—Missouri Valley Conference teams went a combined 75-42 (64.1 percent) during their pre-conference schedule. The lone non-conference games left this season come in February during the BracketBusters Challenge, in which all 10 MVC teams participate.
—Creighton and Wichita State are two of 24 teams left in Division I that have none or one loss. The five undefeated teams left are Arizona, Cincinnati, Duke, Michigan, and Wyoming.
—With 210 total points scored, Creighton junior Doug McDermott is tied with Virginia Tech’s Erik Green for most nationally.
1. Creighton (11-1): Ranked 12th in the USA Today coaches poll and 16th by The Associated Press, the Bluejays have won five straight since their only loss this season, Nov. 28 to Boise State as part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.
2. Wichita State (11-1): The Shockers are receiving votes in both national polls. Since losing to Tennessee, Wichita State has bounced back with two consecutive victories entering league play despite a number of key injuries.
3. Illinois State (9-3): The Redbirds took their three deafeats consecutively in non-conference play to Northwestern (four losses), Louisville (one loss) and Wyoming (unbeaten). Senior Jackie Carmichael averages 18.3 points per game and 8 rebounds, while senior Tyler Brown tallies 17.3 points a game.
4. Bradley (8-4): The Braves compiled a winning record much thanks to a weak schedule, but anything is an improvement over last season’s 7-25 result. Bradley turns the ball over just 12 times a game, and three players average double figures for the team that scores 71 points per contest.
5. Indiana State (7-4): The Sycamores had, by all measures, a successful trip to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic. Junior Jake Odum hit a game-winner for Indiana State over Miami in a nationally televised Christmas night game, capping a 2-1 tournament that also included a win over Mississippi and close loss to ranked San Diego State.
6. Southern Illinois (7-4): The Salukis’ first three league games will tell a lot about their standing in the MVC this season. Southern Illinois opens with contests against Missouri State, Bradley and Evansville, all win-able but also a stretch that could leave the Salukis’ record at .500.
7. Evansville (7-5): The Aces went o-fer in their marquee non-conference matchups, though they do typically keep games close. Senior Colt Ryan continues to improve off a hip pointer injury — he had 25 points against Butler — and guards Ned Cox and D.J. Balentine also average in double figures for a UE team that features one of the nation’s best assist-to-turnover ratios.
8. Northern Illinois (7-5): The Panthers figure to be better than their record suggests, and they finally notched a notable win Sunday over Saint Mary’s. Four players — Deon Mitchell, Anthony James, Seth Tuttle and Seth Koch — average double figures.
9. Drake (6-5): Although they came against North Carolina Central and Eastern Illinois, the Bulldogs’ last two victories have them on a winning streak for the first time this season.
10. Missouri State (2-10): The Bears still don’t have a win over a Division I foe, and that may not change soon in MVC play.