Winning the MVC Tournament not only takes talent, but depth as well. The Creighton Blue Jays have both of those. Creighton won the regular season conference title and are playing at a level right now that doesn’t give anyone a reason to suspect they won’t win the tournament as well.
Everyone knows about Doug McDermott. He is by far the best individual player in the MVC, and can score seemingly at will, but the Blue Jays are much more than just the Doug show.
Gregory Echenique might be the strongest player in the Valley this season and is a very good low post player.
Last season, Echenique won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the conference, and finished this season with 46 blocks, slightly down from his 2011-2012 total of 57.
Senior Grant Gibbs is another key for Creighton. He’s not the biggest scoring threat, but his biggest addition to the team was assists.
He led the conference with six assists a game, more than a full assist more than the next closest player. Let’s not forget about 6th man of the year, Ethan Wragge, probably the best pure shooter in the conference.
Creighton has the most talent in the conference, and it’s more than just Doug McDermott. They will win the 2013 MVC Tournament.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Creighton Blue Jays have been the best team in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.
However, they have their flaws such as their poor defensive play. If their shots aren’t falling, they are vulnerable. Since the MVC Tournament forces a team to play well for at least three consecutive games, it can be tough relying on hot shooting.
Thus, I’m picking the Evansville Purple Aces to earn the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the conference tournament this weekend.
Senior Colt Ryan, who finished second in MVC Player of the Year voting, leads Evansville’s offensive game. In his past three conference games, he’s scored at least 29 points, while shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
The Purple Aces just got their second-leading scorer, Ned Cox, back from a foot injury. He tallied seven assists in his first game back in their 84-68 win against Indiana State Saturday, who they will also play Friday evening.
As they roll into the MVC Tournament on a four-game winning streak, including a road win against second-seeded Wichita State, don’t be surprised when they win three more in a row to take the MVC crown.