2012 Missouri Valley Tournament: Creighton Wins Title Game With 83-79 OT Victory Over Illinois St.

The 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament ends on Sunday with the winner of Arch Madness going dancing.

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Illinois State Vs. Creighton Final Score: Bluejays Avoid Upset In 83-79 Overtime Win

The Creighton Bluejays pulled off an 83-79 overtime victory over the Illinois State Redbirds in the Missouri Valley Conference title game, giving the team an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays nearly became the second consecutive ranked team to get upset by the Redbirds in the tournament after No. 14 Wichita State lost in the semifinals.

But Illinois State's run towards an NCAA Tournament appearance is likely over, as the team essentially needed to get the automatic bid from winning the conference tournament to land in the 66-team field. The Redbirds finish the year at 20-13, while No. 24 Creighton moves up to 28-5.

The Redbirds led at halftime, 31-30, and maintained a solid effort all night. They led 51-45 roughly midway through the second half before a Creighton run gave the Bluejays the lead. The two teams traded leads all night long, with Illinois State matching numerous Creighton baskets in the final minutes.

In overtime, Creighton quickly took advantage and didn't relinquish the lead. The Bluejays began overtime on a 9-2 run and led by as many as nine points. Illinois State made things interesting in the final minute by knocking down three consecutive three-point shots, but Antoine Young made four free throws in the final minute to stave off the comeback.

Creighton's Doug McDermott, one of the nation's top scorers, was the game's leading scorer with 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting. The Bluejays also got 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Grant Gibbs. Illinois State had a balanced offensive attack, led by Nic Moore's 20 points and five assists. The Redbirds also got 17 points from Jackie Carmichael and 16 points from Tyler Brown.

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Illinois State Vs. Creighton Score Update: Redbirds Eye Upset, Lead 31-30 At Halftime

After a major upset of No. 14 Wichita State in the semifinals, the Illinois State Redbirds are now leading 31-30 at halftime over No. 24 Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference final. The winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and Illinois State essentially needs this victory to get a bid.

With an underwhelming regular season out of the way, Illinois State is hoping for a second consecutive major upset. The Redbirds haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1998, with only six appearances overall in school history.

Creighton actually led for most of the first half, but credit Illinois State for making a major comeback. The Bluejays were leading 27-16 with about six minutes left in the half, but the Redbirds would proceed to finish off the half on a 15-3 run.

Doug McDermott, one of the nation's top scorers, leads Creighton with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He's gotten help from Grant Gibbs, who has chipped in six points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal. Tyler Brown leads Illinois State with eight points and Jackie Carmichael has added seven points.

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Missouri Valley Tournament 2012, Illinois State Vs. Creighton: Redbirds, Bluejays Shoot For NCAA Tournament Automatic Bid

The Creighton Bluejays are aware of the upset potential while facing the Illinois St. Redbirds in the Missouri Valley Tournament on Saturday.

Illinois State upset Wichita State, 65-64, in Saturday thanks to a pair of clutch free throws by Tyler Brown. In fact, Creighton was aware of the upset while heading into their game against Evansville, which they rolled to a 99-71 victory.

Gregory Echenique had a season-best 20 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in just 20 minutes.

Antoine Brown, who poured in 13 points in the win over Evansville, said the team wishes they could have a shot at Wichita State in the championship game:

"I think everybody on our team would want Wichita in the finals," Young said. "That would have been nice, but it is what it is. It's just another opportunity to go out and prove ourselves."

The Bluejays don't anticipate becoming the next victim.

Creighton is looking for its first NCAA tournament berth since 2007, while Illinois State is looking for its first tournament appearance since 1998.

Game time/date: 1:05 p.m. CT, Sunday, March 4, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: CBS

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Arch Madness 2012 Update: Creighton Rolls To Impressive Win

After watching Wichita St. fall to Illinois St. earlier in the day, there was no way that Creighton was going to overlook Evansville. Following two hotly-contested meetings during the regular-season, the Blue Jays came out and completely dominated the Aces in the 99-71 win. With the victory, the Blue Jays will face Illinois St. in the tournament final tomorrow.

Gregory Echenique anchored the paint for Creighton in the victory, scoring a season-high 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Doug McDermott chipped in 14 points in just 23 minutes of action, while Antoine Young netted 13 points. The Blue Jays shot 60.4% from the field and dished out 22 assists.

In the loss, Kenneth Harris scored 17 points to lead the Aces. Troy Taylor scored eight points and dished out a team-high five assists before fouling out of the game. However, Evansville shot just 42.4% from the field as team in the loss.

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Illinois St. Vs. Wichita St. Score Update: Redbirds Pull Their Own Shocker

Heading into Arch Madness, many people assumed that No. 14 Wichita St. would cruise to a matchup with Creighton in the final. Not only were the Shockers rolling through the Missouri Valley, they were also starting to get some buzz as a potential Elite 8 type team. However, the Illinois St. Redbirds decided to throw a wrench into those plans, as they stunned the Shockers with a thrilling 65-64 victory.

