▪ The Thanksgiving tournament holiday did not go well for the Missouri Valley Conference.
On Wednesday, Wichita State defeated LSU 82-47 early in the afternoon. Good start.
Soon after, George Mason defeated Bradley 77-66. That loss started a streak of 15 losses for the MVC before Illinois State defeated Ferris State 81-67 on Sunday.
That wiped a chunk of the MVC’s opportunity to win helpful neutral-court games. Indiana State lost to Iowa State 73-71 and Stanford 65-62. The Shockers had a chance at Michigan State before losing 77-72. Evansville lost to North Carolina-Wilmington 65-62.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
And there were some losses even more dispiriting — NCAA Division II Alaska-Anchorage defeated Drake 74-69 and winless Quinnipiac beat Indiana State 80-77.
Last week dropped the MVC to 30-28 in non-conference play, 6-14 at neutral sites.
▪ The MVC is No. 15 in the warrennolan.com RPI rankings and No. 10 at kenpom.com. There is time to improve, but the MVC will need a quick and dramatic turn to raise its ranking significantly.
Much of that is on WSU (which has games against Colorado State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State remaining) and Northern Iowa (Iowa, at North Carolina). Both schools need to improve their NCAA at-large resume with strong Decembers.
▪ Other remaining significant games (few of which MVC teams will be expected to win):
Bradley — at Mississippi, at TCU
Drake — Iowa State (Des Moines)
Illinois State — St. Joseph’s, at Diamond Head Classic with Hawaii, Utah, San Diego State as opponents or possible opponents
Indiana State — Butler
Loyola — San Diego State
Missouri State — Valparaiso, Southern Cal (Las Vegas)
Southern Illinois — at Louisville
▪ According to kenpom.com’s defensive efficiency rankings, six MVC teams are in the top 100 (with Evansville No. 105).
The Shockers lead the way at No. 5 nationally, allowing .895 points per possession (average defensive teams allow around 1.02).
The Shockers are the only MVC team in the top 100 of offensive efficiency, sitting at No. 62. Five teams (Evansville, Loyola, Indiana State, Bradley Drake) rank below No. 200.
The MVC coach who can eliminate a few bad shots, a few turnovers or squeeze out a few more baskets has a chance to make a move in January and February.
▪ Loyola is worth another look due to its 5-2 start. The Ramblers haven’t beaten anyone of real note (Washington State is its best win), but playing North Carolina State close on the road seems like a good sign.
Newcomer Aundre Jackson is shooting 77.6 percent from the field and averages 15.7 points a game.
Indiana State may have been some unfortunate whistles away from upsetting Iowa State last week in Orlando. The Sycamores are playing good defense and don’t turn the ball over.
Watching: Cox 122, Time Warner SportsChannel 2 (Kansas City), ESPN3.com (blackouts apply)
Listening: KEYN, 103.7-FM, goshockers.com
Southern Nazarene at Wichita State
- When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
- Where: Koch Arena
- Records: SNU 2-4, WSU 5-2
- Radio: 103.7-FM
- TV: Cox 122
Southern Nazarene at Wichita State
Southern Nazarene (2-4): The game counts as an exhibition for Southern Nazarene. … Starkey, from Hutchinson’s Central Christian, is 35 of 52 (67.3 percent) from the field. He averaged 22.1 points and earned All-Class 1A-Division II honors in 2015. … Portley is 13 of 38 (34.2 percent) from three-point range. The Crimson Storm is shooting 32.1 percent behind the arc and averages 16 turnovers a game. … The Crimson Storm lost 82-81 in overtime at West Texas A&M on Saturday.
Wichita State (5-2): WSU coach Gregg Marshall coaches game No. 600 on Tuesday. … The Shockers held LSU, Louisville and Michigan State to 37.5 percent shooting , 29.7 percent from three-point range in the Battle 4 Atlantis. … Nurger went 3 for 4 from three-point range in the Bahamas and is 5 of 8 this season. In his two previous seasons, he was 6 for 30.