WSU's Graham Hatch dives for a loose ball.Now that the Shockers calmed the panic after the Drake game, it’s time to ask two questions.
Can WSU go unbeaten at home? You can argue the toughest tests are now behind the Shockers. Four games – Indiana State, Evansville, Missouri State and Southern Illinois – remain at Koch Arena. SIU, Indiana State and Evansville are the bottom four teams in the MVC standings. WSU has two unbeaten seasons at Koch Arena – 13-0 in 1965-66 and 15-0 in 1982-83.Can WSU go 7-1 in its eight remaining MVC games? In my mind, 14-4 is where the Shockers (now 7-3) need to be for a realistic shot of winning the MVC title.
One of things that stands out about WSU is its ability to rebound from setbacks. It hasn’t lost two in a row this season. It played poorly on the road at Illinois State and rebounded with five straight wins, including two on the road. It lost a frustrating game at Creighton and rebounded to beat No. 20 Northern Iowa with a solid wire-to-wire effort. It lost an even more frustrating game at Drake and rebounded to beat Illinois State. I expect WSU to learn the lessons from Drake and Creighton and play better on Sunday at SIU. J.T. Durley described the Drake effort (or lack thereof) as this season’s “Missouri State” moment. He is, of course, referring to last season’s embarrassing loss at MSU, an experience that propelled the Shockers to a strong start.Around the Valley
A look at BracketBusters possibilities.Creighton stays close to WSU with a win at Bradley. Josh Jones, picking up some of P’Allen Stinnett’s minutes, scores a career-high 13 points.Bradley lost at home to the Jays for the fourth time in five games. Coach Jim Les blames poor defense.Creighton continued its dominance of the series with Bradley, leaving Peoria Journal-Star columnist Kirk Wessler to define the Braves as mediocre.Missouri State coach Cuonzo Martin isn’t worried about looking good in a win over Evansville.The Aces are 0-10 in the MVC. If they don’t win Sunday at home against Indiana State, going 0-18 becomes a possibility.Northern Iowa stops Drake’s five-game win streak.Indiana State needs to stop its four-game losing streak tonight against SIU.