Credits for the following goes to 1972Shocker from Shockernet: (thank you, 72)
"I don't think Drake played a real challenging non-conference slate however, I do expect them to significantly tougher than Evansville. Drake swept Evansville 15, 11, 18 in Des Moines. They followed that up with by being swept at home by SIU 20, 16, 18. Then they proceed to knock off Loyola 3-1 in Chicago then Loyola turns around an beats SIU in Carbondale then SIU turns around and beat Missouri State in Carbondale. UNI beat SIU 3-1 in Cedar Falls but then had to come from behind to beat Evansville at home in 5 sets before losing at Indiana State in 5 and being swept by Illinois State this past weekend.
The league appears to a be a little schizophrenic so far. That could be because a lot of the teams are young and the balance among the top 8 teams in the league outside of Evansville and Bradley appears to be about as good as it has ever been. Not sure the Shocks can just show up against Drake and UNI and expect to win especially on the road."
Great summation of the past couple of weeks. I will add this: neither the Shocks or the Bears are in command of anything in The Valley this year, from what I've seen. I watched the Bears match against SIU, and SIU is a very athletic, tough, determined team. They played like their life was on the line (which it might of been, in a way) on Monday night. I also watched the last two sets of Drake's comeback win in 5 sets on the road against the Sycs. I could see Drake beating the Bears tomorrow night, as jacked as they were by the end of that Syc contest. Hope not, but Drake looked good those last two sets. And the Sycs took Bears to 5 sets here in Springfield.
Besides the Bears match against Drake, which is not on ESPN3, I'm looking forward to checking in on the Illinois St @ Loyola and the Wichita St @ UNI matches, which both are on ESPN3, on Friday night.
I realize I'm not Mr Objective, but I do believe that this year's Bears' team is the best one I've seen in 5-10 years, and if weren't that it's a pretty young team, I'd expect them to take Drake on the road (and if I think the Bears are kind of young, I look at the roster list for SIU and go...holy cow!), so I'm hedging due to all the conflicting results we've seen so far. I'm not ready to say it's a sign of MVC schizophrenia....might be more like reality.....the extreme balance within the league.