This week saw some surprises, as Missouri State lost two, while Indiana State and Southern Illinois saw their losing streaks reach four games. Bradley won a conference game, and Illinois State won for the third time in four games.
After the dust settled, the MVC is still looking at two and possibly three bids, but there is some work to be done.
Here are this week's rankings.
10. Southern Illinois 10-13 (4-8 MVC)
Last week: No. 7
Results: 0-2 (Evansville 66, Southern Illinois 49; Drake 65, Southern Illinois 44)
Notes: The last two weeks have not been kind to the Salukis, as they have dropped four straight contests. They get a chance to get back into the win column this week as they take on Bradley, which is fresh off its first MVC win of the season.
Coach Chris Lowery definitely needs to turn things around if he wants to feel safe about another season in Carbondale, as a third straight season without a NCAA bid is wrapping up.
9. Bradley 7-16 (1-11 MVC)
Last week: No. 10
Results: 1-1 (Wichita State 61, Bradley 41; Bradley 69, Creighton 61)
Notes: Welcome to the MVC win column, Bradley. After suffering a hard loss to the Shockers, the Braves shocked the conference and Creighton as they pulled off the win against the Bluejays. Bradley definitely has a chance to make it two straight wins as they travel to SIU on Saturday.
8. Drake 9-14 (4-8 MVC)
Last week: No. 9
Results: 1-1 (Illinois State 77, Drake 75; Drake 65, Southern Illinois 44)
Notes: The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker to ISU as a last-second three was waved off, giving the Redbirds the win. Drake rebounded to hand SIU its fourth straight loss and end its own three-game losing streak.
7. Creighton 14-10 (6-6 MVC)
Last week: No. 6
Results: 1-1 (Creighton 83, Indiana State 69; Bradley 69, Creighton 61)
Notes: Consistency is definitely lacking this week for Creighton. A big win against ISU put the Bluejays in good position to move up in the MVC standings. However, they forgot to show up their next game out and gave Bradley its first conference win of the season.
Being four games out at this point has effectively ended any hope of winning the MVC title. A RPI that has fallen to 153 means that they have to win out in St. Louis to have any hope of playing on in Mid-March.
6. Illinois State 11-12 (3-9 MVC)
Last week: No. 8
Results: 1-1 (Illinois State 77, Drake 75; Northern Iowa 53, Illinois State 51)
Notes: ISU looks like a new team the last two weeks. While they lost to UNI in their last game, they gave the Panthers everything they could handle. It is a tough week for the Redbirds, as they travel to the front-running Shockers and then host the struggling Sycamores.
5. Indiana State 12-11 (7-5 MVC)
Last week: No. 4
Results: 0-2 (Creighton 83, Indiana State 69; Wichita State 70, Indiana State 54)
Notes: Two weeks ago ISU sat atop the power rankings and the MVC standings. Fourteen days later, things are completely different. The Sycamores have lost four straight contests and have fallen three games off the pace into a fourth-place tie. Their RPI continues to plummet, as it now sits at 121, which is starting to put a return trip to the College Basketball Invitational Tournament at risk.
4. Evansville 13-9 (7-5 MVC)
Last week: No. 5
Results: 2-0 (Evansville 66, Southern Illinois 49; Evansville 77, Missouri State 65)
Notes: The Aces are riding a four-game winning streak at the right time of the season, and their RPI is reaping the benefits, as it now sits at No. 104 up from No. 148 two weeks ago. Creighton and Northern Iowa are up for Evansville this week. A split is needed to keep the Aces going in the right direction. If they continue this strong play, a postseason trip will be in the cards.
3. Missouri State 17-6 (9-3 MVC)
Last week: No. 1
Results: 2-0 (Northern Iowa 60, Missouri State 59; Evansville 77, Missouri State 65)
Notes: The curse of power ranking No. 1 strikes again. Following the Sycamores' fall from grace last week, the Bears proceeded to drop two games and fall out of first in the MVC. Missouri State has two winnable games this week as it faces Indiana State and Bradley. To not fall further onto the bubble and watch their No. 49 RPI slip, they need to go 2-0 this week.
2. Wichita State 19-4 (10-2 MVC)
Last week: No. 3
Results: 2-0 (Wichita State 61, Bradley 41; Wichita State 70, Indiana State 54)
Notes: "Just win baby" must be echoing through the WSU campus as the Shockers took over first place in the MVC. WSU has run off four straight wins, as it has worked its way past Indiana State and Missouri State in the past two weeks. Not only do the Shockers look down from the top in the MVC standings, they also now have the best RPI in the conference as they are now ranked No. 39.
Right now Bleacher Report's lead bracketologist Jordan Schwartz has the Shockers as his fourth team out, while ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi has WSU sneaking in with the last four into the dance. Clearly there is still some work to do. Right now, if the Shockers continue to play like they have, getting into the dance will not be a problem for this team.
1. Northern Iowa 18-6 (9-3 MVC)
Last week: No. 2
Results: 2-0 (Northern Iowa 60, Missouri State 59; Northern Iowa 53, Illinois State 51)
Notes: Northern Iowa did what championship teams are supposed to do: Win close games. They came back with two free throws with five seconds to go to knock off the Bears in a battle of MVC contenders and then held off a pesky ISU squad to complete the 2-0 week. Two winnable games are on the slate for the Panthers as they travel to Drake and Evansville.
UNI has continued its recent surge in the RPI, moving up 12 spots this week to No. 52, placing the Panthers into bubble consideration if they do not win the MVC Tourney.
Last week saw the Bears as the fans' favorite. Will that be the same this week, as they are coming off two losses, or will the Panthers get more love this week? Thanks for reading and voting.
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