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This week's ESPN Bracketology update shows that at least one bracketologist, the dean Joe Lunardi, didn't think Missouri would take out Texas A&M anyway. Missouri holds steady in the latest Bracketology 101 session, moving to the Chicago regional but taking an eighth seed again, this time against ninth-seed Washington. Missouri State remains near the top of the list of teams on the bubble, while Indiana State's spot in their first NCAA Tournament in 10 years seems locked in, according to Lunardi—they're still pegged to take on San Diego State in the 3-14 matchup.
Texas A&M does move up after their victory—they take over a fifth seed in Tucson, where Lunardi has them playing Clemson. Their loss to the Texas Longhorns—a second seed at the moment—is unlikely to effect their tournament standing, unless the selection committee proves to be especially cruel.
For Missouri State fans, who once again see their team one upset away from a tournament berth, Selection Sunday has to seem like a long way away.
Junior guard Marcus Denmon’s 22-point night wasn’t enough for Missouri to advance past the second round of the Big 12 Tournament Friday, as the Tigers lost to a strong-looking Texas A&M squad by a score of 86-71. A 46-33 first-half was all it took for the Aggies, whose overtime victory over the Tigers in January was one of the first chinks in Mizzou’s armor. Relentless efficiency was the order of the day—A&M shot .578 from the field, was 8-16 from behind the three-point line, and made 26 free throws in 34 attempts.
Missouri, meanwhile, had trouble scoring all night. Past Denmon the team hit just 13 of 45 shots and was 0-10 from three-point range. It was a rough end to the Big 12 Tournament for a team that had been ranked as high as ninth in the top 25 before falling out of the national conversation in the last weeks of the season.
Prior to tonight’s loss, the team had been hovering around the eighth seed in most Bracketology reports.
The Big 12 quarterfinals will wrap up Thursday with the Missouri Tigers taking on Texas A&M in a matchup that pits one of the highest-scoring teams in the country with one of the lowest. A&M won the last matchup in overtime, by a score of 91-89 against a Mizzou team that was ranked 12th. Missouri is coming off an 88-84 win against Texas Tech in which they couldn’t quite pull away; A&M beat Tech in their last regular-season game of the season, winning 66-54. Those two scores are all that needs be said about the teams’ respective tempos; find them on your TV schedule shortly after a Sportscenter rerun—the tip-off is 8:30 on ESPN2.
A&M’s victory over Missouri was at the peak of Big 12 influence for both teams. It was Texas A&M’s 13th consecutive win, but they’d drop their next game by 21 points to Texas and finished the season on a 7-6 run. Missouri was 15-2 when they ran into A&M; they’d go 7-7 to close the season, dropping out of the top 25 after peaking at nine in the new year.
Missouri visits the Southeast bracket in Joe Lunardi's latest ESPN Bracketology update, taking on a rising Marquette in the Cleveland regional for a chance at a likely matchup with Pitt in the fat part of the NCAA Tournament bracket, while Indiana State, the Missouri Valley Tournament champions, remain unchanged in their projected 3-14 matchup against San Diego State in the Tuscon regional. Missouri State remains near the top of the bad side of the bubble, third of his First Four Out.
Missouri's narrow first-round win against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament can't have increased confidence in the sliding Tigers; after opening up big leads on multiple occasions—against a team whose coach had already been fired—they ended the second half in a 40-40 knot, holding on only by their four point halftime lead. The sixth-seeded Tigers will take on third-seeded Texas A&M in the quarterfinals today, with the goal of at least maintaining their precarious position in the NCAA Tournament come the time when bracketology gives way to just-plain-brackets.
Fresh off their MVC Tournament victory Indiana State makes its first appearance on Joe Lunardi's Bracketology, placing 14th in ESPN's first attempt to make sense of the Missouri Valley Conference's new autobid-holder. They're currently pegged to play San Diego State in the Tucson regional. Missouri State, the long-time placeholder at the position, had been a 12th seed; with that tournament loss they've fallen onto the wrong side of the bubble, stuck as one of Lunardi's first teams out of the tournament.
In Indiana State's last season as MVC postseason champs the Sycamores won a first round upset over Oklahoma by a score of 70-68 before falling to Dan Dickau and Gonzaga in an 85-68 loss in the second round. The next year they fell to 6-22, and they haven't been back to the tournament since. Past that two year run as an MVC big-shot their last nationally notable season was 1979, when Larry Bird took them to a 33-1 season before ascending to Boston on a cloud.
After drifting down to the eighth seed ahead of their narrow loss to Kansas in last week's edition of Joe Lunardi's Bracketology Missouri held steady Monday, still holding their spot in the NCAA Tournament's Cleveland regional against ninth-seeded Tennessee. Missouri State, as predicted, fell out of the bracket entirely following their MIssouri Valley Tournament loss to Indiana State; they're listed as among the first four out in this week's edition.
