Bradley (5-27, 3-15 MVC)
Peoria Journal Star: The most significant battle has been at point guard where a pair of freshmen — Australian Jayden Hodgson and Memphis-area native Darrell Brown — have made strong impressions. The position was the most glaring weakness last year.
Peoria Journal Star: (Ryan) Stipanovich, the nephew of former Missouri and NBA standout Steve Stipanovich, chose BU over scholarship offers from Evansville, North Dakota, Oral Roberts, Eastern Illinois, Wyoming, SIU-Edwardsville, IUPUI and Vermont as well as strong interest from other Missouri Valley Conference schools such as Indiana State, Missouri State and Southern Illinois.
Peoria Journal Star: Other games of note include back-to-back road games at Mississippi (Dec. 19) and TCU (Dec. 21), plus a Nov. 29 trip to Charleston to face Eastern Illinois.
Drake (7-24, 2-16)
Des Moines Register: With fewer prospects in mind for 2017, Drake has taken its shots seriously. Illinois point guards Teyvion Kirk and Tai Bibbs picked up spring offers and have already been to Des Moines for visits. Trae Berhow is a top wing target from Watertown, Minn., and got to see Drake’s impressive and bright Shivers Basketball Practice Facility up close with a June team camp.
Evansville (25-9, 12-6)
Evansville Courier & Press: Ryan Taylor was one of the best scorers in the Missouri Valley Conference last season. Actually, he was all of the best scorers, save for Evansville teammate D.J. Balentine. One week he would be Wichita State’s Ron Baker. The next he would be Indiana State’s Brenton Scott. Another time, he might mimic Illinois State’s DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell.
Evansville Courier & Press: Evansville opens its season Nov. 11 at the University of Louisville, a nationally recognized program that won the 2013 NCAA championship. The Aces also host a pair of Division III opponents at the Ford Center – Wabash College on Nov. 30 and Mount St. Joseph University on Dec. 22.
Illinois State (18-14, 12-6)
The Pantagraph: “One time I was here at 11:45 p.m. and the cops came and said, ‘What are you doing here this late?’ “ he recalled. “I said I was on the team getting some shots. They were surprised and had to call coach (Dan Muller).”
The Pantagraph: Games against at least three teams — Tulsa, Saint Joseph’s and Hawaii — that qualified for the NCAA tourney highlight ISU’s nonconference schedule.
Indiana State (15-17 8-10)
Terre Haute Tribune Star: When you talk to Indiana State forward Bronson Kessinger, your first impression might be that he’s relatively quiet and a reserved sort. And that wouldn’t be a wrong observance. It’s doubtful that Kessinger will ever project as a me-first, flashy kind of player.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Complicating matters for ISU is that it’s not in a position to “buy” teams into Hulman Center. Every other team in the league “buys” games against winnable teams every year, but ISU’s budget doesn’t allow for it. It means ISU has to compromise and, perhaps, play some games it might not have. To wit, ISU will play Northern Illinois in a home-and-home series and the Sycamores will open the season in DeKalb, Ill. on Nov. 11 and the return game is on Nov. 30 at Hulman Center.
Loyola (15-17, 7-11)
Chicago Sun-Times: But in an old school recruitment where sincerity and consistency mattered, it was the school and coaching staff that was on him the longest and hardest that won out. (Cameron) Krutwig, one of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in the Class of 2017, committed to Loyola and coach Porter Moser Tuesday morning.
CSNChicago: (Porter) Moser is happy with the strides that (Milton) Doyle has made this summer as he’s added over 10 pounds of muscle to now play at 192 pounds. Also committed on the defensive end of the floor and being a team leader, Doyle is the Ramblers’ only senior this season, so he’ll be counted on to be a productive presence.
Missouri State (13-19, 8-10)
Springfield News-Leader: While ordering tickets and making nonrefundable hotel reservations for the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament is a bit rash, here’s what can be taken away from the 3-0 visit to paradise. They can score.
Springfield News-Leader: “I’m not messing with the water, man, there’s too many great whites out there,” (Dequon) Miller said Monday. “I’m not fooling with that. I don’t really fool with that swimming stuff. I’m not getting in that water.”
Northern Iowa (23-13, 11-7)
Des Moines Register: Perhaps the most notable names to monitor are in the backcourt, with Iowa State grad-transfer Jordan Ashton and point-guard prospect Juwan McCloud out of Wisconsin. Jacobson said of McCloud upon his November signing: “He’s a true point guard in every sense of the word. ... And we think we’ve got a great one.”
The Courier: So Jeremy Morgan wants to be the man who steps forward and leads the Northern Iowa basketball team. Morgan, the only senior starter returning for the Panthers in 2016-2017, believes that his summer in the Prime Time League is helping him prepare for an expanded role.
The Courier: An incoming junior who played a prominent reserve role as an underclassman, (Wyatt) Lohaus is now a veteran presence set to lead an inexperienced UNI backcourt. This year’s Panthers must fill a void left by seniors Matt Bohannon and Wes Washpun from a team coming off back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament.
The Courier: (Juwan) McCloud will not be asked to handle point guard alone next season, of course. Wyatt Lohaus was, for much of last year, Washpun’s backup, and Jacobson plans to use the junior at both backcourt spots. Spencer Haldeman, the redshirt freshman, is in the picture as a combination guard.
Southern Illinois (22-10, 11-7)
The Southern: Bola Olaniyan, the second-leading rebounder in the Missouri Valley Conference, is leaving SIU for Alabama, according to ESPN.com.
The Southern: “You cannot attack the basket when he’s near it, without shooting it differently,” SIU coach Barry Hinson said. “He alters, or blocks your shot, and his simple presence, whether he does one of those two things, the third thing he does is at least he makes you think about it.”