World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar ranks the Missouri Valley men's basketball teams (with rankings from NCAA.com).
1. Creighton (15-1, 4-0, 13th)
This week: at Missouri State. The Bluejays are one of six teams nationally to be shooting 50 percent from the field and hold opponents under 40 percent.
2. Wichita State (14-1, 3-0, 17th)
This week: Southern Illinois, at Evansville. The deepest team in the Valley, the Shockers have a dozen players averaging 10 minutes or more a game.
3. Indiana State (9-5, 2-1, 26th)
This week: Bradley, at Southern Illinois. A 4-2 streak against difficult competition has skyrocketed the Sycamores' RPI from 188th to 26th.
4. Northern Iowa (8-7, 1-2, 96th)
This week: Evansville, Bradley. Next to Illinois State, the Panthers are the Valley's biggest enigma as a veteran team searches for right combinations.
5. Evansville (9-6, 2-1, 131st)
This week: at Northern Iowa, Wichita State. Troy Taylor, at 6-feet tall, is averaging a league-high 12 rebounds a game in conference play.
6. Bradley (10-5, 2-1, 157th)
This week: at Indiana State, at Northern Iowa. Dyricus Simms-Edwards has had at least two steals in 14 of 15 games and ranks third nationally at 2.37 per game.
7. Illinois State (9-7, 0-4, 95th)
This week: Drake. Things are abnormal in Normal as a team that was expected to compete for a championship is still looking for its first league win.
8. Drake (6-9, 0-4, 218th)
This week: at Illinois State. Freshman Joey King has been the Bulldogs' most consistent scorer in league play, averaging 13.3 points off the bench.
9. Missouri State (5-11, 3-1, 281st)
This week: Creighton. A four-game stretch that includes meetings with Creighton and Wichita State will test the league's youngest team.
10. Southern Illinois (7-7, 0-3, 229th)
This week: at Wichita State, Indiana State. The offensively challenged Salukis have failed to score 60 points in 16 games over the past 1½ seasons.