The league's 90-game conference slate begins on Thursday, Jan. 3, with three games on the calendar. On Friday, Jan. 4, Illinois State will host UNI in the first of six regular-season league games on the MVC TV Network this season.
Quick Starts Crucial
Since 1983-83, just three teams (Missouri State, champions in 1998-99, 1994-95 and 1990-91; Drake, champions in 1996-97 and co-champions in 1987-88; and Evansville, a 2007-08 co-champion) have won at least a share of the regular-season title without winning its regular-season opener. In fact, nine of the last 13 regular-season champs (or co-champs) have opened 2-0 or better in MVC play, with Evansville in 2007-08, Missouri State in 2004-05, UNI in 2010-11 and Missouri State in 2011-12 serving as the only three exceptions.
The league has had eight different regular-season champions in the past 10 seasons (CU/ILS-2003, MSU-2004, MSU-2005, INS-2006, SIU-2007, DU/UE/ILS-2008, ILS-2009, ILS-2010, UNI-2011 and MSU-2012).
The RPI Report
The Missouri Valley Conference moved up two spots to the No. 9 position in the latest (Dec. 30) Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report. As a league, the Valley has the 10th-best strength of schedule, its best of the season, up two spots from the previous report.
Three in the RPI's Top-75
Three Valley teams rank in the RPI’s Top-75, led by Creighton at No. 19. Missouri State (74) and Illinois State (75) also represent the MVC among the nation’s top teams in the RPI.
The Missouri Valley Conference completed its regular-season non-conference schedule with a record of 59-55 (.518). The Valley has posted non-conference records above .500 in 17 of the last 21 seasons, and have not recorded back-to-back below .500 seasons since 1992.
Let's Take a Closer Look
The Valley’s 59-55 non-conference record is a bit deceiving with 24 of those defeats (44 %) coming at the hands of the six BCS conferences - the ACC, Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC - leagues with composite winning percentages above .731.
Lost in Translation
Of the MVC’s 52 losses in non-conference action, 32 (.582) have come against teams in the RPI’s Top-100.
Against the Field
The MVC holds a winning record against 13 leagues in non-conference play (ACC, Atlantic-10, 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 three (Big East, Big South, Big West, Mid-Eastern, 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 (4-0), SWAC (2-0) and the WAC (2-0).
Topping Postseason Teams
To date, MVC teams have 16 wins against teams that participated in either the NCAA, WNIT or WBI postseason events last season, including 11 on road or neutral floors.