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.