World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar ranks the Missouri Valley men's basketball teams (with national RPI rankings from NCAA.com).
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1. Creighton (20-3, 9-2, 28th)
This week: at Indiana State, Illinois State. Doug McDermott's three-season total of 1,933 points puts him fourth all-time behind Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and Chet Walker.
2. Indiana State (14-8, 7-4, 52nd)
This week: Creighton, Southern Illinois. Point guard Jake Odum is 21 points shy of becoming just the eighth Sycamore to reach 1,000 points as a junior.
3. Wichita State (19-5, 8-4, 26th)
This week: Missouri State. Shockers' loss at Southern Illinois stretches skid to three and deals at-large hopes a serious blow.
4. Northern Iowa (13-11, 6-6, 94th)
This week: at Bradley. Point guard Deon Mitchell's development is a bright spot as he has 74 assists and 57 turnovers this season compared to 57 and 74 as a freshman.
5. Drake (11-11, 5-6, 137th)
This week: at Illinois State, at Evansville. The Bulldogs are 3-2 against the Valley's top four teams and 2-4 against the rest of the pack.
6. Bradley (14-10, 6-6, 161st)
This week: Northern Iowa. Dyricus Simms-Edwards leads the Valley with 70 steals and could challenge 32-year-old league record of 96 by Tulsa's Paul Pressey.
7. Evansville (13-11, 6-6, 128th)
This week: Drake. Colt Ryan and Ned Cox have been a solid 1-2 punch for the Purple Aces in accounting for 53 percent of their offense in past six games.
8. Illinois State (13-10, 4-7, 145th)
This week: at Drake, at Creighton. Picked to finish second in the preseason, Redbirds need a strong run down the stretch to avoid a play-in game in St. Louis.
9. Missouri State (7-17, 5-7, 203rd)
This week: at Wichita State. League's most offensively challenged team had been on scoring binge, averaging 74 points over three games until getting just 37 on Tuesday.
10. Southern Illinois (9-14, 2-10, 220th)
This week: at Indiana State. Salukis show real grit against Wichita State in rallying from 14-point first-half deficit and winning after giving lead back late in game.