Women's Basketball Weekly Notebook (Jan. 24)
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A big weekend is in store for Missouri Valley Conference women's basketball, as the league's top-six teams collide with each other.  Wichita State and Missouri State will host Illinois State and Indiana State, while Drake and Creighton welcome UNI and Bradley.

STREAK-FREE SHINE
Wichita State won its 10th straight game and improved to 7-0 in MVC play following wins over Evansville and Southern Illinois last week. 

The Shockers are just one of nine teams in NCAA Division I to hold a current winning streak of 10 or more games.  Below is a list of those teams:

School - Current Winning Streak
Baylor - 19
UW-Green Bay - 17
Notre Dame - 16
Stanford - 14
Wichita State - 10
Duke - 10
San Diego State - 10
Middle Tennessee State - 10
Florida A&M - 10

BEST STARTS IN THE MVC?
Below is a look at the best league starts for current MVC members (includes each school's top performance only):

Team (Year) Loss Final Record
12-0 MSU (1995-96) at Illinois State 1st (16-2)
12-0 INS (2005-06) at Missouri State 1st (16-2)
10-0 DU (1997-98) Missouri State 1st (17-1)
9-0 ILS (2006-07) Evansville 2nd (13-5)
8-0 CU (1993-94) at Missouri State 2nd (14-2)
7-0 WSU (2011-12)
6-0 UNI (2000-01) at Missouri State 3rd (12-6)
4-0 UE (1999-00) at Missouri State T-2nd (14-4)
4-0 BU (2008-09) at UNI 4th (11-7)
3-0 SIU (1993-94) Creighton T-3rd (9-7)

BEEN A LONG TIME COMING
Southern Illinois entered Thursday’s game with Missouri State on a 24-game losing streak in regular-season MVC action.  That streak finally came to an end as the Salukis tallied an impressive 78-72 win over the visiting Lady Bears.  SIU’s last win over a league opponent came on March 4, 2010, in a 65-63 win at Evansville.

TV TREAT
The third Valley women’s basketball telecast of the season will hit the air on FSMidwest on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:05 p.m. CT when UNI heads to Omaha, Neb., to take on Creighton.  Scott Warmann and Laura Leonard will have the story from D.J. Sokol Arena. 

VALLEY HOME WINNING STREAKS
Illinois State currently holds the longest active home winning streak in Valley contests at 20, dating back to Jan. 21, 2010.  The Redbirds were a perfect 9-0 at home in league play last season, and have won their four home contests so far in 2011-12.  Below is a look at the longest home Valley winning streaks of all-time (minimum of 10 consecutive wins):

Valley Home Winning Streaks
66 – Missouri St. (Mar. 3, 1989 – Jan. 20, 1997)
28 – Creighton (Feb. 2, 2001 – Feb. 13, 2004)
20 – Illinois State (Jan. 21, 2010 – Present)
Missouri State (Feb. 15, 2003 – Mar. 3, 2005)
20 – Illinois State (Jan. 30 1988 – Feb. 28, 1990)
20 – Illinois State (Feb. 4, 1985 – Jan. 1, 1988)
19 – Drake (Feb. 3, 1996 – Jan. 17, 1998)
18 – Southern Illinois (Jan. 21, 1995 – Jan. 5, 1997)
15 – Missouri State (Feb. 18, 2000 – Jan. 31, 2002)
14 – Missouri State (Jan. 9, 1999 – Feb. 5, 2000)
12 – Wichita State (Feb. 25, 1999 – Jan. 18, 2001)

WINNING AT THE HALFWAY POINT
Over the past 12 seasons, teams that have won or shared the regular-season championship in the MVC have reached the halfway point of the league season with at least 8 wins 12 times (15 total teams). Three times – DU in 2008, CU in 2003 and MSU in 1999 – teams have had as many as three losses and gone on to the regular-season title.

This season, six teams have a chance to reach the midpoint of Valley play with three or fewer losses, including Wichita State (7-0), UNI (5-2), Illinois State (5-2), Missouri State (4-3), Drake (4-3) and Indiana State (4-3).

HANGING WITH THE BIG DOGS
A total of six leagues, including the Valley, can boast at least 80-percent of its teams with an RPI of 150 or better.  The other five leagues are the top-five rated RPI conferences, all BCS leagues. 

The Valley is above one BCS league, the ACC, which has only nine of its 12 teams (.750) with an RPI of 150 or better.

Below is a breakdown of those leagues with at least 80-percent of its teams with an RPI of 150 or better:

RPI, League, #of Teams with Top-Half RPI
1. Big 12 - 10 of 10 (1.000)
2. Big East - 16 of 16 (1.000)
5. Pac-12 - 12 of 12 (1.000)
4. Big Ten - 11 of 12 (.917)
3. SEC - 10 of 12 (.833)
10. Valley - 8 of 10 (.800)
6. ACC - 9 of 12 (.750)

THE RPI REPORT
For the sixth straight week, the Missouri Valley Conference holds steady at the No. 10 position in the latest (Jan. 16) Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report.  As a league, The Valley has the 10th-best strength of schedule, its best of the season.

THREE REMAIN IN THE TOP 100
Three Valley teams rank in the RPI’s Top 100, led by Missouri State (69).  Wichita State (74) and Creighton (99) also represent the MVC among the nation’s top teams in the RPI.

TOP HALF FINISHES
The tight race at the top of the MVC standings is familiar territory to some, but a foreign land to others.

Wichita State (7-0 MVC, 1st), winners of 10 straight, is looking to do something it has done just 10 times in school history – finish in the Valley’s top-five.  The Shockers have never won the league’s regular-season title and have finished tied for second just one time.

The UNI Panthers (5-2 MVC, T-2nd) are looking to repeat their recent success, which includes two top-five finishes, two State Farm MVC Tournament titles and two trips to the NCAA Tournament.  UNI won its first-ever regular-season Valley championship last season and have finished in the top-five 10 times overall.

Despite a rough stretch in the early part of this decade which saw Illinois State (5-2 MVC, T-2nd) finish in the lower half of the standings in seven of eight seasons, the Redbirds have claimed 19 top-five finishes, including eight outright or shared titles.  Illinois State has finished either first or second in each of the past five seasons.

Missouri State (4-3 MVC, T-3rd) has been a mainstay in the top-half, finishing in the top-five in 16 of the 19 seasons, including a streak of 13 in-a-row between 1992-93 and 2004-05.

Even though Drake (4-3 MVC, T-3rd) has only finished in the upper half three times in the past seven seasons, the Bulldogs have been in the elite crowd in 21 total seasons, including a stretch of 12-straight from 1992-93 to 2003-04.  Drake has won six shared or outright MVC regular-season titles, including four in five years from 1996-97 to 2000-01.

Indiana State (4-3 MVC, T-3rd) has finished in the top-five 11 times, including five straight from 2002-03 to 2006-07.  The Sycamores have only finished in the upper half of the standings once in the past four seasons.