The RPI Report
The season’s first Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report has been released and the Missouri Valley Conference ranks 11th of 33 conferences. As a league, The Valley has the 12th-best strength of schedule.
Four in the RPI’s Top 100
Four Valley teams rank in the Top 100, led by Creighton (34). Missouri State (51), Indiana State (79) and Bradley (88) also represent the MVC among the nation’s top teams in the RPI.
The league saw its first win over a top-25 team since 2009 when Creighton topped No. 25 Nebraska, 66-57, last Wednesday in Omaha. The Valley had gone two entire seasons without a win over a ranked opponent, as the last time a league school took down a ranked opponent was Nov. 22, 2009, when Drake topped No. 24 Iowa State, 78-75.
Toe the Line
The Valley owns the nation’s top free-throw shooter – as UNI’s Jacqui Kalin leads the nation with a 97.4 free-throw percentage. Kalin has converted on 38 of her 39 free-throw attempts. Illinois State’s Jamie Russell (96.3%) and Evansville’s Samantha Heck (96.0%) also rank fifth and sixth in the nation, respectively.
As a team, Bradley ranks seventh in the nation in free-throw percentage, converting on 79.5-percent of its free-throw attempts.
Drake’s Carly Grenfell ranks sixth in the nation in three-point field-goal percentage. Her 51.3-percent leads the league by over 16 percentage points.
Indiana State holds the nation’s ninth-best scoring defense, allowing just 48.0 points per game. The Sycamores have held three of their eight opponents under 40 points, and two more under 50 points. Indiana State’s only two losses this season have come when the Sycamores allowed 60+ points.
Against the Field
The MVC holds a winning record against 11 leagues in non-conference play (ACC, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Conference USA, Great West, Horizon, Mid-American, Ohio Valley, Summit, Sun Belt and WAC) and at least a .500 mark against another four (Big South, Big West, Southland and West Coast).
The MVC holds an unblemished record in non-conference action against five other leagues, including ACC (1-0), Atlantic Sun (1-0), Great West (2-0), SWAC (1-0) and the WAC (2-0).
Topping Postseason Teams
To date, MVC teams have 12 wins against teams that participated in either the NCAA, WNIT or WBI postseason events last season.
Objects in the Rearview Mirror
The Valley’s 35-34 non-conference record is a bit deceiving with over 40-percent (18) of those defeats coming at the hands of five BCS conferences – the Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC – leagues with composite winning percentages above .738.