MVC Basketball: Weekly Notebook & Awards

February 16th, 2009

Three league teams still have a shot at the league's regular-season title.  UNI (12-3), Creighton (11-4), and Illinois State (10-5) are the only schools mathematically alive for a regular-season crown and No. 1 tournament seed.  Notes on the leaders ....

?•?UNI needs one more conference win to earn the most league victories it has ever had.  This year’s club is tied with the 2003-04 team with 12 conference wins.  That team tied for second in the Valley and won the State Farm MVC Tournament.  UNI has league games remaining against Drake, at Illinois State, and against Evansville.
?•? Creighton has 20 or more wins for 11-straight years and has 10 or more league victories for 13-straight years -- both marks extend CU's Missouri Valley records.  Creighton has Evansville, at Missouri State, and Illinois State remaining.
?•?Illinois State has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1996-97 and 1997-98.   Since joining the Valley in 1981-82, the Redbirds have had 10 or more league wins 14 times (including this year).  Illinois State plays Wichita State, UNI, and at Creighton to close the league season.

For a comprehensive printed version of the weekly MVC release (which includes school-by-school results and notes), please click on the downloadable PDF link near the bottom of the this page.

State Farm Missouri Valley Player of the Week
Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State, Jr., 6-3, Gd., Chicago (Ill.) Phillips Academy?
? Eldridge led Illinois State to a pair of road victories last week, scoring the game-winning shot at Evansville and posting his fourth double-double of the season at Drake.  Eldridge led the Redbirds in scoring in each game last week, averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game.  At Evansville, Eldridge drove the lane and laid the ball off the backboard with one second remaining.  Surprisingly, that served as Eldridge's first-ever career game-winning field goal at any basketball level.  Against the Bulldogs, Eldridge poured in 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead ISU to a 22-point road victory at the Knapp Center.

Newcomer of the Week
Toure' Murry, Wichita State, Fr., 6-4, Gd., Houston (Texas) Klein Forest High
? Murry averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and made his second game-winning shot of the season when he hit a trey with five seconds remaining against Missouri State in a 62-61 Wichita State victory. Against Missouri State, he scored a career-high 23 points, including the game-winner, on 9 of 16 shooting. For the week, he shot 45.8 percent from the field and made six-of-eight free throws in the two wins, one that was against league-leading Northern Iowa, snapping the Panthers eight-game road winning streak in league play.

?In addition to the league’s player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:

  • Tony Boyle, SIU -- Scored a career-high 20 points at UNI and averaged 16.0 ppg for the week.
  • Justin Carter, CU -- Averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.0 assists as Creighton picked up two double-digit wins last week.
  • Jonathan Cox, DU -- Averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in two games last week.
  • Jordan Eglseder, UNI -- Averaged 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last week for the Panthers, while averaging just 15 minutes per game.
  • Shy Ely, UE -- Scored 24 vs. Illinois State and 20 vs. BU to increase his league-leading scoring average to 17.7, the highest it's been since early January.
  • Rashad Reed, INS -- Averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and three assists per game for the Sycamores in two wins last week.
  • Harry Marshall, INS -- Averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game in two wins for the Sycamores last week.  Marshall shot 52.6 percent from the field (10-for-19).
  • Jordan Printy, INS -- At MSU, grabbed a career-high seven rebounds and dished out a career-high five assists to go along with 10 points.
  • Chris Roberts, BU -- Averaged 11.5 ppg and adding 4.0 rpg and 1.0 spg as the Braves split a pair of games last week.
  • Jay Tunnell, INS -- Averaged 19.0 points per game and shot 70 percent from the field (14-for-20) in two wins for the Sycamores.
  • Kyle Weems, MSU -- Averaged 16.0 points in two games last week while extending his team-best streak to five-straight double-digit scoring games.
  • Theron Wilson, BU -- Had one of the best all-around games of his two-year Bradley career in Saturday’s win against Evansville:  26 points, seven rebounds, a career-best five assists and two steals.
  • Booker Woodfox, CU -- Averaged 16.5 points and 1.5 steals per game as Creighton defeated Bradley (79-65) and Southern Illinois (82-60) by double-digits last week. He made 54.5 percent of his shots from the field (12-22).

Can I See Your ID?
?Creighton and Illinois State are two of the 17 schools with 21 or more wins this year (thru 2/15).

Wins (School) 
25 -- Oklahoma
24 -- Connecticut, Utah State
23 -- Dayton, North Carolina, Pittsburgh
22 -- Missouri, Memphis, Butler, Davidson
21 -- Creighton, Illinois State, Xavier, Marquette, Illinois,Niagara, LSU

MVC Champs = NCAA
?Including Drake last year, 15-straight Missouri Valley regular-season champions have reached the NCAA tournament.  Illinois State (1992-93) was the last to win the league’s regular-season crown and not make it.  Drake is the first Valley team since 1998 (Illinois State that year) to sweep the regular-season and tournament titles.

Shockers Rolling
?Wichita State is looking to make history, recent history, anyway.  In the last 50 seasons, 23 teams have started a conference season with 0-6 records or worse.  All of the previous 22 finished last, second to last (or tied for second-to-last) in the MVC standings.  WSU started the 2008-09 league campaign at 0-6 and has won seven of its past nine to move into a tie for fifth (7-8).

Going for No. 500
?Now in its 57th year of MVC membership, Bradley enters Tuesday’s game against Missouri State with a 499-374 (.572) all-time league record.  Drake, which was a charter Valley member in 1907 and is playing its 97th MVC season overall, owns the record for the most MVC victories with 511.

Busting the Brackets
?The Valley has had good success in games resulting from the ESPNU BracketBusters concept.  Overall, the Valley is 33-20 in previous games (which includes a 19-9 record in televised games).

New and Improved
?Five different newcomers have led Wichita State in scoring this year.  A newcomer has led the Shockers in scoring in 21 of 26 games.  That figure (21 games with a first-year player as the top scorer) leads the nation.  WSU has won seven of their past nine league games after an 0-6 start.