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16 New Years Wishes

(St. Louis, MO) – Since we can’t do resolutions at Valley Hoops Insiders we thought we would come up with 16 New Years Wishes for 2016. Some are serious, some are hopeful and some are just fun thoughts.

  1. Rhyan Loos’ Recovery
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Rhyan Loos

Rhyan is the 5-year-old grand-daughter of Austin Peay Head Coach Dave Loos and the daughter of Missouri Assistant Coach Brad Loos. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. She is undergoing Chemtherapy treatments prior to a planned removal of a tumor. There are numerous fund-raising events going on to help the Loos family with medical expenses.

Our top New Years Wish for 2016 is Rhyan’s recovery, healing and great support for her parents Brad and Jen.

  1. Wild Three Team Race in the MVC

With the overall RPI of the Missouri Valley Conference a little worse than usual and only two teams with impressive winning percentages are Southern Illinois and Evansville, the Valley needs those two teams and Wichita State to tangle in a highly competitive, dominating style. Those three teams all need 12 or more league wins.

That is the best hope for the Valley to land two teams in the NCAA tournament. Evansville and SIU could end up with strong RPI ratings and Wichita State, with their national reputation, could get a look from the selection committee.

  1. Free-For-All In OVC West Division

Right now, no West Division team of the Ohio Valley has a winning record. SEMO, Eastern Illinois and SIUE are a combined 6-27. How fun would it be for the entire division to knock the snot out of each other? I’m looking for any of three or four teams to lead that division at some time this season.

One of those teams is going to have the free pass to the conference tournament semi-finals. They have a lot to play for! I truly believe Austin Peay, Tennessee Martin and Murray State are all capable of winning ‘Music City Madness’ and heading to the NCAA’s big tournament in March.

  1. Someone to Contend with Belmont In the East Division

Belmont wins a conference championship every year. Someone in the East needs to rise up and contend. The East looks like a dogfight. Four teams have better non-conference records than the Bruins. In fact Tennessee State’s (9-3) next win will tie their last TWO seasons worth of win totals!

Tennesssee Tech, Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky have all had their moments this season. But will one or two specific teams rise up to challenge Rick Byrd’s stranglehold on regular season titles?

  1. A Torrid Scoring Battle Between D.J. Balentine and Anthony Beane
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Anthony Beane

For all the deserved hype surrounding Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker at Wichita State, I’m wishing for Evansville’s D. J. Balentine and Southern Illinois’ Anthony Beane to light up MVC gymnasiums and put up enormous scoring nights.

I would love to see those two go neck and neck for the MVC scoring title, driving their teams to title contention. But I don’t want them hovering around 20 points per game. I need a bunch of 30-plus performances to celebrate.

  1. Astronomical Double-Doubles

Egidijus Mockevicius from the MVC’s Evansville Purple Aces and Chris Horton from the OVC’s Austin Peay Governors are off to incredible starts in racking up double figure games in both points and rebounds. As of this writing, Mockevicius and Horton both have turned the ‘double feature’ eleven times and are locked in a four-way tie for the top spot in the nation.

Mockevicious turned in 20 ‘twin-killings’ last year and should surpass that number this season. He and Horton are also climbing all-time league marks in the category and in their respective league’s rebounding charts as well.

  1. Some Valley Team in the Sweet 16

Of course Wichita State got to the Sweet Sixteen again last year and other MVC schools have been making a fairly frequent visit to that round of the NCAA Tournament, but based on current records, it looks unlikely this season for either of our Valley conferences to get that far.

How fun would it be for one of the surprising OVC teams to win two games during March Madness?

  1. Cameron Biedscheid Display His Enormous Talent

Jacksonville State’s Cameron Biedscheid is both well-traveled and under performing. He has become eligible at JSU, but has only played three of the five games in which he was eligible. He’s averaging 10 points per game that he has played.

One of the very best players in recent years, from the St. Louis area, he averaged over six points per game as a true freshman at Notre Dame. Sat out a year and transferred to Missouri where he never played a game. He landed on James Green’s team and we are waiting for him to dominate, like we believe he can.

  1. No Coaches to Leave the MVC After the Season
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Gregg Marshall & Greg Lansing

This is both about really good teams and those that are struggling. We don’t need any more Valley coaches to leave for ‘greener pastures’ nor do I think Missouri State should give up on Paul Lusk.

I’m truly hoping guys like Gregg Marshall at Wichita State and Ben Jacobson at Northern Iowa never leave. I know I am old, but there is something special about the days when coaches seemed to stay forever at one school and developed long standing rivalries with other coaches and programs

  1. Great Recruiting Classes for Both Leagues

I sincerely believed this would be a truly special year for the MVC and great year of progress for the OVC. So far … not so much. Valley schools struggled in the non-conference while playing the ninth best strength of schedule in the nation. Very respectable on the scheduling, but you have to win more of those games to rise on the national radar.

The OVC is shockingly having a down year. With so many key returning players, many felt this was a year for great growth. Instead the entire West Division is under .500 and while the East is much better, their list of opponents isn’t impressive.

  1. 9 or 10 Teams In Post-Season Play

With the NIT, CIT and CBI tournaments available, half of the teams in the MVC and probably three or four OVC teams could still be playing beyond their particular ‘Madness’ tournaments.

As I traveled to three CIT games last year, I found those tournaments compelling and they were extremely valuable for the particular teams. BTW, if those tournaments could pit Valley schools against OVC programs, say in the second round, that would be great. It is perfect for this Valley Hoops Insider to be able to report on two teams for the price of one.

  1. Mark Adams To Broadcast All the Games

No one understands the challenges and the glories of MVC and mid-major basketball like Mark Adams. Or as Mark calls it #doingmorewithless. His enthusiasm, knowledge and heart-felt passion is second to none. Like with our head coaches, I hope the big boys don’t come calling too often for his services.

  1. Me to Broadcast One Game with Mark Adams

While we’re on that subject, one thing on my bucket list is to announce games (I have done many MVC games on radio) for these two leagues, but specifically doing it with Mark and his green tie by my side would be the icing on the cake!

  1. Another Packed Out Scottrade Center for Arch Madness

I have been to 18 straight ‘Arch Madness’ events and the 2007 Tournament that sold out the then SavisCenter for both the semi-finals and championship game was as cool as it gets. There were scalpers outside the building. This season has the makings of approaching that again.

  1. Saint Louis University to Find ‘the Guy’

As we have written previously, the Billiken basketball team has some nice parts, but we’re still looking for someone to take the ‘lead role’. If one player can emerge and be a reliable ‘go to’ player, they could salvage the season.

  1. Jayson Tatum Wins the State Title & Flips His Commitment to Mizzou
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Jayson Tatum

One of the top three prep players in the country is Chaminade’s Jayson Tatum. His team is loaded. He’s averaging over 30 points per game. He’s won at least three gold medals internationally, but in his time with the Red Devils have not won a state title.

Here’s hoping he wins it all this year (with Indiana State recruit Jordan Barnes) and realizes he wants to keep playing at Mizzou Arena, decommits from Duke and signs with Kim Anderson’s Tigers.

Now that would be a good year.

Do Good

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