Week 2 Summary, Power Rankings, Mid Major Tidbits
A second week of this extremely weird college season is behind us. Here are the team summaries and power rankings after week two. At this point the rankings are partially based on preseason expectations and partially based on results on the court, but things will swing more and more towards the latter as the season continues.
Week 1: MVC Power Rankings
1.) Loyola, 1-0 (No Change): The Ramblers were finally able to take the floor on Saturday as they hosted D2 Lewis University, cruising to a 76-48 victory over the Flyers. There isn’t a whole lot you can take from this game against an overmatched opponent, but it had to be good for the ‘Blers to be able to lace ‘em up and get out there. The biggest takeaway for me is that transfer Braden Norris was in the starting five, supplanting Keith Clemons who only played 13 minutes. Marrquise Kennedy also only played 10 minutes off the bench. Those are interesting developments, although it is a bit too early to read too much into them. Loyola will face Chicago State on Wednesday and head to UIC on Sunday for what will be their toughest test so far.
2.) Bradley, 3-2 (No Change): The Braves started the week with a 105-32 win over Judson out of the NAIA. Bradley shot 52% to Judson’s 19%, as BU did what DI teams are supposed to do NAIA squads. It was the largest margin of victory in Bradley history. On Friday BU slipped up at home against South Dakota State, the favorites in the Summit League, 88-84. SDSU scored 53 points in a second half in which they made 10-12 threes (they finished 17-26, 65% for the game). They only shot 12-33, 36% from inside the arc. There is no doubt SDSU is good, and the Braves ran into a buzzsaw. But you’d still like to see one of the league favorites win a game against a team from the Summit League. Bradley is warming up for a contest with D2 Lewis University as I write this, and it will be their only game of the week.
3.) Drake, 4-0 (No Change): Drake continues to be the MVC’s most positive surprise. It isn’t a surprise the Bulldogs are winning, but four double-digit wins by an average of almost 23 points per game does raise some eyebrows. This week they handled the Summit League’s Omaha 87-66, and NAIA St. Ambrose 97-53. Drake is doing it as a group. Nine guys are averaging double-digit minutes, and no one is averaging more than 24.5. Seven average between 7 and 11.3 PPG. Drake welcomes D2 McKendree and Air Force this week.
4.) Northern Iowa, 1-3 (No Change): The Panthers got in the win column with an 98-53 win over NAIA St. Ambrose on Friday, but still took a couple Ls this week when it comes to their prospects moving forward. It was revealed that AJ Green has a hip injury, and it is unknown whether he will try to play through it or sit out the season. Antwan Kimmons is also taking a leave of absence with the team’s blessing to help his family in a time of crisis. The loss of AJ Green would be devastating for UNI’s league title hopes and would make Loyola the clear favorite in the MVC heading into conference play. UNI faces a ranked Richmond team on the road on Wednesday before hosting Green Bay on Saturday.
5.) Indiana State, 0-0 (No Movement): We have yet to see the Sycamores on the floor this year, but it appears that will be changing on Tuesday when they host D2 Truman State. They’ll head to West Lafayette to face Purdue on Saturday as well.
6.) Missouri State, 0-0 (No Movement): We haven’t seen the Bears play yet either, and it doesn’t appear that is going to change this week. While everything is up in the air in a COVID world, Missouri State does not have a scheduled game until December 19th against Northwestern State.
7.) Southern Illinois, 2-0 (No Movement): The Salukis opened the season last Wednesday against Southeast Missouri State and ended up winning an exciting game in overtime. At that time, the entirety of Southern Illinois University’s men’s athletics accomplishments this academic year consisted of exciting wins over SEMO. SIU showed a lot of resolve in coming back from a double-digit deficit with six minutes to go. Team stud Marcus Domask and transfers Ben Harvey and Anthony D’Avanzo were as good as you’d hope they would be which is a great sign for SIU. The 102-61 win over D2 Quincy wasn’t as dramatic. Friday’s home game with Murray State is the only game on the SIU schedule this week.
