Creighton lost to Northern Iowa, 61-54, on the road Wednesday night for its third straight loss and dropping the Bluejays into a tie for second place in the Missouri Valley.
We’ve seen every contender at the top of the MVC go through its own struggles. Wichita State lost three in a row before bouncing back with two straight wins. Indiana State has yet to put together more than a two-game winning streak in conference play and is fresh off a loss Tuesday to Missouri State. Now Creighton, featuring perhaps the National Player of the Year in Doug McDermott, is in a hole.
It’s a blessing and curse for tough mid-major conferences. On one hand, parity is a good thing. It makes for a more interesting conference slate. Games are more competitive. We see some good upsets.
The NCAA tournament selection committee could see it differently, though.
As more Missouri Valley teams knock each other off, losses start piling up on resumes that really can’t afford when viewed in the larger scope of the field of 68 in the NCAA tournament. As the conference slate begins to come down the home stretch, a three-game losing streak by Wichita State or Creighton won’t look good for an at-large bid if Indiana State ultimately wins the conference.
The same can be said for any of the either two, depending who wins the conference. Northern Iowa is still in the mix too, with a favorable schedule coming up.
Right now, the league looks competitive enough to have at least one at-large bid in addition to the conference tournament champion, but that could change. We wanted a competitive Missouri Valley race. We’re getting it. For all that, though, it might only be hurting the very teams vying for an NCAA bid.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.