Indiana State at Drake, 8:00 PM Eastern (MC22 – local TV in Iowa only)
The SCGD heads to Iowa tonight as we begin the battle to determine who the second best team in the Missouri Valley Conference is. Wichita State is by far the class of this conference and may be good enough to run the table in the league (though doing would probably still be a “shocker”). Tonight’s game features two of the other three teams that have picked up 10 or more wins so far, Indiana State and Drake (the third being Missouri State).
Indiana State enters tonight’s game at 2-0 in MVC play and 11-3 on the season overall. They have the best KenPom after Wichita, a solid 59, and do have a win at Notre Dame…though there are quite a few teams that can say that this season. Other than the Notre Dame game and a loss to Belmont, the Sycamores have played a very weak schedule and have a bad loss in the Great Alaska Shootout to Tulsa. That loss was actually doubly bad, as it also relegated them to the consolation bracket and a non-D1 game against Alaska-Anchorage rather than a chance at a title game against Harvard. Indiana State will most likely have to win almost all of their MVC games, including at least one over Wichita, to have any shot at even being in the at-large discussion this season. And it would have to all start with a win over Drake tonight.
Drake, on the other hand, enters tonight’s game at 10-4 overall and 1-1 in conference. Their RPI, BPI and KenPom numbers are all right around the 100 mark. Other than a loss last time out to Bradley, the rest of their losses have been respectable (St. Mary’s, New Mexico State and Iowa). However, they were unable to pick up any top 100 wins to date and probably will not have enough chances at them in league play to be in at-large contention. Ray Giacoletti’s team will not be an easy out though, as they should give all the top teams in the MVC tough games and could be a factor in Arch Madness, the Missouri Valley’s conference tournament. A win over Indiana State tonight would not be much of a surprise to anyone.