Normalcy returned to the MVC the past week.
Missouri State and Wichita State separated themselves from the rest of the pack as they went 2-0 last week. Both teams are still in the hunt for the MVC regular season title and showed their desire to have the top spot as the conference tourney looms.
The Missouri State Bears dispatched Illinois State and Drake in a pair of nine-point wins, while the Wichita State Shockers had impressive road wins over Northern Iowa (73-55) and Evansville (70-64) last week.
Northern Iowa's dreams of the conference regular season title ended, however, with the loss to Wichita State.
This put the Panther's three games back with two conference games to play.
The conference front-runners both face tough challenges this weekend in the bracket-busters: The Bears travel to Horizon title contender Valparaiso and the Shockers host Colonial power Virgina Commonwealth.
As things starts to settle, the conference is looking at potentially two bids to the NCAA tournament.
However, bracket busters are this week and the conference needs to step up to keep those bids in hand.
Here is the complete slate of BracketBuster matchups:
• Virginia Commonwealth at Wichita State
• Missouri State at Valparaiso
• Morehead State at Indiana State
• Illinois State at Western Michigan
• Green Bay at Southern Illinois
• Creighton at Akron
• George Mason at Northern Iowa
• Evansville at Murray State
• Detroit at Drake
• Bradley at Tennessee-Martin
*Favorites denoted in bold
The matchups definitely do not play in the MVC's favor, as the conference's top four have tough matchups and the bottom half of the conference has underachieved most of the season.
With that being the case, a 4-6 mark is probably in the cards, though a low of 2-8 and a high of 6-4 would not be surprising.
Once the weekend is over, the teams head into the final full week of conference play before getting ready for March Madness in St. Louis.
MVC WEEKLY RANKINGS
10. Southern Illinois 11-16 (5-11 MVC) Last week: No. 10
9. Illinois State 11-16 (3-13 MVC) Last week: No. 8
8. Bradley 9-18 (3-13 MVC) Last week: No. 9
7. Drake 11-16 (6-10 MVC) Last week: No. 6
6. Evansville 14-12 (8-8 MVC) Last week: No. 4
5. Creighton 17-11 (9-7 MVC) Last week: No. 7
4. Northern Iowa 19-9 (10-6 MVC) Last week: No. 3
3. Indiana State 15-12 (10-6 MVC) Last week: No. 5
2. Wichita State 22-5 (13-3 MVC) Last week: No. 2
1. Missouri State 21-6 (13-3 MVC) Last week: No. 1