Ahead of the pack
Central Missouri / Emporia State: Tied atop the league standings, both Central Missouri and Emporia State should go 2-0 this week. The game that could decide the race is Emporia State’s game at Pittsburg State on Feb. 26. If Emporia State closes out the regular season, it’ll win the regular-season crown after thrashing Central Missouri, 80-67, on Jan. 11.
Up and coming
Pittsburg State: On an eight-game winning streak, the Gorillas own a two-game lead over Missouri Southern for third in the conference standings. However, a brutal four-game stretch awaits Pittsburg State to close out the regular season. It all starts Wednesday at Northeastern State.
On the skids
Fort Hays State: Losses to Emporia State and Pittsburg State have the Tigers on the outside looking in for the league’s top four spots. Fort Hays State, with three of its final four games at home, will need to win out and hope for help with losses from Missouri Southern and Washburn to earn a bye to the conference tournament in Kansas City.
- Lynch lands league honor: Washburn’s Brittney Lynch averaged 19 points and 11.5 rebounds in two games last week to nab MIAA women’s basketball Athlete of the Week honors. Lynch played 43 minutes and had 16 points and 10 rebounds in an overtime win over Northeastern State. In that game, she also made a game-tying basket in the lane with three seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Games of the week
Men: Nebraska Kearney at Emporia State
Without a marquee matchup this week, it’s all about positioning as the Lopers and Hornets jostle for a home game in the conference tournament. A loss coupled with a win by NSU could lead to a dicey final week of regular-season play next week.
Women: Pittsburg State at Missouri Southern
A win solidifies Pittsburg State’s stranglehold on third place. A win by Missouri Southern would almost certainly lock up a first-round by for the Lions with a manageable 2-0 final week looming.