College Basketball: Arch Madness for the Missouri Valley Conference

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College Basketball: Arch Madness for the Missouri Valley Conference

With a win over Wichita State Saturday, the Missouri State Bears won their first Missouri Valley Conference regular season title. Coach Cuonzo Martin is my pick for the MVC Coach of the Year, with Kyle Weems (16.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG) for Player of the Year.

Arch Madness, the MVC tournament, kicks off Thursday in St. Louis with two contests and concludes Sunday with the MVC tournament champion being crowned. With RPIs in the 40's, Missouri State (No. 46) and Wichita State (No. 48) might be sitting on pins and needles if they don't hoist the title at the Scottrade Center.

Here are the games and predictions for the tournament.

 

First Round

No. 8 Southern Illinois (12-18, 5-13) vs. No. 9 Illinois State (12-18, 4-14)

SIU and ISU split during the regular season, with each team winning on its own home court. Both teams are struggling as they both only have one win in their last five games. This game is for pride and potentially for SIU coach Chris Lowery's job.

Winner: SIU

 

Who will win the MVC Tournament

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No. 7 Drake (13-17, 7-11) vs. No. 10 Bradley (11-19, 4-14)

Drake and Bradley split during the regular season, with each team winning on its own home court, but Bradley beat the Bulldogs by 26 points Saturday. The young Bulldogs will put up a tough fight, but fall short. Watch out for Drake next season!

Winner: Bradley

 

Quarterfinals

No. 1 Missouri State (23-7, 15-3) vs. No. 8 Southern Illinois

Missouri State beat Southern Illinois by 17 and 18 points this season. The Bears have won six of their last seven games coming into the tournament, and it does not stop here.

Winner: Missouri State

 

No. 4 UNI (19-12, 10-8) vs. No. 5 Creighton (18-13, 10-8)

The Panthers and Bluejays split during the regular season, with each team winning on their own home court, but Creighton beat UNI by eight points Saturday. Northern Iowa comes into the tournament on a serious downswing, losing six of its last seven, while Creighton is 4-4 in its last eight. The Panthers' slide continues as they lose their fourth straight here and probably miss out on a postseason berth.

Winner: Creighton  

 

No. 2 Wichita State (23-7, 14-4) vs. No. 10 Bradley (11-19, 4-14)

Bradley lost to the Shockers by double-digits in both outings this season, and that will most likely happen a third time, as Wichita State is fighting for its NCAA life. The Shockers easily move on to the semis.

Winner: Wichita State

 

No. 3 Indiana State (17-13, 12-6) vs. No. 6 Evansville (15-14, 9-9)

Evansville defeated Indiana State in both matchups this season, but come into the game losing five of its last seven. The Sycamores have rebounded to win five of their last six after a five-game swoon cost them a chance at the MVC title. ISU gets the last laugh against their fellow Hoosiers and moves on to the semifinals.

Winner: Indiana State

 

Semifinals

No. 1 Missouri State vs. No. 5 Creighton

The Bears won both games against the Bluejays this season. With the way Missouri State is looking right now, Creighton has little chance. Unfortunately, with their RPI, the Bluejays (No. 146) will probably miss out on further postseason play after losing this matchup. 

Winner: Missouri State

 

No. 2 Wichita State vs. No. 3 Indiana State

Wichita State beat ISU twice this season, with both occurrences taking place during the Sycamores' five-game losing streak. Indiana State has peaked at the right time and scores the upset, sending the Shockers to the NIT. 

Winner: Indiana State

 

Finals

No. 1 Missouri State vs. No. 3 Indiana State

The Bears and Sycamores split their matchups during the season. Both teams are playing well as the tournament hits. In my first MVC Power Rankings, I had ISU on top. With that being the case, I give the edge to the Sycamores, as they will sneak into the dance. The Bears will have to wait to see if they sneak in or go to the NIT. 

Winner: Indiana State

 

GO VALLEY!!!

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