Dates: March 3-6
Site: St. Louis, MO
Outlook: The Missouri Valley turned into a two-team race by the end of the season, as both Wichita State and Missouri State pulled away from the pack. In fact, the way the schedule ended up working out, the Bears beat the Shockers on the last day of the regular season to win the conference title.
Led by MVC player of the year Kyle Weems, a versatile, 6’7″ forward with a face-up game, the Bears are not deep, but their top seven are quite talented. Nafis Ricks is the creator, Jermaine Mallet is the slasher, Will Creekmore is the bruiser, and Adam Leonard is the sharpshooter.
Wichita State is your prototypical MVC team. They are deep, they are balanced, and they are experienced. JT Durley heads up a talented front line, and while Toure’ Murry has not had the break out year some expected, David Kyles has turned into a dangerous perimeter threat.
Indiana State has been competitive all year long and should have forward Carl Richard back for Arch Madness. Northern Iowa faded down the stretch after Lucas O’Rear broke his ankle, finishing in a tie for fourth in the league with Creighton.
Championship game: March 7, 1:05 pm on CBS
Player to watch: Doug McDermott, Creighton
This freshman is just getting his career started. The son of head coach Gregg McDermott, Doug was originally slated to play for Ben Jacobson at Northern Iowa, but once his dad took the gig with the Bluejays, he followed suit. Playing along side Gregory Echinique and Kenny Lawson up front, McDermott averaged 14.3 ppg and 7.6 rpg.
Champion: Wichita State
I like their balance. I like their experience. And I think they are the best team in the conference. I also don’t see the Bears, who won both games against the Shockers in the regular season, beating WSU three times.