Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Missouri Valley Conference Preview


A year ago, the Missouri Valley Conference did not have its typical season, where one team is around the top-25 all season long, and several others are in the mix for at-large bids. Despite that, it had an excellent race for the regular-season title, culminating in a split championship between Northern Iowa and Creighton. UNI went 3-3 in its last six league games, while Creighton has won 10 straight overall. Illinois State was the early leader, but could muster just a third-place finish. Bradley was the only other team to finish above .500. UNI won the conference tournament, and fell just short against Purdue in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament. Creighton and Illinois State were relegated to the NIT, with Wichita State reaching the CBI, and Bradley, Drake and Evansville headed for the CIT. Expect another solid season within the conference, and possibly an at-large contender too.

1. Northern Iowa: The Panthers are the favorites to repeat, behind the return of five starters, including Adam Koch and Kwadzo Ahelegbe.
2. Creighton: The Bluejays have reached the postseason in 12 straight seasons, and that will continue this season, led by P'Allen Stinnett.

3. Southern Illinois: Look for the Salukis to get back to title contention, as they return Kevin Dillard and welcome Iowa transfer Tony Freeman.
4. Illinois State: The athletic Redbirds will be led by Player of the Year frontrunner Osiris Eldridge, and seniors Lloyd Phillips and Dinma Odiakosa.

5. Indiana State: The Sycamores struggled last season en route to an eighth-place finish, but Iowa transfer Jake Kelly and Harry Marshall a solid backcourt duo.
6. Bradley: The Braves could be a factor due to the return from injury of Andrew Warren, as well as the presence of guard Sam Maniscalco.
7. Wichita State: The Shockers could finish much better than here thanks to the backcourt duo of Clevin Hannah and Toure Murry.
8. Drake: The Bulldogs took a step back last season after a 2008 league title, and they could struggle again despite all-conference guard Josh Young.
9. Missouri State: The Bears will be led by a host of transfers, including former Eastern Kentucky guard Adam Leonard. Kyle Weems is the top returnee.
10. Evansville: The loss of four starters will leave the Purple Aces in the league's basement; Valparaiso transfer Bryan Bouchie will make an impact.

Player of the Year: Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State

All-Conference Team:
G- Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State
G- Josh Young, Drake
G- P'Allen Stinnett, Creighton
G- Tony Freeman, Southern Illinois
F- Adam Koch, Northern Iowa

Second Team:

G- Kwadzo Ahelegbe, Northern Iowa
G- Harry Marshall, Indiana State
G- Kevin Dillard, Southern Illinois
G- Andrew Warren, Bradley
C- Jordan Eglseder, Northern Iowa

No comments:

Post a Comment