Ten things I learned from browsing the Missouri Valley Conference basketball media guides (Which are fabulous, by the way. The MVC guides do a nice job documenting the conference’s place in history).
1. When coach Gregg Marshall started at Wichita State in 2007-08, the Shockers trailed in six of the nine series against MVC opponents.
The Shockers start this season leading six of the nine, after overtaking Illinois State (now 41-39), Missouri State (39-30) and switching Creighton for Loyola (7-0 in MVC games).
In 2007-08, WSU ranked sixth among MVC members with a .501 winning percentage (457-456) in MVC games. WSU ranks fourth now with a .534 win percentage (.574-501).
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The Shockers cut Bradley’s 12-game lead to three (71-68) and Southern Illinois’ eight-game edge to three (48-45). Northern Iowa, which led the series by two in 2008, is up 28-26 after winning two of three meetings last season.
WSU leads Bradley 14-1 since 2010; SIU 13-2 and UNI 8-7.
2. Missouri State averaged 6,000 or more fans every season except one from 1990-91 to 2013-14, averaging 7,000 or more in 13 of those seasons. Last season, the Bears drew an average of 4,140 fans to JQH Arena.
3. Wichita State women’s coach Jody Adams owns three NCAA Tournament appearances at her current school, which is as many as the other nine MVC coaches own combined.
4. Indiana State men’s coach Greg Lansing is the first Sycamores coach with a record (109-86) above .500 since Bill Hodges (61-24) from 1978-82.
Lansing is 60-48 in MVC games, the only Sycamore coach with a winning record other than Bob King, who went 11-5 in his one season (1977-78) as coach in the Valley.
5. Drake trails the series vs. all other MVC members, six by double digits.
6. MVC schools in despair should look at Northern Iowa for inspiration.
The Panthers finished fifth or lower (usually lower) in 11 of its first 12 seasons as an MVC member. Starting in 2003-04 (two seasons after Greg McDermott took over as coach), the Panthers finished third or better eight times, winning titles in 2009 and 2010 and playing in seven NCAA Tournaments.
The right coach and the right decisions make a difference.
7. MVC women’s basketball last placed two teams in the top 50 of the RPI in 2001-02 (No. 21 Drake, No. 47 Creighton). WSU is the only current member to finish in the top 50 (No. 42 in 2014-15) since 2010-11 (No. 41 Northern Iowa).
8. UNI’s Jeremy Morgan averaged 18 points in five 2015-16 post-season games, making 26 of 49 shots and 14 of 27 three-pointers.
9. Wichita State lost Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, the third pair of teammates in modern MVC history to earn All-MVC honors three times.
Louisville went 20-8 in 1975-76 after losing Junior Bridgeman and Allen Murphy and did not play in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals won 23, 21 and 28 games in the three previous seasons.
Memphis went 19-11 in 1973-74 and did not play in the NCAA Tournament after losing Larry Finch and Ronnie Robinson. The Tigers won 18, 21 and 24 games in the three previous seasons.
10. Marshall ranks sixth among MVC coaches in win percentage in conference games at 72.2 percent (117-45). Four of the five coaches ahead of him (Denny Crum, Phog Allen, Henry Iba, A.A. Schabinger) are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Marshall’s 230 wins at WSU rank fifth, behind Hall of Famers Iba (486) and Eddie Hickey (337), in addition to Dana Altman (327) and Barry Hinson (231).
Marshall’s win percentage of 73 percent in all games (230-85) ranks ninth in the MVC, behind four members of the Hall (Crum, Allen, Nolan Richardson, Iba) and Ed Jucker (who won two NCAA titles at Cincinnati), Chuck Orsborn (who won three NIT titles at Bradley), Louisville’s John Dromo and Forddy Anderson (who coached at Drake and took Bradley to the NCAA runner-up finishes in 1950 and 1954).
Marshall’s career winning percentage is 71.6 over 18 seasons. His teams win at an 80.8-percent clip over the past seven.