Doug McDermott

2013 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament: Previewing Arch Madness

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The Missouri Valley Conference has been perhaps the most competitive and unpredictable league in the country. That speaks to the parity of the conference’s members, but makes only one thing certain in this tournament: there will be chaos. Check out a preview below:

(CLICK HERE to browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

The Bracket

Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Mo.

When: March 7-10

Final: March 10, 1:05 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Favorite: Creighton

National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott has been one of the most valuable players in the country and he’ll continue to show what makes him so important in this tournament. He dropped 41 points on Wichita State to win the regular season title. But don’t forget about Creighton’s supporting cast, either. Gregory Echenique, Ethan Wragge, and Grant Gibbs, plus the rest of this rotation make Creighton the favorite.

And if they lose? Wichita State

The Shockers lost out on a chance to win the regular season title because of McDermott’s 40-point performance, but they are still dangerous in this tournament. Cleanthony Early is an all-conference player and Carl Hall is his complement in the frontcourt. Wichita State needs production from point guard Malcolm Armstead, too, considering the strong backcourts at the top of this conference.

Sleeper: Northern Iowa

In a league of chaos, Northern Iowa has picked up steam down the stretch. The Panthers have won seven of their last nine, including an eight-point win over Illinois State to finish the regular season. They face Illinois State again in the first round.

Other Studs:

– Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State

Carmichael has an NBA-sized body and is putting up numbers like he is ready for the next level, too. Illinois State will need some consistent double-doubles from him to make a push toward the automatic bid.

– Jake Odum, Indiana State

Odum first came into the national spotlight when his last-second shot lifted the Sycamores over Miami in Hawaii, but he has continued to produce in conference play. He is averaged 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game, including a 20, 6, and 5 night in the regular season finale against Evansville.

– Colt Ryan, Evansville

Evansville comes into the MVC tournament riding a four-game winning streak and Ryan is a big reason why. He averaged 28 points per game over that span, which included wins over Indiana State and Wichita State. On the season, he is averaging 20 points and 4.1 assists per game.

CBT Prediction: Just as he took over the regular season finale against Wichita State to win the league title for his team, Doug McDermott will take over the MVC tournament championship game and get Creighton the automatic bid.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.