Jim Connell of the Springfield News-Leader takes a look at Missouri State basketball and how its fall from 2011 compares with Wichita State’s rise.
“As Missouri State tries to escape from the depths of the Valley and assert itself as a relevant player in the conference, Wichita State’s journey could provide something of a blueprint,” Connell writes. “The result, if done correctly, could mark a seismic shift in attitude and civic pride that resonates throughout the Ozarks. It could not only bring Missouri State athletics back, but send it to new heights.”
Without question, the recent struggles of Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Bradley are major stories in the MVC.
From 1992-2008, Bradley spent seven of those 17 seasons in the top 100 of the RPI, twice falling below 200. Since the 2008-09 season, Bradley finished in the top 100 once and below 200 five times.
Missouri State reached the top 100 nine times in those 17 seasons, with a low of 175. Since 2008-09, it’s finished in the top 100 three times and below 200 three times.
SIU finished in the top 100 12 times in those 17 seasons. Since, not once.
From a resources and history standpoint, the Valley is getting above-average production from schools such as Evansville and Indiana State. For the conference to improve, schools such as MSU, Bradley and SIU need to return to past standards.
MSU didn’t built 11,000-seat JQH Arena, a Valley fan must hope, to finish in the bottom half. All three of those schools demonstrate signs of a solid commitment to basketball; the results aren’t following in recent seasons.
While football isn’t mentioned in the story, its influence must be considered. No doubt, MSU athletic director Kyle Moats is reading this story and thinking “Sure, I could do a lot of big things for basketball if I didn’t need to spend money on FCS football.”