Well, everyone commences plays tomorrow, and looking at the match-ups in initial contests, every Valley team has a chance to win or lose, not because of the obvious someone's gotta win or lose but because every match, based on last year's final Pablo Rankings, has Valley teams playing a team that is pretty close in ranking to the Valley team that they play.
To give some examples....Bradley @ 290 plays Toledo @ 281. SIU @ 134 plays Delaware @ 172. That's not a huge difference. And it goes on and on like that the entire first set of games that Valley teams play.
Valley ball was down last year and the year before compared to years before those. Last year the bottom tier was really down. I'm hoping we will see a resurgence in the league overall. The only team that I think will slide down from last year is Illinois St since they lost so many key players. But their coach is very good, so who knows, maybe they will surprise.
When you look at non-conf scheduling, both UNI and WSU stand out, esp UNI since they play no one with less than a 174 ranking from last year. When you compare the Top 6 teams that UNI and WSU each play, it's like splitting hairs. After that, UNI's sched is superior. Next in line in toughness of scheduling is MSU, and after that SIU and Illinois St. At least there are four teams in The Valley that can make the other Top 5 squirm. Again, it's the bottom five that we've gotta hope moves up from how they were playing last year for/to help the conference get an at large berth.