Men's spring preview: Missouri Valley
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the 2014 spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Missouri Valley Conference:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Illinois State
• Player to watch: Louis Cohen Boyer, Wichita State. The junior is the conference’s highest-ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings at No. 145.
• Freshman to watch: Grant Bennett, Wichita State. The Shockers don’t have much consistency behind Boyer, but Bennett is the player most likely to change that this spring.
• Conference championship: April 28-29, TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Ill.
• Past champions (since 2009): Wichita State (2009-13)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Illinois State (152): The Redbirds finished third twice during the fall, at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate and the Badger Invitational, and boast one of the most experienced teams in the conference with a lineup that includes junior Jordan Fahel, and seniors Parker Freiburg and Wils Hawn. Freshman Turner Reid led the team in scoring average during the fall.
- Wichita State (160): The Shockers, who have won every conference championship since 2008, played the toughest schedule in the conference and managed to notch a pair of top 5s. Junior Louis Cohen Boyer led the conference in scoring average (72) and added four top 10s in five fall events.
- Missouri State (199): A runner-up finish at the John Dallio Memorial was Missouri State’s only finish better than seventh during the fall. Sophomore Brik Brauburger was a bright spot.
- Northern Iowa (201): Northern Iowa recorded three top 5s in five fall tournaments. Senior Ryan Horner and sophomore Kyle Driscoll give this squad a nice one-two punch atop the lineup.
- Bradley (208): Bradley was one of two conference teams to notch a team victory during the fall as it captured the Butler Fall Invitational.
- Evansville (209): One thing that stood out during the fall was Evansville leading the conference in team scoring average (292.23), although the 232nd toughest schedule in the country could explain that.
- Loyola (220): Led by the experience of senior Alex Cusumano and junior Nick Dennis, Loyola notched a big victory at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate, finishing ahead of six conference foes, including Illinois State. But it went 0-3 against conference foes in its other six fall starts.
- Southern Illinois (225): The Salukis finished fourth, fourth and fifth in their final three fall events after a poor start that included going 1-8 against conference opponents their first two tournaments.
- Drake (249): The Bulldogs finished in the bottom three spots on the leaderboard in three tournaments during the fall.
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LANCE RINGLER'S TAKE
Wichita State has won the last six Missouri Valley Conference Championships and while the Shockers are not to be dismissed from making it No. 7 this spring at TPC Deere Run it has giving hope to a few other MVC schools of snagging the league’s AQ and playing in the postseason. Illinois State is the team with the best chance to knock Wichita State off.