MVC Tournament semifinals

Saturday’s schedule

Wichita State 67, Missouri State 42

Indiana State 62, Southern Illinois 59

Coverage from

 Thinking about the Bears

MSU coach Paul Lusk and his program offer one of the best hopes for optimism in the MVC. Read More »

MVC Tournament quarterfinals

Friday’s schedule

Wichita State 80, Evansville 58

Missouri State 53, Illinois State 48

Indiana State 75, Loyola 62

Southern Illinois 63, Northern Iowa 58

Thursday’s scores

Evansville 69, Drake 61

Loyola 74, Bradley 72

Thinking about the Aces

WSU 81, UE 67

WSU 84, UE 68

Tekele Cotton vs. D.J. Balentine is the Valley’s premier individual matchup. Cotton is the best defender. Balentine is the MVC’s leading scorer. Evansville will run him off screen after screen to take advantage of his quick release and soft touch. Read More »

St. Louis traffic alert for Wichita State fans

If you are driving to St. Louis on Saturday or Sunday, avoid I-64, which will close (both directions) at 8 p.m. Friday.

According to the MVC: Alternate options to get to Scottrade Center from the west include Interstate 44, Interstate 70, and from Interstate 64 eastbound take I-170 north to Forest Park Parkway east to the Market Street exit.

Shockers pass on rewards

Wichita State did another cover shoot for Sports Illustrated on Tuesday. SI may or may not use the photo, but the story is revealing and shows how the Shockers are handling the attention of this 31-0 season.

SI told coach Gregg Marshall to choose one player to pose with fans. Marshall asked Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton to draw strings, short one gets to pose.

“As we were beginning to do that, the guys chuckled,” Marshall said. “We kind of had a hard time believing they wanted to do another cover shot. But Cleanthony says, ‘I think it should be Tekele.’ Everybody looked at him. ‘The rest of us get more hype. I don’t want to pick.’ That’s the kind of guys we’ve got.”

So, no, Marshall doesn’t worry much about this team’s time in the spotlight.

“I don’t think they could have responded any better,” he said. “It says a lot about the type kids we’ve got and Cleanthony as an individual.”

Cotton, wearing his white jersey, took the picture in Koch Arena on Tuesday morning, surrounded by Shocker fans cheering wildly.

 ”Nobody on our team is selfish,” he said. “People don’t mind giving up something for somebody else. We’re close enough to be able to do that.”


MVC Travel Channel: Peoria

MVC Travel Channel: Evansville

MVC Travel Channel: Cedar Falls

My apologies for the delay. I’m way behind on the Travel Channel and my goal is to catch up before St. Louis.

Indiana State


Illinois State

Missouri State

Southern Illinois

Coming Wednesday: “This is Shocker basketball”

Day After: No. 2 Wichita State 68, Missouri State 45

WSU senior Cleanthony Early scored 19 points in Saturday's win over Missouri State.

WSU senior Cleanthony Early scored 19 points in Saturday’s win over Missouri State.

Key statistics: The Shockers held the Bears to 8-of-27 shooting in the decisive first half and led by 20 points four times. For the game, WSU out-rebounded the Bears 43-25 and scored 30 of its points in the paint.

How the game turned: Cleanthony Early’s three-pointer gave WSU a 14-6 lead and started a 13-2 run that gave the Shockers control. After Early’s three, MSU’s Ron Mvouika traveled. After two missed shots by the Bears, WSU led 18-6.

Records: MSU 19-10, 9-8 MVC; WSU 31-0, 18-0

Coverage from

MVC Tournament schedule

  • Darius Carter’s emergence as a consistent scorer might be WSU’s most important factor in March. In mid-February, he began to consistently answer two questions: 1) Who can score inside and 2) who can score off the bench? The next question will be, can he score against teams with comparable size in the NCAA Tournament? Carter made 46.8 percent of his shots, reaching double figures four times, in 13 non-conference games. In 18 MVC games, he shot 58.8 percent (60 of 102) from the field and averaged 8.3 point. He scored 10 points Saturday to give him double figures in five of the past seven games. Gone are the hook shots and fadeaways that marked his early games. He is a more decisive finisher who goes to the rim when he scores and is a devastating finisher on fast breaks. It’s also encouraging that not all of his production can be linked to playing MVC schools. He had 11 points and 14 rebounds against Tennessee and 9 and 7 against Alabama. Carter’s season turned in the right direction at Northern Iowa on Feb. 8, when he made all six of his shots and scored 15 points. Since then, he’s made 28 of 40 shots and averaged 10.6 points. At UNI, Carter said he hadn’t been prepared for the physical play in the MVC. Clearly, that is no longer an issue. “It’s just a mental adjustment,” he said. “I’m used to it now. I got out every game realizing it’s going to be tough like that, and I have to be tougher than our opponent.” Carter is filling other roles – he grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots on Saturday.
  • The time off  before St. Louis is always good for bumps and bruises. This season, the relief from the mental grind of going unbeaten might be more important. “Physically, I’m a little banged up,” Carter. “We’ve got a long time before we play, so I’ll be more than ready.”
  • Some leftover milestones from Saturday: WSU set a school-record with its 31st win, mark that’s been overshadowed by so many others. WSU long ago set its record for consecutive MVC regular-season wins, previously 12 by the 1982-83 team. One record that will have to wait until next season is WSU’s home-court streak. The Shockers are at 17 straight. The record is 22, which stretched over three seasons from 1981-83.
  • WSU guard Fred VanVleet admitted the prospect of going unbeaten entered their minds in the fall. “Looking at the schedule, and ‘Man, I don’ t think we’ll lose any of these games’ and that’s just us as competitors,” he said. “And then the next sentence was ‘Well, OK, let’s take it slow and get the one that’s in front of us first.’ That’s what we do and the coaches help us keep things in perspective. They don’t treat us any differently. Maybe when they start letting us get away with stuff and pampering us, then we’ll slip up.”
  • The next loss will be a disappointing one for the Shockers. The second game of the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend will be the most pressure-packed of the season. The Shockers are aware that, as impressive as 31-0 is and will be, the label of NCAA Tournament flop would be painful to wear. “That’s the bad part about the world we live in,” VanVleet said. “We can’t even celebrate this great accomplishment. We’ve just got to keep focused and looking ahead to what we’ve got in front of us. When we’re sitting down some day we’ll think back to this as one of the greatest seasons ever played.”
  • The 8:35 p.m. game on Friday may be the best of the MVC Tournament’s first day. Third-seeded Northern Iowa has won five of six and is playing like most expected it to earlier in the season. Sixth-seeded Southern Illinois has won seven of 10 with the losses at WSU, at second-place Indiana State and at UNI.

Next up: vs. Drake or Evansville, 12:05 p.m. Friday (FSKC)

ESPN’s Saturday coverage