Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Creighton: Usual Suspects in the Missouri Valley Title Hunt

The long wait will soon be over when the first official NCAA basketball game of the 2012-13 season will tip-off on Nov. 15. Some of our favorite players have moved on the ranks of professional athletes, new recruits have been polishing their games in gyms with recognizable logos on the court, and schools have switched conference allegiances. Through a series of conference previews, the BDD crew will do its best to prepare you for the next 4.5 months of collegiate hoops.

Doug McDermott will once again lead Creighton's charge to the top of the MVC. (Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle)

Favorite:  Creighton

Creighton is the only Missouri Valley team to be ranked in the top 20 preseason poll. The reason is simple, and his name is Doug McDermott. Entering his junior year, McDermott is the only First Team All-American returning to NCAA competition, and he's an insanely efficient scorer who averages 23 points per game on 60 percent shooting while staying at 48 percent from three point range.

Creighton is also returning veteran point guard Grant Gibbs, who averages five assists a game. They are losing two of their three leading scorers, however, in guard Antoine Young and center Gregory Echenique. Echenique's departure is an especially big blow because of his shot blocking, but he will be replaced by a seven-footer out of Texas named Geoff Grosselle. 

Dark Horse:  Northern Iowa

In 2011-12, Northern Iowa was tied for third place in the conference. This year, they are returning six of their seven highest scorers from last season. They had a surprisingly balanced attack last year, with only one player averaging (rising senior Anthony James) more than 10 points per contest. Their experience could be a huge advantage in the coming months. 

POY:  Doug McDermott, Creighton

McDermott should be the unanimous pick. The 23 points and eight rebounds he averaged per game last year gives him a convincing argument even before this season begins.

Coach of the year:  Greg Marshall, Wichita State

Wichita State is losing their top six leading scorers from last year. There is no doubt 2012-13 will be tough, but the coach of the year award usually goes to the team with the lowest expectations at the beginning of the season. Marshall has a great recruiting class that includes three-star small forward Deontae Hawkins and Oregon transfer Malcom Armstead, who averaged 8.6 points and 4.4 assists per game two seasons ago. 

Newcomer:  Fred Van Fleet, Wichita State

Another addition to Marshall's remade Wichita State roster, Van Fleet is a four-star point guard from Chicago. Although he is undersized at only 5’11”, he is still a threat, proven by his status as the No. 1 recruit out of Illinois this year. Van Fleet has been committed to WSU since his junior year. His ballhandling and shooting should should anchor the Shockers' backcourt for the next four years.

Follow @BeatsDimesDrive on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment