Indiana State (5-6) vs Bradley (6-5)
Hulman Center; Terre Haute, IN
Indiana State had a tough non-conference season, as did most of the Valley, but they certainly scheduled tough. Playing the likes of Notre Dame and most recently Purdue, where they fell 52-65, the Sycamores are hoping this tough schedule will get them ready for the conference slate. They will start Valley play against a team that has had some struggles as well when they host Bradley.
The Braves, riddled with injury this season, have had to hobble through the first portion of the schedule without a number of key players. It will take a team effort to make some noise this season, and in many minds, to keep the job of head coach Jim Les. Tonight’s game should be a battle, and the team that comes out on top will need the momentum heading into the conference schedule.
Wichita State (9-2) vs Evansville (6-4)
Koch Arena, Wichita, KS
The preseason favorite to take the league will take the floor tonight in Wichita as the Shockers play host to the Aces of Evansville. Gregg Marshall has a veteran team that is hungry, athletic, and ready to take the Valley by storm. they were close to knocking off UCONN in Maui, but proved they were no joke when they took care of Virginia and LSU in convincing fashion.
The Aces are looking for a change this year, not finishing last. After a respectable non-conference slate that included a win over Butler, the Aces are ready to shock the Valley. A win tonight and they will be well on their way.
Drake (5-6) vs. Southern Illinois (6-5)
Knapp Center; Des Moines, IA
The last time these two teams met, Josh Young hit a 10-ft jumper with 1.5 seconds remaining in the opening round of the conference tournament to give Drake a 63-61 com-from-behind victory. Expect another close game tonight in Des Moines. Both teams are around the .500 mark to start the season. Drake was picked 8th in the preseason poll and SIU right behind them at 9th.
In their last non-conference tune-up, Drake pounded Chicago St. 102-51. Freshman Rayvonte Rice lead the Bulldogs with a career-high 23 points including four 3-pt FG’s. SIU is coming off a 61-49 win over their neighbors to the north, Northern Illinois. Gene Teague lead SIU with 16 points and Mamadou Seck followed with 12 points. Those two are stepping up as leaders and go to guys for SIU.
Northern Iowa (9-3) vs. Missouri St. (8-3)
McLeod Center; Cedar Falls, IA
One team is the reigning two-time defending regular season and conference champ, the other team has high aspirations of achieving a regular season and/or conference title. UNI is riding high after coming back to Cedar Falls with the Las Vegas Classic championship after defeating Indiana and New Mexico. Winning eight of their last nine, Ben Jacobson has them ready to go for a third consecutive MVC title.
Missouri State faces a tough test tonight in Cedar Falls. Will they prove they have what it takes to hang with the top teams in the conference? Or will they fold with the spotlight on them. The Bears are undefeated at home but winless on the road. Will their luck on the road change tonight? Leading scorer Kyle Weems needs just 5 points to reach the 1,000 career point mark.