MVC Weekly Notebook

    
November 17th, 2008
In recent seasons, the Missouri Valley Conference has had great success at home in non-conference play, and the league is at it again, recording a 7-1 home start in the first week of the season.  In the past four seasons (not counting this year), the league has combined for a 226-33 (.873) mark at home in non-conference play.  The results have translated into 20 post-season bids (including 10 NCAA trips, nine NITs and a CBI entry).

State Farm Missouri Valley Players of the Week
P'Allen Stinnett, Creighton, So., 6-3, Gd., Las Vegas (Nev.) Brewster Academy [N.H.]
? Stinnett scored a career-high 30 points, including 21 in the second half, as Creighton rallied from a late double-digit deficit to post an 82-75 win over a New Mexico team that returned four starters from a 24-9 team a year ago. Stinnett scored 21 of his 30 points after half, including back-to-back three pointers on consecutive possessions in the final 90 seconds that gave CU its first lead since 4-2.  His 30 points were the most by a Bluejay in a season-opener since Bob Harstad scored 38 on Nov. 30, 1990, and six more than his previous personal best of 24 last winter against UNI.  He shot 11-for-16 from the field, including 3-of-6 from downtown, as well as 5-of-8 at the line. He also contributed four rebounds, an assist and steal while holding New Mexico's leading scorer Tony Danridge (23 points) without a shot attempt in the final 8:26.
 
Newcomer of the Week
Dodie Dunson, Bradley, Jr., 6-3, Gd., Bloomington (Ill.) High [Vincennes Univ.]
? Dunson was Bradley's leading scorer in each of the season's first two games, highlighted by his career-best 21 points in Friday's 67-61 win against UIC.  By following up with 15 points Sunday at #19 Florida, Dunson is averaging 18.0 points per game.  He also is averaging 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in his first two Bradley games and has committed just three turnovers in a team-best 74 minutes.  Dunson scored the first seven points of Bradley's season, as well as seven straight during a 9-0 Bradley run that gave the Braves a 61-50 lead with just 1:07 left against the Flames.

 

Long-Range Bombers
?It's difficult to tell if the new three-point line (20'-9") is having an impact.  Through the first week of the season, though, the league has converted on just 32.2 percent of its three-point tries (74-of-230).   Last year, the league-wide season percentage was 35.6 (2,322-of-6,525).  Missouri State leads the league with its 47.8 percent accuracy (11-of-23).

Salukis Take on Duke
?Southern Illinois and Duke will meet for just the fourth time when they square off this week in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic. SIU beat the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden during its NIT Championship run in 1967.  Duke has beaten Southern twice, most recently a 105-70 thrashing in the 1993 NCAA Tournament -- a game in which coach Chris Lowery was the Salukis' starting point guard.  The game will be televised on ESPN2 (on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 6 pm CT).

MVC Against the Top 25
?This year, The Valley is 0-1 against top-25 teams (Bradley lost at No. 19 Florida on Sunday, Nov. 16).  Last year, The Valley had a 2-8 mark against top-25 non-conference foes.  In both 2005-06 and 2006-07, the MVC posted six non-conference wins each year against nationally ranked teams.

Happy Returns
?Three contests this week are 'return' games as a result of the ESPNU BracketBusters series:  (Missouri State/Central Michigan; UNI/Illinois-Chicago; Creighton/Oral Roberts).  Last year, Valley schools went a combined 8-2 in the 10 games as part of the series.  Since the event started in 2003, Valley schools have a combined 65-33 record in games scheduled as a part of the series (33-20 in BBS games, and 32-13 in the returns).  Illinois State (6-0), Missouri State (4-0) and Wichita State (4-0) have never lost a return BBS game. 

Returning to Florida
?Bradley will have the entire week off before making a return trip to the Sunshine State for the final three games of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic.  Including Sunday's loss at #19 Florida in the first round of the CBE Classic, Bradley is 3-3 all-time in the state of Florida.  The Braves will face Nov. 24, Ft. Myers Sub-Regional host Florida Gulf Coast Nov. 25 and Richmond Nov. 26.

Dynamic Duo, Part II?
?From 1987-91, Creighton big men Bob Harstad and Chad Gallagher were known as the "Dynamic Duo."  Both men were named MVC Player of the Year (Harstad in 1990, Gallagher in 1991) and finished their careers first and second in school history for points scored.  It's still quite early, but the Jays had quite the dynamic duo in the season-opening win over New Mexico when P'Allen Stinnett (30) and Booker Woodfox (26) both lit up the Lobos.  The current duo ranks 1-2 in the MVC in scoring, and became the first Bluejay pair to score 25 points or more in the same game in the Dana Altman era.  CU hadn't had that happen since, you guessed it, Gallagher (29) and Harstad (26) did it against Bradley on Jan. 21, 1991.  The last time the league had two players score 25 points or more in the same game was on 3/1/08 when Bradley's Daniel Ruffin (30) and Jeremy Crouch (29) did it against Creighton.

Making an Impact
?All three of UNI’s starting guards against Denver were not even on the active roster a year ago, and each had an impact in the win against the Pioneers.  True freshman point guard Johnny Moran had 14 points, 10 rebounds and two assists; junior college transfer Ali Farokhmanesh had 13 points; and sophomore guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe (who missed the entire 2007-08 season with a shoulder injury) had three points and a team-high five assists.

MVC Against the BCS
?This year, the MVC has an 0-2 record against members of BCS-football leagues (0-0 at home, 0-0 neutral, 0-2 away).  Last year, the league went 13-13 against BCS schools, which included an 8-3 home mark.  In 2006-07, The Valley was 17-14 against teams from BCS-football conferences.  Notably, only six of those 31 meetings that year were on MVC homecourts. 

vs. Conference (Valley Wins)
vs. ACC 0-0
vs. Big East 0-0
vs. Big Ten 0-0
vs. Big 12 0-0
vs. Pac-10 0-0 
vs. SEC 0-2
TOTALS 0-2
 
Good Against the Rest
? The Missouri Valley combined for an 85-46 (.649) record in non-conference play.  That ranks sixth-best in the last 25 years (not counting this year).  In those six years of .649 or better in that span, the league produced 28 post-season teams, including 16 NCAA Tournament teams.  The current non-league start of 8-3 (.727) would rank No. 6 all-time and is the best in 46 seasons.

MVC In Select Company
?Every Valley team has reached the NCAA Tournament since 1998.  Only the ACC, Mountain West, Pac-10 and SEC have had every member qualify for the Big Dance in that span.

Catch Us On the Tube
?The Valley will produce a 36-telecast, in-house television package on Fox Sports Midwest in 2008-09.  An additional 22 telecasts will be shown on the ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports.  Counting institutional packages, the league will have at least 121 games on national, regional, or local television.  Approximately 100 games (some of which are also institutional broadcasts) are available as part of the league's videostream package, which includes all non-televised MVC TV network home games from eight of the league's 10 schools.

Fans Love the MVC
?The league had a solid first week of the season on the court, and in the stands.  Three league teams drew better than 10,000 in their home openers including Bradley (10,034), Creighton (16,107), and Wichita State (10,301).