Last Updated: 2017-12-06
The next conference we’ll look at is the Missouri Valley Conference, which has a few solid teams, but has seen a fair amount of shuffling in the power ratings over the past week, with Missouri State climbing after a pair of solid road wins and Bradley dropping a bit after getting thumped in their first road game of the season.
Northern Iowa is still the class of the conference, but Valparaiso is right there, as well and the two games against each other could go a long way in determining the regular season conference champion.
As a conference, most of the teams have some impressive records, but they’ve loaded up on some extremely weak teams, with undefeated Valparaiso, 7-1 Loyola and 5-2 Evansville (against Div. 1 schools) among the worst of the bunch. Northern Iowa has played one off the tougher schedules in the country and their 5-2 record is nothing to overlook
Missouri Valley Conference Power Ratings
Northern Iowa 84
Missouri State 80
Southern Illinois 76
Illinois State 76
Indiana State 72
There isn’t a great deal of difference from top to bottom in the Missouri Valley Conference, and only two of the teams have losing records against Division I schools right now, but that could change, especially when some of these teams start playing tougher opponents.
The conference is ranked in the top 10 in overall strength, primarily because they lack the one or two extremely poor teams that plague some of the similar types of conferences. One of the other interesting things about the MVC is there is probably more agreement in a team’s rating among the different sets of ratings I use than in other conferences.
Even though the difference between Northern Iowa and Valpo is just one point, I’d expect that number to increase as the season goes on. Playing teams like North Park, Trinity Christian and Southeast Louisiana are good for the win-loss record, it doesn’t really help your team get better, while Northern Iowa has defeated the likes of UNLV, SMU and NC State. Northern Iowa is 3-2 ATS and in the two games they didn’t cover, against Villanova and North Carolina, they came up a half-point and two point sshy.
Illinois State is one team who could show improvement, as they’ve played a fairly tough schedule and have wins over South Carolina and Tulsa. They’re no match for a team like Nevada, as we recently saw, but can hold their own against the lower-echelon of teams.