MIssouri Valley

Fred VanVleet, Ka'Darryl Bell

2014 Missouri Valley Tournament Preview: It’s all Wichita

Leave a comment
source: AP
AP

Just our luck, right?

The year that Wichita State just so happens to be coming off of a trip to the Final Four, the season where they just so happen to play like a National Title contender for the first four months of the season also happens to be the year that Creighton leaves the Valley for the Big East.

The teams the Bluejays left behind?

Well, outside of the Shockers, there really isn’t all that much there. In fact, I don’t think that it’s crazy to say that this is as down as the Valley has been in at least a decade, which may make it seem like it should be a cakewalk for Gregg Marshall’s club to take home a title they haven’t won since 1987. They’re playing for something much bigger than an automatic bid: an undefeated season as a No. 1 seed.

That’s a long way from a guarantee, however.

There’s a reason they call it Arch Madness.

(MORE: Browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

The Bracket

When: March 6-9

Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis

Final: March 9, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)

Favorite: Wichita State

The Shockers are one of the best teams in the country, let alone the Valley. They have the three leading contenders for Conference Player of the Year: Ron Baker, Cleanthony Early and Fred Van Vleet, who actually won the award. They’re awesome.

And if they lose?: … Wichita State?

Yeah, they’re that good. All kidding aside, the second best team in this league is Indiana State, a group that has made a run through Arch Madness before and is led by one of the league’s best point guards in Jake Odum. The Sycamores have also picked up a win at Notre Dame already this season.

Sleepers:

  • Northern Iowa: UNI finished in third place in the Valley this season, having won five of their last six games. That includes a win at Indiana State to close out the regular season.
  • Southern Illinois: The Salukis started the season 4-11, but they have turned things around in league play. They won three of their last four and seven of their last ten games.

Studs:

  • Jake Odum, Indiana State: Odum is one of the best mid-major point guards in the country, averaging 13.0 points and 4.6 assists.
  • Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa: Tuttle might be the best front court player in the conference. He averaged 15.4 points and 7.7 boards.
  • Desmar Jackson, Southern Illinois: Jackson averaged 18.6 points, 5.5 boards, 2.4 steals and 2.1 assists for the Salukis.
  • D.J. Balentine, Evansville: Evansville was just 6-12 in the Valley this season, but Balentine averaged 22.3 points and 4.3 assists.

CBT Prediction: Wichita State over Indiana State

2014 combo guard Corey Henderson Jr. commits to Wichita State

Wichita State Shockers head coach Marshall takes part in practice for the NCAA men's basketball Final Four in Atlanta
Leave a comment

With a heart condition ending the career of freshman guard D.J. Bowles, Wichita State was in a position where they needed to add a guard to the program in their 2014 recruiting class. On Sunday the Shockers landed a verbal commitment from 6-foot-3 shooting guard Corey Henderson Jr., who made his decision after officially visiting the Missouri Valley Conference school this weekend.

Henderson is Wichita State’s third commitment in the 2014 class, as he joins 6-foot-7 small forward Zach Brown and 6-foot-6 forward Rashard Kelly. Henderson’s a native of Dallas, where he’s picked up experience at both guard positions playing for his father at the Episcopal School.

Henderson said his son can play both guard positions, although point guard is his main job at Episcopal. He gets most of his points driving to the basket and on mid-range shots. When open, he makes spot-up three-pointers, his father said.

“He’s learned to be more aggressive attacking the basket,” Corey Henderson Sr. said. “They’re getting a really heady player. Great court vision. High IQ. He loves having that ball in his hands.”

When he arrives on campus next year Henderson Jr. will join a backcourt that includes current junior Tekele Cotton, sophomores Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet and freshman Rian Holland. If the small forward position is included the Shockers will lose two contributors after this season in Cleanthony Early and Nick Wiggins, with Early being a preseason favorite for MVC Player of the Year honors.

Here are a few highlights of the versatile guard in action.

Wichita State freshman D.J. Bowles released from the hospital after collapsing in practice

D.J. Bowles
Leave a comment

Good news came this weekend for Gregg Marshall and his Wichita State Shockers.

On Sunday, the university announced that freshman guard D.J. Bowles was released from Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis after collapsing during a practice on Tuesday at Koch Arena.

An incident like this is scary for anybody, but it hits close to home especially for Marshall. On Thursday, in an interview with Rob Dauster, Marshall explained the tragic events he dealt with when Wichita State recruit Guy Alang-Ntang died during a workout in April 2007 at his New Hampshire prep school.

Thankfully, Bowles has seen an improvement in his condition, and the doctors have already ruled out hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as the cause. The school has asked for those to respect the privacy of Bowles and his family, as he continues to undergo tests.

Bowles is a 6-foot-2 guard from Cleveland, Tenn., who committed to the Shockers in November of last year.

2013 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament: Previewing Arch Madness

Doug McDermott
Leave a comment

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_

Doug McDermott scores season-high 41, Creighton wins first MVC title since 2001

Doug McDermott
Leave a comment

It’s only fitting that star junior Doug McDermott would go for a season-high 41 points in Creighton’s 91-80 win over Wichita State Saturday in Omaha, Neb. It was, after all, a winner-take-all game for the Missouri Valley’s regular season title.

With the win, Creighton secures its first conference title since 2001. The Bluejays will now have the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament in St. Louis.

McDermott reached the 30-point plateau for the seventh time, this coming on Senior Day in a year that could be his last at the collegiate level if he chooses to turn pro. Not only were his number gaudy on Saturday, but it’s difficult to find a more efficient  stat line for a player who scored 41 points. McDermott was 15-of-18 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from three-point range and adding six rebounds.

The offensive efficiency for Creighton began with McDemott, but didn’t end there.

As a team, the Bluejays shot 70 percent from the floor, 52 percent from three-point range, and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line. By hitting so many shots, it really gave Wichita State no chance to work its way back.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Missouri Valley tournament should be just as crazy and unpredictable as the regular season was. Remember the regular season? When the same offensive juggernaut that was Creighton Saturday lost three straight? Or when Wichita State did the same? Or when Indiana State or Northern Iowa looked like the team to watch out for in the conference?

The biggest worry, especially for high-major bubble teams, will be if we have some upsets in St. Louis and someone other than Wichita State or Creighton takes home the MVC tournament title and punches its ticket to the Big Dance. Then we’ll be popping some bubbles.

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

Evansville adds second commitment in one day

x35018
1 Comment

Ok, now Marty Simmons is just showing off.

After not having a 2013 recruit that wasn’t related to him, the Evansville head coach snagged his second commitment of the day on Monday in guard Jaylon Brown.

Jonathan Lintner of the Evansville Courier-Press had the story.

The Fishers, Ind. star is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com. Brown is not only the second commitment of the day, but the second point guard. Brown also said he plans on signing in the early signing period in November. The same as Duane Gibson, who committed this afternoon.

It’s a good thing too, since both lead guards Ned Cox and Troy Taylor graduate after this season.

At this rate, Simmons will have his class filled out by, oh, Wednesday?

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten