College basketball is back on the map for many people, especially those who know their fall sports team, namely football, has no chance at sniffing at the National Championship. The more than 340 schools will either start playing exhibition games this weekend or partaking in a “secret” closed door scrimmage. Creighton will be headed to Iowa for a Sunday get together of their own under the radar.
On Monday, the Missouri Valley Conference will release their compiled predictions of coaches, sports information directors, and beat writers with the preseason predictions of how the Valley will end up come March. There will likely be some obvious choices on some of those.
So, we at WBR thought we would release our own compiled predictions before the MVC releases theirs. The nine writers and photographers of White & Blue Review ranked the schools and submitted first- and second-team All-MVC selections. Here is how it turned out.
WBR’s Preseason MVC Rankings
- Creighton (9)
- Northern Iowa
- Illinois State
- Wichita State
- Indiana State
- Missouri State
- Southern Illinois
As many other publications have in anticipation of this season, we had a consensus of Creighton winning the league. However, after that, the rest of the rankings were all over the board, but there was some clear distinction of groups of teams in the same range showing that there are still a lot of questions heading into the season on who will challenge the Bluejays for the MVC regular season title.
Illinois State seems like a clear cut second, but realize with a new coach and a new point guard that the Redbirds may struggle at times this season. Wichita State has to replace the loss of five seniors that were a major part of their scoring punch. While many national publications have Northern Iowa as a sleeper this season, the rest of us that follow the Valley on a regular basis aren’t fooled. Five of us picked UNI to finish second in the league race. Northern Iowa has enough returning players to rival the Bluejays and with Ben Jacobson at the helm, you have to always be prepared.
Illinois State ranged anywhere from two to five in our predictions, but Wichita State was all over the place with one of our writers having them as low as seventh. But this top tier of teams behind the Bluejays is obviously the Panthers, Redbirds and Shockers.
The middle tier of teams includes Drake and Evansville at five and six. Indiana State and Missouri State are the wildcards here. Both of them ranged anywhere from sixth to tenth in our predictions. Will Jake Odum be able to carry Indiana State to rebound after their disappointing year last season? What will Paul Lusk do with a limited roster for Missouri State?
There was a pretty high consensus for Bradley and Southern Illinois to round out the league at 9th and 10th. Barry Hinson has a real tough job ahead of him and Geno Ford is still turning the bus around in Peoria.
WBR’s MVC All-Conference Teams
- Doug McDermott, Creighton
- Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State
- Gregory Echenique, Creighton
- Colt Ryan, Evansville
- Jake Odum, Indiana State
- Carl Hall, Wichita State
- Anthony James, Northern Iowa
- Ben Simons, Drake
- Tyler Brown, Illinois State
- Adam Koch, Northern Iowa
Honorable Mention: Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa; Grant Gibbs, Creighton, Seth VanDeest, Drake; Malcolm Armstead, Wichita State ; Dyricus Simms-Edwards, Bradley; Anthony Cousins, Illinois State; Gary Thurman, Missouri State; Austin Chatman, Creighton; Jahenns Manigat, Creighton
Just like what we may see in next week’s MVC release, all nine of us chose McDermott, Echenique, Carmichael, and Ryan as first team members. These all appear to be obvious choices based on performances last season and anticipation of this season. The hard one to come to agreement on was the fifth spot. Odum, James, and Simons all received two first team votes each. But it was the inclusion of Odum on the rest of the ballots that got him up into the first team. All three players will be significant to their team’s success this season. Hall and Brown both received first team consideration as well.
This season will be an interesting one for the Valley. Will the four teams in the top tier pull away as predicted, or will there be some surprises? It should be a fun season for fans all around.
Feel free to share your own predictions either over on the Bluejay Underground or in the comments here.