CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois made some amazing discoveries in its 71-56 win over #24-ranked Saint Mary's Tuesday night.
First, it re-discovered its offense, which had gone AWOL during a three-game losing streak. Second, it found a player who could deliver buckets during crunch time of a close game -- junior point guard Bryan Mullins.
Mullins had never scored more than 16 points in a game, yet he delivered 24 on the night, including 11 points in the decisive final four minutes.
The MVC's hopes of getting multiple teams into the NCAA Tournament are slimmer than they've been in recent years. Yet the talent level isn't too bad, comparable to other 2nd tier leagues like the CAA and WAC. The only real void is the lack of true go-to scoring star like they've had in Jamaal Tatum or Nate Funk. If his first game is any indication however, perhaps Creighton freshman P'Allen Stinnett will be that guy. Another guy off to a great start is Drake's Jonathan Cox, a 6-8 junior averaging 15 and 10 after two games.
MVC Top 10
1. Randal Falker, F, SIU
The Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll is voted on by the league's head coaches, play-by-play men, beat writers and sports information directors.
Preseason MVC Men's Basketball Poll
Rank Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Southern Illinois (39) 390
2. Bradley 311
3. Missouri State 283
4. Creighton 266
5. Illinois State 235
6. Wichita State 210
7. Northern Iowa 197
8. Indiana State 110
9. Drake 80
10. Evansville 63
Southern Illinois Salukis
Eric Maynor, G, Jr, VCU
Marcelus Kemp, G, Sr, Nevada
Jaycee Carroll, G, Sr, Utah State
Josh Heytvelt, F, Jr, Gonzaga
Randal Falker, C, Sr, Southern Illinois
30 of the nation's top collegiate basketball players have accepted invitations to participate in the July 12-14 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team Trials that will be held at Haverford College (Pa.). The Trials will be used to select the finalists for the USA Basketball Pan American Games squad that will look to capture gold at the 2007 Pan American Games that are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29. Athlete selections for the Trials were made by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim.