It had to happen eventually, and this was a pretty crummy way to go. In some ways I prefer a loss by 10 points than one like Missouri State suffered at Indiana State to break the Bears’ nine-game winning streak.
I’ll save my dissertation on “A foul is a foul is a foul” for a later post. Instead, let’s just spin this loss for a bit.
Spin 1: That’s probably the best place for a road loss. There are no “good” losses for MO State as far as an NCAA at-large resume goes, but if they were going to stub there to somewhere, this might have been the best place. Indiana State’s overall record isn’t good, but they’re off to a hot start in Valley play and are unbeaten at home. Not too shabby…and definitely a lot less shabby than having tripped up at Drake (8-11, 3-5), Evansville (9-9, 3-5), or Illinois State (8-11, 0-8). There’s still a trip to Southern Illinois on the schedule (10-9, 4-4), which is the second best place for a road loss.
Spin 2: Ha ha ha, Wichita State! The Shockers, the preseason Valley fave, have now lost two at home and are still a game back of the Bears (and now, Indiana State). WSU’s title hopes have taken a big hit now, as has their hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Spin 3: Mighty MO State is still in awesome shape. Yep, still tops in the Valley – though now tied – almost to the halfway mark. MSU survived a brutal early-season Valley schedule with a 7-1 record, and if you’re a Bears fan you should be ecstatic about that. One loss? Really? With trips to UNI, Wichita, Creighton, and Indiana State? Boss. The schedule is a lot less daunting from here on out. They don’t play a single road game against a team with a winning Valley record (though SIU might be there come Feb. 23) and they get six of their last 10 league games at home.
Things aren’t so awesome for Indiana State and Wichita State. The Sycamores must visit JQH Arena for a rematch with the Bears and still have to visit WSU, Creighton and SIU. They only play four of their last 10 Valley games at home. The Shockers, meanwhile, have one game to make up and still have to visit MO State and play Indiana State twice. WSU has a 5/5 home/road split down the stretch, but the five away include trips to MSU, Indiana State, SIU and UNI. Ouch.
Spin 4: The RPI only absorbed a flesh wound. The Springfield News-Leader’s Lyndal Scranton just tweeted that the Bears’ RPI fell only three spots, from 36 to 39, according to WarrenNolan.com. It coulda been worse, right?
Annoyed, not concerned. That’s how I’d describe my feelings about the loss to Indiana State. Good things are still out there for this Missouri State team, but they’ve got to take care of their business. They’ll get back to work at that Saturday night against Creighton.
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