▪ I won’t pretend I’ve made a scientific survey of voters regarding All-MVC votes. I’ve talked to a few of the top minds, however, and here’s how I think it might play out:
Wichita State’s Landry Shamet and Markis McDuffie are first-teamers. It appears Conner Frankamp and Shaq Morris, perhaps Darral Willis (who is on the minds of several voters based on his strong start), will land on the second or third teams.
I do not get the sense that WSU’s minutes and stats will hurt. The dominance of the Shockers (and Redbirds) is uppermost on people’s minds, at least those I talked to.
The MVC is doing away with honorable mention and will name a first, second and third team.
Paris Lee and Deontae Hawkins seems locks for Illinois State. How voters handle MiKyle McIntosh, who missed five games with injury, will be interesting. He’s a first-team talent, but his absence may make him a second-team guy to some.
The fifth spot (for voters who can vote for WSU and ISU and assuming it doesn’t go to a Shocker or Redbird) will be the source of much conversation. Jeremy Morgan (UNI), Milton Doyle (Loyola), Alize Johnson (MSU) and Sean O’Brien (SIU) are all possible picks. Evansville’s Jaylon Brown is having a strong season.
While you could make a case for all Shockers/Redbirds on first team, I would bet the fifth spot goes to another school.
▪ Coach of the Year is another debate. I think WSU’s Gregg Marshall is the leader if his team ties with Illinois State. Marshall gets points for winning without Baker and VanVleet. Muller gets points for winning without McIntosh. It appears WSU’s strong finish to the season will sway some voters to Marshall.
▪ Shamet will win Freshman of the Year. Johnson will win Newcomer of the Year.
It’s a weak year for freshmen and a strong one for transfers in the MVC. That list also includes Aundre Jackson at Loyola, Willis, Ryan Taylor at Evansville, SIU’s Thik Bol, Illinois State’s Phil Fayne,Loyola’s Clayton Custer and Jordan Ashton at UNI.
Jackson will likely win 6th Man of the Year. The MVC had to bump up the limit on games started, because of a dearth of candidates, to 30 percent or less (from 25) to qualify, which means WSU’s Rashard Kelly is eligible for the All-Bench team.
▪ I didn’t ask much about All-Improved team. I would think Frankamp is a good candidate for that, as is Kelly.
▪ All-MVC teams come out Tuesday.
▪ The state of Missouri State basketball is summarized in this story. Coach Paul Lusk hits a dejected, discouraged tone.
“I can’t defend the way we performed,” he said on his postgame radio show.
It’s a bad deal. MSU should be one of the top programs in the MVC and the story of the Valley’s struggles run right through JQH Arena.
No. 25 Wichita State
at Missouri State
- When: 11 a.m. Saturday
- Where: JQH Arena, Springfield, Mo.
- Records: WSU 26-4, 16-1 MVC; MSU 16-14, 7-10
- Radio: 103.7-FM
- TV: ESPN2
- Online: ESPN3.com
Wichita State (26-4, 16-1 MVC): WSU won the first meeting 80-62 on Feb. 9. It held the Bears to 37 percent shooting, in part by switching man-to-man defensive assignments to handle Miller and Johnson’s pick-and-pop tendencies. … Morris scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first meeting. Backup big men Rauno Nurger (10 points) and Darral Willis (10) combined with Morris to make 13 of 21 shots. … WSU made 10 of 22 three-pointers. … The Shockers lead the series 40-30 and have won the past 13 meetings, five at JQH Arena.
MSU (16-14, 7-10): Miller missed 9 of 12 shots and scored nine points in the first meeting. Johnson went 4 for 11 from the field and scored 11. F Chris Kendrix came off the bench to score 11 points. The Bears made 7 of 11 threes in the second half and outscored WSU 41-32. … MSU lost seven games by three points or less, one behind nation-leading Mercer. Five of MSU’s close losses came in Valley play. … The Bears can finish fifth, sixth or seventh. … MSU has 253 three-pointers, a team record. They are shooting 37.1 percent behind the arc. … Miller scored a career-high 26 points in Wednesday’s loss at Bradley.
RPI rank as of Saturday: WSU 42, MSU 213