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.