MIssouri couldn't exactly be faulted for losing by four points to a team that's had a number-one seed sewn up since Bracketology 101 was an after-school elective, but their place in the tournament remains precarious pending the results of the Big 12 Tournament, which begins Wednesday. Mizzou comes into its first-round matchup with Texas Tech having lost its last three games, including two on the road to Kansas City and Nebraska before their tough home loss to Kansas. Their game with Texas Tech comes on the heels of Pat Knight having been fired pending the end of the tournament, which should lend a strange dynamic to the affair in Kansas City.
Missouri's fall from NCAA Tournament grace continues in the March 4 edition of Joe Lunardi's Bracketology, the only scientific discipline offered at ESPN University. (espn2 university-wilmington briefly offered a PhD. in x-treme studies.) They fell to eighth even before losing 70-66 to Kansas on Saturday, which puts them all the way in Cleveland for a first-round match-up against ninth-seed Tennessee. Missouri State's MVC-autobid 12th seed, meanwhile, belongs to Indiana State following their upset victory in the Missouri Valley tournament.
Missouri will need a strong showing in the Big 12 Tournament, starting Wednesday, to regain their footing after unpleasant losses to Kansas State and Nebraska; they'll start in Kansas City against Texas Tech, Wednesday at 8:30. Missouri State goes from an automatic bid to a seriously troubled bubble team, in spite of their performance in the MVC's regular season; Bernie Miklasz, among others, notes that it would require a Copernican repudiation of bracketology, at this point, for Missouri State to receive an at-large bid. It's tough being a big fish in a mid-major pond when one of the medium-sized fish gets in a good punch. Or whatever it is fish use to fight each other; the metaphor breaks down there.
Indiana State University earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 10 years Sunday afternoon, topping the number-one seeded Missouri State in St. Louis by a score of 60-56 to win the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The loss makes Missouri State longshots to appear in the tournament, and leaves Indiana State, the MVC’s new representatives, just the fourth team in the country to win an automatic bid so far. Kyle Weems was just 3-16 from the field in the Bears’ ugly loss.
Indiana State, the third seed in the tournament with a conference record of 12-6, won a narrow victory over sixth-seeded Evansville before upsetting Wichita State in the semi-finals. MSU shot just 18-59 from the field in their loss, falling despite taking 15 field goal attempts more than the Sycamores. Aaron Carter led Indiana State with 15 points on 3-5 shooting, including two three pointers and seven free throws in nine attempts.
Missouri State’s regular season championship victory was their first; they haven’t won the tournament since 1992, when they lost a first round NCAA Tournament contest with Michigan State. Their last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 1999, when they reached the Sweet 16 in Steve Alford’s last season as coach.
The Sycamores reached the tournament twice in a row in 2000 and 2001, their only appearances since Larry Bird took them to the National Championship game in 1979.
The Missouri Valley Conference Championship Game, the concluding action of this weekend's Arch Madness MVC basketball tournament, will feature Missouri State as expected, but Indiana State's startling upset of Wichita State in the semi-finals leaves the MVC Tournament bracket with plenty of intrigue as the schedule winds down. Number-one ranked Missouri State will look to join Northern Iowa among recent regular season/tournament dual champions Sunday night on CBS.
Wichita State found itself unable to handle center Myles Walker in a low-scoring affair that saw the teams shoot well below 40% from the field. J.T. Durley's 18 points and 11 rebounds weren't enough when the team's other four starters combined to score six points and shoot 2-19 from the field.
Indiana State will meet a Missouri State team that's coming off a similar slog. Missouri State got their only efficient evening from Jermaine Mallett, who picked up 18 points and 11 rebounds, including six offensive boards; they dealt with a 1-6 night from center Will Creekmore and got just two points from their abbreviated bench. Kyle Weems was dominant on defense, picking up four blocks and four steals.
Neither team looked good in their MVC tournament-capping wins; winning the championship game will be a matter of pulling out of that offensive tailspin first.
Two of the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference faced major challenges in the MVC tournament Friday, with Missouri State winning a narrow victory over Southern Illinois and the defending champs, Northern Iowa, losing 60-57 to Creighton. Only the Wichita State Shockers won convincingly, opening up a 13-point lead over Bradley in the first half on their way to a 70-56 victory. They'll join Missouri State, Creighton, and Indiana State in the sem-final round of the MVC Tournament bracket. Today's TV schedule is a little less crowded than yesterday's, but I'll explain it to you anyway, in the spirit of Arch Madness.
