec. 22 San Diego State at Drake
Dec. 23 Wyoming at UNI
Projected Dates for Future Challenge Series
2010 -- Nov. 27 - Dec. 4
2011 -- Nov. 26 - Dec. 3
2012 -- Nov. 24 - Dec. 1
A Perfect 10?
Missouri State (10-0) become the second-straight MVC team to win its first 10 games as Illinois State went 14-0 last year to begin the season. Since 1985, only five MVC teams have started a season by winning their first 10 games. Creighton and Missouri State did it twice. In MVC history, only 26 teams have started a season 10-0. Here are the best starts since 1985:
14-0 Illinois State (2008-09) Lost at Bradley
12-0 Creighton (2003-04) Lost at UNI
10-0 Missouri State (2009-10)
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
9-0 Wichita State (2006-07) Lost to New Mexico
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 Illinois State (2009-10) Lost to Niagara
6-0 seven times
Best After 11?
Wichita State toppled #16 Texas Tech on Saturday, giving the Shockers a 10-1 mark for the first time since 2004-05. That year, the Shockers went 11-1 and didn't lose their second game until a conference matchup on Jan. 14 (at Indiana State). Before 2004-05, the Shockers had not been 11-1 since going 13-1 in 1982-83 en route to a 25-3 slate.
Panthers Rolling, Too
The UNI Panthers have won seven in a row and sit at 8-1 on the season. The last time UNI started a season 8-1 was in 2006-07 - the first under head coach Ben Jacobson. UNI's best start to a season came in 1963-64 when the Panthers began the campaign with 10 consecutive wins. UNI also started the 1924-25 and 2005-06 seasons at 10-1.
MVC Ranks No. 10
The Valley is No. 10 among 32 Division I leagues in the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report. The MVC has been rated among the nation's top 9 conferences in RPI and in schedule strength in each of the past five seasons (No. 9 last year). Missouri State is the top-rated MVC team, at No. 25 (of 347 teams) in the RPI. The Bears were the worst-rated team in the MVC in last year's report (212).
Against the Top 25
The Missouri Valley Conference is 2-4 against non-MVC top-25 competition this year, as Bradley's victory against #20 Illinois snapped a 14-game losing streak against top-25 teams. Wichita State picked up its first non-conference top-25 victory in three seasons on Dec. 19 against #16 Texas Tech. With 20 non-MVC top-25 wins, Bradley is second only to Wichita State (24) for top-25 non-conference wins by an MVC member.
Big vs. the BCS
Since Saturday, Nov. 28, the Missouri Valley Conference has posted wins against No. 20 Illinois, at Iowa State, Nebraska Iowa, and No. 16 Texas Tech to even its season record against schools from BCS-football leagues to 8-8. Missouri State plays the league's final non-conference regular-season game against a BCS member Tuesday (at Arkansas).
Vs. the BCS, Part II
Last year, the MVC had a 5-21 record against members of BCS-football leagues, but only five of the 26 contests were at home. Eleven of the league's 21 losses to BCS schools in 2008-09 were to teams ranked in the Top 25. None of those 11 games against the Top 25 were at home.
In recent years, the MVC has had great success at home in non-conference play. Counting this year, in the past six seasons the MVC is 333-56 (.856) at home in non-conference play. Six (of eight) games this week are at home.