The Missouri Valley Basketball Examiner’s 2011-12 Power Rankings debuts with the exhibition season underway. Valley squads will play a total of 16 exhibition games before the regular season kicks off on November 11. The Power Rankings will be updated weekly* throughout the season, so don’t forget to check back on Mondays to see where your school ranks!
*The next update to the rankings will be November 14, after the first weekend of regular season games.
Here are the first Missouri Valley Power Rankings for the 2011-12 season:
1. Creighton- Even with the injury to Echenique, Greg McDermott’s squad is deep enough in the frontcourt with highly-regarded freshmen Will Artino and Geoff Groselle.
2. Wichita State- Joe Ragland, David Kyles and Toure Murry make up the best backcourt in the Valley, but can Carl Hall, Garrett Stutz and the rest of the bigs make up for the loss of their top-three rebounding forwards?
3. Indiana State- Jake Odum should be First-Team All-MVC this season, but their season could depend on the health of superb senior guard Dwayne Lathan.
4. Evansville- Colt Ryan and friends will be tested early by Butler and Indiana at home, and at #1 North Carolina. If they shoot the ball well, anything can happen…
5. Northern Iowa- Jake Koch and Anthony James will be solid, but if Johnny Moran and the underrated Marc Sonnen can find their shots, the Panthers will be a threat in March.
6. Missouri State- The Bears reload with four new starters, but with MVC Player of the Year Kyle Weems back to lead the charge, Paul Lusk’s group is talented and hungry, and could sneak into the top-4 by year’s end.
7. Bradley- Star forward Taylor Brown is back for the Braves after a medical condition sidelined him for the 2010-11 season; Bradley will need their underclassmen to step up to stay out of the Thursday games at Arch Madness.
8. Illinois State- Jackie Carmichael will patrol the middle and Jon Ekey is a solid all-around player, but too many question marks haunt the Redbirds for them to crash the top-half of the league.
9. Drake- Superstar guard RayVonte Rice is a ticking time bomb; without him, injuries to their starting frontcourt mean another rough season for Mark Phelps.
10. Southern Illinois- The Salukis feature the league’s leading rebounder in Mamadou Seck, but he can’t score 35 points per game, leaving Chris Lowery on the hot seat all season long.
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