—UE plays in one of two leagues so far with two 18-win teams: The Big 10 Conference and Missouri Valley Conference. Wichita State has 19, tied for the most in Division I with Gonzaga, while Creighton has 18.
—The MVC on Monday named Jackie Carmichael its player of the week after senior forward went for 24 points and 14 rebounds against the Aces on Saturday. Missouri State freshman Gavin Thurman is the league’s newcomer of the week off a career-high 21-point performance in the Bears’ loss to Wichita State.
—For the third week this year, the MVC has two top 25 teams. They are Wichita State (15th AP/14th coaches) and Creighton (21st AP/17th coaches).
1. Wichita State (19-2, 8-1): Since returning from a thumb injury, senior Carl Hall is averaging 10.3 points and 8.9 rebounds off the bench. The Shockers have reeled off four straight wins after their Jan. 13 loss at UE.
2. Creighton (18-3, 7-2): If the last week demonstrated anything, it’s that the Bluejays aren’t untouchable. Creighton got back to its winning ways with a 30-point win Sunday over Southern Illinois, but that came only after consecutive losses to Wichita State (67-64) and drake (74-69).
3. Indiana State (13-7, 6-3): The Sycamores notched a one-point win over Northern Iowa on Saturday thanks to a late foul on Jake Odum’s 3-point attempt. Indiana State held on at home to avoid an 0-2 week, with the other loss to Illinois State.
4. Evansville (12-8, 5-4): UE shoots 46.2 percent in wins and makes 34.7 percent of its 3-pointer attempts. But in losses, those numbers drop to 39.1 percent shooting and just 25.4 percent from beyond the arc.
T5. Bradley (12-9, 4-5): The Braves can move to .500 in conference play for the first time this season, but they’ll have to beat surging Illinois State — a geographic rival — to do so. The Redbirds have won the last seven I-74 rivalry games.
T5. Northern Iowa (11-10, 4-5): The Panthers have lost just two of their 10 games by double digits, a stat that speaks volumes when you consider the schedule has included four ranked teams along with Wichita State when the Shockers weren’t yet in the top 25.
T5. Missouri State (6-15, 4-5): Bears coach Paul Lusk started four freshmen alongside senior Anthony Downing when Missouri State knocked off Drake on Sunday. It marked the first time in the program’s history four freshmen started a game.
T8. Illinois State (12-9, 3-6): Senior Jackie Carmichael’s performance against UE marked the forward’s 30th career double-double and 10th of the season. Defensively, the Redbirds have allowed 58.7 points per game in three straight victories as compared to the 74 points given up in the six losses beforehand.
T8. Drake (9-11, 3-6): The Bulldogs’ bench accounted for 43 points in its upset win over Creighton before Drake came back days later and lost to Missouri State.
10. Southern Illinois (8-12, 1-8): The Salukis are right where the MVC’s preseason poll predicted they’d be — last — but under first-year coach Barry Hinson, Southern Illinois will surpass its win total for all of last season with one more victory.