It's a light week for the Missouri Valley Conference's men's basketball teams during finals week.
SIU (7-3) has the only game until Saturday, hosting Murray State (5-1) on ESPN+ Wednesday night. The Salukis have won five straight games and seven of their last eight dating back to the loss against UMass in Las Vegas. SIU beat Southeast Missouri State (5-5) 83-73 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, without senior guard Armon Fletcher, who was suspended prior to the game for breaking team rules.
It is not clear if Fletcher will play against the Racers.
Here are this week's MVC Power Rankings:
No. 1 — Southern Illinois Salukis (7-3)
Previous rank: 2 / NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool, former RPI): 62
Last week: Beat Saint Louis 61-56, beat Southeast Missouri State 83-73 / This week: Host Murray State (5-5) Wednesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN+), Carbondale; at No. 14 Buffalo (9-0) Saturday, 1 p.m. (ESPN+), Buffalo, N.Y.
Notes: SIU's five-game winning streak entering Wednesday night's game ties Drake (6-1), which won at Milwaukee Thursday night, 75-61. The Bulldogs play Iowa State in Des Moines Saturday as part of the final Hy-Vee Classic. ... Senior guard Sean Lloyd was named the league's player of the week after scoring a career-high 25 points in Fletcher's absence Saturday. Lloyd made 9 of 15 from the field, including 3 of 6 from the 3-point line, and 4 of 6 at the free-throw line. Lloyd scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win over Saint Louis, the preseason favorite in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
No. 2 — Bradley Braves (7-3)
Previous rank: 3 / NET: 156
Last week: Did not play / This week: Host Eastern Illinois (5-5) Saturday, 7 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago/ESPN3)
Notes: Guard Darrell Brown scored 18 points during a second-half rally against Little Rock and became the 47th player in school history to reach 1,000 or more points. Brown reached the mark in 75 games. Brown is one of two players in the MVC, along with Indiana State's Tyreke Key, to score 10 points or more in every game this season. ... Three of Bradley's next four games are in Peoria.
No. 3 — Loyola Ramblers (5-5)
Previous rank: 1 / NET: 120
Last week: Lost 55-41 to No. 23 Maryland / This week: Host Norfolk State (4-6) Sunday, 3 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notes: Loyola fell to 1-2 on neutral-site courts with the loss to Maryland in Baltimore. The Ramblers are 3-3 at home so far this season. ... Sophomore guard Lucas Williamson broke his hand and is expected to be out until January. Junior guard Bruno Skokna, the Ramblers' most experienced guard off the bench, sprained his thumb and is expected out for two weeks. ... Center Cameron Krutwig averaged 15.5 points and eight rebounds per game last week. Krutwig made 62.5 percent of his field goals (15 of 24).
No. 4 — Drake Bulldogs (6-1)
Previous rank: 6 / NET: 93
Last week: Beat Milwaukee 75-61 / This week: Vs. Iowa State (8-2) Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (Mediacom), Des Moines, Hy-Vee Classic
Notes: Drake's win at Milwaukee was its third this season on the road or at a neutral site. The Bulldogs beat North Dakota State 95-88 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where the Vikings play. ... The Bulldogs haven't played any top 25 teams, but are off to their best start since the 2007-08 season, when they went 22-1 before losing their second game. Drake won the MVC regular-season title that season.
No. 6 — Indiana State Sycamores (6-2)
Previous rank: 4 / NET: 118
Last week: Lost 80-69 to North Texas, beat Truman State 77-69 / This week: At TCU (7-1) Sunday, 4 p.m. (ESPNU), Fort Worth, Texas
Notes: Guard Jordan Barnes reached the 20-point mark for the third straight game against Division II Truman State. Larry Bird has the school record with 25 straight 20-point games. ... The Sycamores continue to lead the nation in 3-point shooting (48.2 percent). Barnes (45 3s) and Key (57) have nearly half of Indiana State's 208 3-pointers this season. ... This week will be a big one for the Sycamores, as they can add Iowa transfer Christian Williams and Butler transfer Cooper Neece for this weekend's game at TCU.
No. 7 — Valparaiso Crusaders (6-4)
Previous rank: 7 / NET: 210
Last week: Won 82-79 at George Washington / This week: Off
Notes: The Crusaders are off this week with finals week and won't return to the court until Monday at home against Ball State. Valparaiso played nine games within 24 days before taking a break for finals. ... Valparaiso canned 15 of 27 3-pointers against George Washington. The Crusaders' 15 triples were the most they've had since going 15 of 26 behind the arc against Illinois-Chicago Feb. 5, 2013.
No. 8 — Illinois State Redbirds (6-5)
Previous rank: 5 / NET: 202
Last week: Lost 94-75 to Illinois-Chicago; lost 81-74 to Ole Miss / This week: Host Cleveland State (4-7) Sunday, 1 p.m. (ESPN+)
Notes: Guard Zach Copeland returned to the court against Ole Miss after missing the loss to UIC with a bum knee and scored 11 points, one of five Redbirds in double figures against the Rebels. Illinois State shot 41.3 percent from the field, including 10 of 25 from the 3-point line, but lost its third straight game. Illinois State played without Matt Hein for the seventh straight game (leg strain) and forward Taylor Bruninga, who hasn't played this season with a stress fracture. Matt Chastain, a 6-foot-6 sophomore guard/forward who sat out last season, played three minutes against Ole Miss.
Zach Copeland returned after missing Wednesday's 94-75 loss at UIC with a balky knee and chipped in 11 points, while Isaac Gassman had a season-high 10. The Redbirds shot 41.3 percent from the field, going 10 of 25 outside the arc, and made 12 of 19 at the line.
No. 9 — Evansville Purple Aces (5-4)
Previous rank: 9 / NET: 161
Last week: Lost to Arkansas State 87-77, beat Ball State 89-77 / This week: Host Jacksonville State (5-3) Saturday, 1 p.m. (ESPN3), Evansville, Ind.
Notes: After nine games, Evansville is last in the MVC in rebounding margin (minus-4.3 per game). ... The Purple Aces are second in the Valley in offense (79 points per game) and eighth in defense (77.6 points allowed per game). ... Evansville pulled off a 44-11 run over the end of the first half and early in the second half against Ball State. The Aces ultimately won by 12 points.
No. 10 — Missouri State Bears (4-5)
Previous rank: 10 / NET: 219
Last week: Beat Western Kentucky 84-78 / This week: At North Dakota State (3-7) Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (KOZL-TV, ESPN+), Fargo
Notes: Ryan Kreklow is 8 of 18 from the 3-point line in his last three games, all starts. Kreklow grabbed a career-high seven rebounds against Western Kentucky. ... The Bears' win over Western Kentucky snapped a five-game losing streak. ... Senior guard Jarred Dixon enters the week 25 points from 1,000 for his career. Dixon has scored in double figures 49 times in his career and in 13 of his last 15 games. ... Forward Jared Ridder, a transfer from Xavier who the Bears thought they'd have at the beginning of the season because he sat out last season, will finally make his MSU debut at NDSU. Ridder was a three-star recruit out of Springfield (Mo.) Kickapoo High School and was the Mr. Show-Me Basketball in Missouri after averaging 24.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as a senior.