Bracket Bits: Poor start will hurt Missouri Valley …
If you look at our preseason bracket projection, you’ll notice two teams from the Missouri Valley. Looked good a month ago. Now, not so much. It hasn’t been a November to Remember for the MVC.
Through Tuesday (Nov. 23) Missouri Valley teams are 1-7 versus BCS conference opponents. The lone win was Bradley over Southern Cal. And while USC was a sleeper pick to sneak into the field – which isn’t looking good, either – the Braves’ one-point win over the Trojans is not the type of victory that figures to elevate how MVC teams are viewed next spring.
Wichita State and Missouri State – the MVC’s highest projected teams – have yet to win an NCAA-level game. The Shockers blew a late lead against Connecticut in Maui and Missouri State lost at Tennessee. Neither was a bad loss, but both were missed chances. And Missouri Valley teams don’t get that many chances for marquee out-of-conference wins. Missouri State also lost at Tulsa – a potential bubble team from Conference USA. Two other top-half MVC teams – Northern Iowa and Bradley – have lost games to TCU and Milwaukee. Creighton lost Sunday to Iowa State, and the Cyclones aren’t projected to finish in the top half of the Big 12.
It’s still early and teams do not earn at-large bids in November and December. But bids can be lost. There are limited chances to make good impressions.
Those remaining chances? Wichita State heads to San Diego State (Dec. 4); Missouri State visits Oklahoma State (Dec. 11); Bradley hosts Utah (Dec. 4) and visits Duke (Dec. 8); Northern Iowa heads to Indiana (Dec. 22); and Creighton goes to Northwestern (Nov. 28) and hosts BYU (Dec. 1).
If the Missouri Valley hopes to send more than one team Dancing in March, the next three weeks are critical. Have a different opinion? Rebounds are always welcome.