The bulk of the non-conference portion of the league's schedule is nearing completion, with just 23 games remaining outside of MVC play. The Valley has posted non-conference records above .500 in 16 of the last 20 seasons.
Four in the Top 100
The second edition of the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report (Dec. 17) has four league teams listed in the top-100. Creighton leads the way (51), up nine spots from last week, while Missouri State (68), Indiana State (79) and Bradley (97) also represent the MVC among the nation’s top teams in the RPI.
Flanery Earns Historic Win
Creighton head coach Jim Flanery tied current Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen for the most victories in Bluejay history. Rasmussen concluded his coaching career at Creighton in 1992 with a record of 196-147 (.571) in 12 seasons. Flanery is currently 196-131 (.601) in his 11th season at the helm for the Jays.
Saturday’s 83-60 victory over Arkansas State was the 750th in Missouri State history, making it the 28th Division I school to reach that number. The Lady Bears were joined in that exclusive club a day later by Ole Miss, and now sit in a tie at No. 28 with the Rebels.
3-0 or Better On the Road
Creighton is one of just 16 teams in NCAA Division I to have a perfect record in true road games while playing at least three contests away from home. Seven of the 16 teams are from BCS conferences. The Bluejays are 3-0 on the road, claiming victories at South Dakota State, South Dakota and Houston.
Indiana State enters the week on a five-game winning streak, the team’s longest under third-year head coach Moren and best unbeaten streak since opening the 2009-10 season with seven straight victories.
At 6-2 so far this season, the Creighton Bluejays are off to their best start since the 2002-03 season, when the Jays started 9-2. Creighton’s only two losses have come to ranked teams (No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 23 Kansas), while the Jays’ six victories include three road wins and one win over a ranked opponent (No. 25 Nebraska).
Another Member of the 1,000-Point Club
Samantha Heck became the 18th player in Evansville history to score 1,000 career points Tuesday at Eastern Illinois by scoring UE’s first two points of the game. She went on to score 15 points in the contest and added 13 more in Sunday’s contest with Saint Louis. The senior center now has 1,026 career points and joins four other active Valley players in the leauge’s 1000-point club, including UNI’s Jacqui Kalin (1,595), Missouri State’s Christiana Shorter (1,298), Wichita State’s Jessica Diamond (1,195) and Bradley’s Katie Yohn (1,100).
Three of the Nation's Top-Six
The Valley owns three of the nation’s top-six free-throw shooters, including the nation’s top player at the charity stripe in UNI’s Jacqui Kalin, who is converting at a .974 percentage (38-of-39). Kalin is joined by Illinois State’s Jamie Russell (3rd, .966, 28-of-29) and Evansville’s Samantha Heck (6th, .960, 24-of-25).
The league has five players that are nearly automatic when it comes to scoring double-digit points. Indiana State’s Anna Munn has scored in double figures in all nine of the Sycamores’ games this season, while an additional four players – Bradley’s Catie O’Leary, Drake’s Kyndal Clark, Missouri State’s Whitney Edie and UNI’s Jacqui Kalin – have scored 10+ points in all but one game this season.
Speaking of Double-Digits
All 10 Valley teams have at least one player averaging double-figure points per game, but four teams have at least three players averaging double-digits. Missouri State has a league-high four players averaging 10+ points (Whitney Edie, Christiana Shorter, Kenzie Williams and Hannah Wilkerson), while Bradley (Catie O’Leary, Shronda Butts and Katie Yohn), Evansville (Khristian Hart, Samantha Heck and Meagan Collins) and Illinois State (Janae Smith, Jamie Russell and Candace Sykes) have three each.
Inside the Numbers
Outside of the six BCS conferences (Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, SEC Big East and Pac-12), just five other leagues – Atlantic 10, West Coast, Horizon, Big West and Conference USA – best the Valley in the latest RPI report (Dec. 19). Among other key Midwest conferences, the MVC ranks ahead of the Mid-American (14), Summit (25) and Ohio Valley (27).
Against the Field
The MVC holds a winning record against 12 leagues in non-conference play (ACC, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Conference USA, Great West, Horizon, Mid-American, Ohio Valley, SWAC, 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 (2-0) and WAC (2-0).
Topping Postseason Teams
To date, MVC teams have 13 wins against teams that participated in either the NCAA, WNIT or WBI postseason events last season. The league has an opportunity for eight more wins over 2012 postseason teams in the coming weeks.