Wichita State, Indiana State and Creighton wake up in a three-way tie for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference. All are 9-4. The Sycamores, after drafting behind the more-publicized Shockers and Bluejays all season, are in position to pass.
Evansville went 13-5 in the MVC in 1999, marking the last time a champion won with more than four losses. The Aces finished two games ahead of Creighton, Missouri State and Bradley, all at 11-7.
WSU is the only one of three with its destiny in its own control. If the Shockers win out, they win the title and won’t share it. The good news ends there for WSU, which must play at Creighton and Indiana State and plays Evansville at home. Indiana State enjoys a favorable remaining schedule. Three of its five remaining MVC games are against teams in 7th, 8th and 9th, plus it gets the Shockers at home and won’t travel for BracketBusters.
Creighton is in the most interesting position. This was supposed to be Creighton’s season to do special things. All remain possible, but the Bluejays increasingly face the weight of expectations. With a Player of the Year candidate among four starters back from last season, Creighton seemed primed to win the MVC and grab a good seed in the NCAA Tournament. It’s going to take a strong finishing kick to do so. Finishing second or third in the MVC means a big disappointment in Omaha. Of the three, Creighton might be in the most fragile position. It takes a two-game losing streak on the road to Northern Iowa on Wednesday and then plays at Evansville on Saturday. Throw in a trip to California for a BracketBusters game against Saint Mary’s and the Bluejays finish with four of their final six on the road.
Creighton – at UNI, at Evansville, SIU, at Saint Mary’s, at Bradley, WSU.
Indiana State – at Missouri State, at Bradley, WSU, Iona, Drake, at Evansville
WSU – Drake, at Illinois State, at Indiana State, Detroit, Evansville, at Creighton