8.) Valparaiso, 1-3 (No Movement): The Crusaders played three games this week, and it took until Sunday’s game with NAIA Judson to get their first win. Valpo first fell at UIC, in an ugly 66-50 affair in which the Crusaders shot a gentlemen’s 7% from three and 56% from the charity stripe. This dud was frustrating for Valpo because it was sandwiched between two solid performances against Power Six teams. VU led Purdue by 11 at halftime on Friday in West Lafayette before ultimately falling 68-61. They shot the deep ball well early, but it failed them again in the second half as they shot 2-14. It did take Purdue’s maximum effort to rally. They handled Judson 85-45 as freshmen Jacob Ognacevic and Connor Barrett shined. Valpo is one of the few MVC teams to be playing exclusively DI teams this week, as they host SIUE and head to Central Michigan.
9.) Illinois State, 2-2 (No Movement): The Redbirds opened the week with a 177-108 win over D3 Greenville. If you all haven’t heard about Greenville, let me educate you. They opened their season against four Division I teams and averaged almost 100 points per game. Unfortunately, they allowed over 165 points per game. We need to match them up with Grinnell. In this game Illinois State broke several program records and had ten guys in double figures as minutes were significantly spread around. On Saturday against Murray State (who also scored over 170 points against Greenville), things didn’t go quite so well. ISU trailed by 13 at the break before falling 76-65. Neither Josiah Strong, nor DJ Horne was particularly good in this game which is not a recipe for success for Illinois State. Juco transfer Dusan Mahorcic’s performance in his debut was encouraging. The Redbirds head to Ball State on Saturday.
10.) Evansville, 0-3 (No Movement): So close! Noah Frederking scored 22 points, including a nice 6/9 game from deep, and Evansville went to double OT with UT-Martin, but they couldn’t get over the hump. UE trailed for most of the game and was down 14 with ten minutes to play. They then held the Skyhawks to one basket over the next nine minutes but a three pointer at the buzzer by UT-Martin sent the game to OT. Despite the rough outcome for UE, you have to feel good for the Skyhawks who were playing for their recently deceased coach. The Aces are scheduled to face Eastern Illinois and Saint Louis this week.
MID MAJOR TIDBITS
A rundown of notable mid-major results from week 2 is below
-Big West: UC-Riverside took down the Washington Huskies in a big way, 57-42. This one should not be a huge surprise though, Washington has had a rough season so far.
-Patriot League: Navy put in a 49-point second half to handle Georgetown, 78-71. Georgetown then lost to #11 West Virginia by a nearly identical score (80-71) later in the week.
-MAC: We have, by my count, our first D2-over-D1 win as Flagler College handled Central Michigan with ease, 92-73.
-Big South: Not to be outdone, the Longwood Lancers (tee hee) supplied us with our first D3-over-D1 win of the year when they lost to Greensboro 67-64. Greensboro was, and still is, 0-2 since they considered this game an exhibition. They were 3-22 last year.
-Summit League: South Dakota State, who has played crazy schedule this far, handled Iowa State 71-68 in a game they led almost start-to-finish. They held a twelve point lead at the break. SDSU has now gone 3-2 against West Virginia, Utah State, Saint Marys, Iowa State and Bradley.
-A-10: In a mild upset, the A-10’s Rhode Island handled the Big East’s Seton Hall 76-63.
-West Coast Conference: If you’re still wondering if Gonzaga is good……they are. They beat #11 West Virginia. BYU also got a noteworthy win over St. Johns, 74-68.
-Mountain West: UNLV improved to 1-4 after beating Kansas State by 10. Wyoming handled Oregon State, 76-73.
-WAC: Dixie State won its first game as a DI team, 74-73 over North Dakota.
-Also: Georgia Tech (who started the season with losses to Georgia State and Mercer) beat Kentucky who is now 1-3.