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Monday, December 06, 2010 | Men's Basketball
MBB Weekly Notebook: Big Week Ahead
The Valley will play five teams from BCS-football conferences this week, starting with Tuesday's UNI game at Iowa. Meanwhile, North Carolina's trip to Evansville on Wednesday will mark the first ACC team to visit a Missouri Valley Conference site since Miami scored a 74-69 win at Evansville on Nov. 17, 2006. Bradley visits top-ranked Duke on Wednesday.
State Farm Missouri Valley Player of the Week
Kwadzo Ahelegbe, UNI, Sr., 6-2, Gd., Oakdale (Minn.) Tartan High
Ahelegbe averaged 17.5 points a game in leading UNI to a pair of wins over Iowa State and TCU. Ahelegbe was a perfect 8-for-8 at the foul line in the 60-54 home win over the Cyclones and was one of five Panthers to reach double-figure scoring. Ahelegbe then poured in a season-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting in UNI's 64-60 road win over TCU. Ahelegbe entered the TCU game having made only 1-of-18 3-pointers on the season, but he drilled 3-of-4 from long range in the MVC's only win over a Mountain West squad during the nine-game challenge. Ahelegbe converted 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) from the line in the two victories.
Newcomer of the Week
Doug McDermott, Creighton, Fr., 6-7, Fwd., Ames (Iowa) Ames High
McDermott averaged team-highs of 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in Creighton games last week against No. 21 BYU and at Nebraska. He made 14-of-30 shots from the floor (46.7 percent) and also sank his only free-throw try. He started his week with career-highs of 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists against nationally-ranked BYU. In the process, he became the first Creighton freshman with a double-double since Bob Harstad in 1988. On Sunday at Nebraska, he had 10 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes of play. McDermott's eight straight games in double-figures ties the longest streak by a Bluejay newcomer to start the season since 1982-83, and he remains one of two MVC players to score in double-figures every game this season.
The RPI Report
The season's first Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report has been released and the Missouri Valley Conference ranks 12th of 32 conferences. As a league, The Valley has the ninth-best schedule strength.
Four in the Top 100
Four Valley teams rank in the Top 100, led by UNI (29). Evansville (54), Wichita State (56) and Missouri State (78) also represent the MVC among the nation's top teams in the RPI.
Inside the Numbers
The league has been ranked No. 9 in schedule strength in each of the past two seasons but has not finished outside of the Top 10 conferences in RPI since 2004, when the MVC was No. 11. Notably, the 2004 campaign capped a five-year run in which the league failed to finish among the Top 10 leagues in RPI. Yet in all five of those sub-Top 10 seasons, the league had two teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Champs on Deck
Bradley will face its toughest task of the season Wednesday when the Braves visit defending national champion and #1-ranked Duke. Bradley will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak against a team that has won 18 consecutive games overall, 23 consecutive contests at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 81 consecutive non-conference home games, the latter streak dating back to an 83-82 loss to St. John's Feb. 26, 2000.
Beating the Runner-Up
Bradley's game at Duke will mark the league's second against the pair who played in the national championship game last year. Evansville topped 2010 national runner-up and then-ranked No. 23 Butler on Saturday, Nov. 27, in Indianapolis.
North Carolina's trip to Evansville on Wednesday will mark the first ACC team to visit a Missouri Valley Conference site since Miami scored a 74-69 win at Evansville on Nov. 17, 2006.
Against the ACC
Including Wichita State's win against Virginia at the EA Sports Maui Invitational this year, the MVC has an all-time 22-34 record against teams from the ACC. The league's current 10-team configuration (since 1996-97) has compiled a 4-13 mark against teams from the ACC, but none of the four wins were at home.
Braves Against No. 1
Bradley is 1-7 all-time against the nation's #1-ranked team. The lone win was a 91-90 victory Jan. 16, 1960 versus Oscar Robertson's #1 Cincinnati squad at Robertson Memorial Fieldhouse (featuring Chet "The Jet" Walker and Bobby Joe Mason, Bradley was #4). Bradley has lost five straight to top-ranked teams since that 1960 win against the Bearcats. Cincinnati was a member of the MVC in 1960.
MVC Against No. 1
When UNI defeated No. 1 Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament it marked the first time a league team had beaten a No. 1 ranked non-MVC team since Cincinnati beat No. 1 Ohio State in the NCAA title game on March 24, 1962. The MVC has beaten a non-league top-ranked team six times, with four of them occurring in the NCAA Tournament.
MVC Teams to Beat a No. 1 Ranked Team (Non-Conference)
1950 -- Saint Louis (Kentucky, Dec. 29, 1950)
1951 -- Saint Louis (Kentucky, Dec. 29, 1951)
1959 -- Cincinnati (Kansas St., NCAA 2nd Round)
1961 -- Cincinnati (Ohio State, NCAA Title Game)
1962 -- Cincinnati (Ohio State, NCAA Title Game)
2010 -- UNI (vs. Kansas, NCAA 2nd Round)
UNI won all five games last season against in-state Division I competition. UNI defeated Iowa, Iowa State and Drake (three times) in 2009-10. UNI scored a 63-60 win over Iowa State in Ames last season - the only home non-conference loss for the Big 12 last season in 109 games. UNI beat Iowa State at home last Wednesday, and the Panthers take on Iowa in Iowa City on Tuesday.
Valley men's basketball schools are doing it again -- winning at home. The league is already 30-6 at home in non-conference play after going 61-11 against non-MVC teams at home last year. The league has recorded a combined 380-65 record (.854) in non-league games at home since the 2004-05 season.
Last year the league combined for its only winning record in road non-conference play since 1996-97 (which coincides with the league's current 10-team membership alignment). This year, the Valley is off to a rough start in true road games, going a combined 4-19 through games of Sunday, Dec. 5. The .174 road winning percentage is the worst for the league in that span. Evansville, Indiana State, UNI and Southern Illinois each have one road win for the league this year.
Rank and File
So far, Missouri Valley Conference schools have combined for a 1-8 mark against top-25 teams. The league was 3-5 against top-25 teams a year ago.
Against the Best
Through games of Sunday, Dec. 5, there are 19 teams nationally with unbeaten records. Eight of those 19 have posted wins against an MVC school, including Northwestern (Creighton), Connecticut (Wichita State), Tennessee (Missouri State), BYU (Creighton), Notre Dame (Indiana State), San Diego St. (Wichita State), Syracuse (UNI), UNLV (Illinois State). Both of Wichita State's losses -- the Shockers enter the week at 5-2 -- have come against unbeaten teams.
Wichita State's David Kyles is No. 10 nationally in field goal shooting, but he is second-best among all guards. Kyles has made 40-of-62 shots (64.5) and trails only Ayron Hardy of Jacksonville (66.1) for shooting accuracy among guards.
Two in Top 8
Wichita State's David Kyles and Evansville's Colt Ryan both rank among the Top 10 nationally in three-point shooting. Kyles, who ranks second in the nation, has made 61.0 percent of his treys, while Ryan, at No. 8, is at 56.3. John Shurna of Northwestern has made 66.7 of his to lead the nation.
Good at the Line
Creighton ranks sixth-best in the nation in free throw percentage, converting on 79.0 percent to lead the MVC. Missouri State also ranks in the Top 30 in the nation, as the Bears convert 75.4 percent from the stripe to rank No. 29.
Only one of the league's top nine scorers is a senior -- Bradley's Andrew Warren (1st-19.0). Only one of the league's top 5 in rebounding is a senior (Illinois State's Tony Lewis ranks second at 8.1 rpg.)
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