—The Missouri Valley Conference’s league ranking in the NCAA’s latest ratings percentage index is ninth, just behind the Southeastern Conference. Five MVC teams are in the top 100: Creighton (12th), Wichita State (19th), Indiana State (42nd), UE (78th) and Northern Iowa (99th).
—As @MVCFans said Monday, “Engrave the trophies” with Doug McDermott and Cleanthony Early. Creighton’s McDermott won another MVC Player of the Week honor and Wichita State’s Early was again Newcomer of the Week.
—UE senior Colt Ryan this week became the 27th player in MVC history to eclipse 1,800 career points. McDermott should be the next player to reach the mark, and with 1,783 points already he’ll do it as a junior.
1. Creighton (16-1, 5-0): In an otherwise unpredictable league, the Bluejays (12th AP/10th USA Today) are a constant. They rolled to wins last week against Drake and Missouri State, getting a season-high 39 from McDermott against the Bears.
2. Wichita State (15-2, 4-1): The injury-riddled Shockers, who committed 22 turnovers in their loss to UE on Sunday, could hear some good news when senior Carl Hall (13.9 points/7.6 rebounds per game) is evaluated by a doctor in hopes of playing this week.
T2. Evansville (11-6, 4-1): The Aces, on a four-game winning streak, are arguably the hottest team in the league now that the forward Ryan’s back in form. He’s hit the 20-point mark in four of UE’s last five games, and senior Troy Taylor averages just under 10 rebounds in MVC contests.
4. Indiana State (10-6, 3-2): After landing in multiple NCAA tournament projections last week, the Sycamores hit an unlikely road block over the weekend in losing to Southern Illinois. A key to Indiana State’s fortunes: lead at the half. The Sycamores have only come back from a halftime deficit to win twice.
T4. Missouri State (5-12, 3-2): The Bears continue to surprise after going winless against Division I foes in non-conference play. They’ve taken three of their last five, with one of those losses coming to UE in overtime and the other against Creighton.
6. Bradley (10-7, 2-3): With three straight defeats, the Bears are on their longest losing skid of the season. Points in the paint remain important to Bradley, which is 10-1 this season when out-scoring opponents there.
T6. Northern Iowa (9-8, 2-3): The Panthers rebounded from a three-point loss to UE by sinking a school-record 15 3-pointers against Bradley. An 84-53 win marked Northern Iowa’s largest margin of victory this season.
8. Southern Illinois (8-8, 1-4): The under-manned Salukis showed some life in upsetting Indiana State, and it came much thanks to Desmar Jackson. The senior guard scored 29 points, following up on 28 against Wichita State.
T8. Drake (7-9, 1-4): UE’s next opponent scored a surprise victory Saturday in knocking off Illinois State on the road, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Bulldogs’ 3-point shooting returned to form in the game as they went 10 of 24 from beyond the arc.
10. Illinois State (9-8, 0-5): Senior Jackie Carmichael continues to roll with double-doubles in seven of the Redbirds’ last eight games, but that’s about all they have going offensively. Illinois State averages 10 points fewer in MVC games than it did during the non-conference.