–Loyola’s Milton Doyle was named both Player and Newcomer of the Week in the Missouri Valley Conference this week, after scoring a Rambler freshman record 32 points in a win over Campbell. His 32 broke Tony Parker Sr.’s previous record of 31 points, set during the 1973-74 season.
–With a win over Tennessee, Wichita State is one of 14 Division-I teams still undefeated. At 10-0, the best start in program history, the Shockers are ranked No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 11 in the AP poll.
–The Missouri Valley Conference schools have combined for 18 losses by less than six points. All five of Loyola’s losses have been close, Indiana State’s two losses have been by a single point, and Evansville has dropped three games by six points or less.
1. Wichita State (10-0): It was obvious the Shockers would sit atop the standings, but possibly not with a flawless record and its highest ranking in program history. Ron Baker and Cleanthony Early are playing well, as predicted, but Tekele Cotton’s career-high 19 points, all in the second half, was the story of Wichita State’s win over Tennessee.
2. Missouri State (8-1): With Marcus Marshall and Keith Pickens back, the Bears are set to take on the defending national champions this week. Marshall, one of eight on the preseason all-MVC first team, is averaging 13.5 points per game.
3. Indiana State (7-2): The Sycamores are off to their best start under Greg Lansing and have won four of five road games so far this season, thanks in part to their league-leading 79.1 points per game.
4. Drake (6-3): Under first-year head coach Ray Giacoletti, the Bulldogs are the surprise team so far in the MVC, but a season-ending injury to senior guard Gary Ricks, Jr. may hurt the team moving forward. Ricks averaged 12.3 points per game while shooting 45 percent from 3-point range, and now a lot of the scoring burden may fall on Richard Carter, the team’s leading scorer at 20.3 points per game.
5. Illinois State (5-4): The Redbirds have one four straight, including a win over then-No. 25 Dayton, thanks to double-digit performances from several of their freshmen. Daishon Knight and Zach Lofton lead Illinois State with 14.4 and 13.2 points per game, respectively.
6. Evansville (6-5): The Aces have lost five of their last six games after starting the season 5-0 and have just one road win, an 84-78 victory at IUPUI last month. Egidijus Mockevicius has been playing well for UE lately, with five consecutive double-figure games, but the rest of the team has struggled.
T7. Bradley (5-5): Like Evansville, the Braves are on a slump, dropping four of their last five games, but Walt Lemon, Jr. is on the rise. With 14 points in Bradley’s Dec. 10 game, he moved to 20th on the Braves’ all-time scoring list.
T7. Loyola (5-5): The Ramblers are a perfect 4-0 at home this season, and the MVC Player/Newcomer of the Week Milton Doyle has shined at home, averaging 23 points per game.
T7. Northern Iowa (5-5): Though the Panthers have underwhelmed, a win against VCU and a close loss to No. 17 Iowa State may have put naysayers to rest. Nate Buss has played well, leading the team with 14.4 points per game and the leagues second-best field goal percentage (65.7 percent).
10. Southern Illinois (2-7): Desmar Jackson is the league’s second-leading scorer (20.4 points per game) and at 1,454 career points, has the highest total of any active player in the MVC. Aside from him, the Salukis are hoping for their third win when they travel to Murray State Tuesday.