Missouri State and fifth-seeded Creighton will face off at 1:35 on Fox Sports Midwest; after a reasonable grieving period Missouri Valley Conference fans will be allowed, discreetly, to watch Wichita State and Indiana State at 4:05. If Creighton wins they will join the winner of that game at 1:05 on CBS Sunday, just one win away from finally earning that "Creighton State" monicker they've wanted for so long.
Missouri State, victimized by Mamadou Seck all night, will be pleasantly surprised to learn that he's not allowed to join Creighton for either game.
Missouri State moves up to the 12th seed in the Southwest Bracket in the latest ESPN Bracketology update from Joe Lunardi, set to take on Arizona in Denver. But as the Missouri Valley Conference's regular season champions continue to scale the bracket their colleagues at Mizzou continue to falter, falling to a seventh-seed position against Marquette after their continued road struggles.
Missouri State had been a 13th seed in the previous edition, with Missouri sixth. Which proves my theory: Winning games puts you in a better position to succeed in the NCAA tournament, while losing makes it more difficult. Missouri's been bouncing between six and seven for some time now, and Missouri State 12th and 13th, so these latest machinations shouldn't be especially surprising.
But Missouri State's performance in the ongoing Missouri Valley Tournament will be crucial to their future placement. They'll play down-on-their-luck ex-powerhouses the Southern Illinois Salukis at 12:05 today on Fox Sports Midwest, and anything is possible from there. Though SIU is really, really down on its luck.
The Missouri Valley Tournament bracket is set for Friday after Thursday's MVC conference tournament action saw the Southern Illinois Salukis pull off a narrow victory over Illinois State, and Bradley roll over Drake. If you're following along on your MVC Tournament bracket, feel free to get a pen and rejoin us when you're ready to fill in the blanks next to Wichita State and Missouri State; if you're following along on TV Guide, now is a chance to confirm your MVC tournament TV schedule and maybe call your boss, because Fox Sports Midwest is airing four games today. Arch Madness is officially in progress.
Top-seeded Missouri State will play SIU at 12:05 to kick the action off. They're followed by defending-champs Northern Iowa against Creighton at 2:35, followed by a brief intermission and then Wichita State and Bradley at 6:05. Indiana State, even now hoping the results of their Larry Bird cloning program are NCAA eligible, will play Evansville to conclude the day of mid-major basketball at 8:35.
If you're watching the whole slate of games, be sure to remain adequately hydrated, crack open a window if weather permits, and try to get up and around 10 minutes out of every hour to avoid dangerous blockages.
The MVC basketball tournament begins today at Scottrade Center, and those of you with Missouri Valley Conference brackets on your cubicle wall (hello, SIU-attending siblings and Missouri State-based readers) probably already have the TV schedule memorized. Those of you who are into the whole Arch Madness thing, primarily, will find an MVC tournament bracket here and a schedule below.
Thursday kicks off with Southern Illinois and Illinois State at 6:05 PM on the MVC TV Network, which includes Fox Sports Midwest—in St. Louis Blues territory, namely St. Louis, that will be on FSN Midwest's secondary stations. Drake and Bradley will follow at 8:35, unless SIU and ISU get into a multi-overtime game for the ages, in which case I suggest waiting for further reports on this storystream.
Friday is the big day, though—FSN Midwest will air four games, starting with number-one-seeded Missouri State against the winner of that multi-overtime game for the ages at 12:05. Northern Iowa and Creighton go on at 2:35, with Wichita State and the winner of Drake-Bradley playing at 6:05 and Indiana State (still without Larry Bird) and Evansville concluding the slate at 8:35. Barring any capricious rescheduling by the St. Louis Blues those will all play live on The Real Fox Sports Midwest.
Southern Illinois and Illinois State kick off the Missouri Valley Tournament Thursday, March 3, kicking off the college basketball event now officially known as Arch Madness. Drake and Bradley will play at Scottrade Center that night, with the winner of each game playing No. 1 Missouri State and No. 2 Wichita State, respectively, on Friday. It all comes down to the MVC championship on March 6, which will be televised on CBS at 1:05 p.m..
With Southern Illinois, last decade's powerhouse MVC team, in dire straits, and two-time defending champions Northern Iowa kicked down to the fourth seed, the tournament's top seed is Missouri State, who at 23-7 (and 15-3 in-conference) have their strongest team since the 1999 Southwest Missouri State squad reached the Sweet 16 before losing to Duke. The second-seed Wichita State Shockers finished in second place in conference play last year, as well, as the champion Northern Iowa Panthers went on to upset Kansas and lose narrowly to Michigan State.
You can find a Missouri Valley Tournament bracket, in handy, print-out-and-bettable PDF form, on the conference's official web site.
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