Tyler Brown led the way for the Redbirds in the win, netting a game-high 25 points on 9/19 shooting. Brown was at his best in the clutch, as he hit two free-throws in the final seconds to give the Redbirds the one point lead. Jackie Carmichael and Nic Moore each added 12 points in the monumental win.

In the loss, the Shockers received 17 points on 5/9 shooting from Joe Ragland. Toure Murry added 15 points for Wichita St, which shot just 34.9% from the field as a team.

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MVC Tournament 2012 Semifinals, Creighton Vs. Evansville: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

2012 Missouri Valley conference tournament semifinal round wraps up Saturday afternoon matchup between the No. 2 seed Creighton Bluejays and No. 3 seed Evansville Aces. The winner will take on the team that advances from the earlier semifinal game between the top-seeded Wichita State Shockers and the No. 4 seed Illinois State Redbirds. The Arch Madness final is set to take place on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS Sports.

Creighton took out the Drake Bulldogs by a score of 68-61 in the quarterfinals thanks to 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and nine rebounds from Doug McDermott. Meanwhile, Evansville dropped the Missouri St. Bears behind 20 points and eight rebounds from Kenny Harris and 19 points from Colt Ryan. Here is some information to help you find the game on Saturday afternoon.

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Semifinal Round

#2 Creighton Bluejays (26-5, 14-4 MVC) vs. #3 Evansville Purple Aces (16-14, 9-9 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 4:05 pm CT, Saturday, March 3, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: MVC TV Network

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MVC Tournament 2012 Semifinals, Wichita State Vs. Illinois State: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The 2012 Missouri Valley Conference tournament has advanced to the semifinal round, and the No. 4 seed Illinois St. Redbirds face a difficult matchup against the top-seeded Wichita St. Shockers in the first matchup on Saturday afternoon. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the other semifinal matchup between the second-seeded Creighton Bluejays and the No. 3 seed Evansville Aces.

Illinois State still has a shot at the NCAA Tournament after a 54-42 victory over Northern Iowa Panthers in the quarterfinal round on Friday. Jackie Carmichael led the Redbirds with 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Shockers cruised to a 72-48 win over the Indiana St. Sycamores thanks to 14 points and four assists from Toure Murry and 14 points on 6-8 shooting and five assists from Joe Ragland.

Here is a look at the semifinal matchup:

#4 Illinois St. Redbirds (19-12, 9-9 MVC) vs. #1 Wichita St. Shockers (27-4, 16-2 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 1:35 pm CT, Saturday, March 3, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: MVC TV Network

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Missouri Valley Tournament 2012: Bracket, Schedule And More

The 2012 Missouri Valley Conference tournament has advanced to the semifinal round, and the the matchups feature the top four seeds from Arch Madness. The top-seeded Wichita State Shockers take on the No. 4 seed Illinois State Red Birds in the first matchup on Saturday afternoon. The day wraps up with an intriguing game between the second-seeded Creighton Bluejays and the No. 3 seed Evansville Aces.

Creighton knocked off the Drake Bulldogs thanks to 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and nine rebounds from Doug McDermott, while Evansville dispatched the Missouri State Bears 72-64. The winners of the two semifinal matchups will meet on Sunday afternoon in St. Louis for the final.

Here's a look an an updated bracket via MVC-Sports.com Arch Madness Tournament Central:

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Evansville Vs. Missouri State Final Score: Evansville Downs Bears

Three Evansville starters reached double-figures in scoring as the Aces defeated the Missouri State Bears 72-64 in the Missouri Valley Tournament late Friday night. The win pushes Evansville to 16-14 overall, while the Bears will end their season at 16-16. Evansville will now play Creighton, who defeated Drake earlier in the evening.

Kenneth Harris starred for the Aces. Harris went 6-of-11 from the field and 8-of-8 from the foul line to finish with 20 points and eight rebounds. Teammate Colt Ryan added 19 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Denver Holmes (11 points) and guard Troy Taylor (seven points, 13 rebounds) also played well in the win for Evansville.

Kyle Weems led Missouri State with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Caleb Patterson came off the bench to score 11 points. Anthony Downing added 10 points for the Bears.

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Drake Vs. Creighton Final Score: Bluejays Cruise To 68-61 Victory

The No. 25 Creighton Bluejays took care of business in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Friday, defeating the Drake Bulldogs 68-61 in the Scottrade Center. The win moves Creighton to 26-5 overall and 14-4 in the conference. Drake finishes the season 17-15, 9-9.

Doug McDermott scored 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Bluejays. Teammate Antoine Young was good too, scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and dishing out three assists. Gregory Echenique added 10 points for Creighton and Jahenns Manigat scored eight.

Four Drake players reached double-figures in scoring, led by Rayvonte Rice's 15 points and eight rebounds. Guard Kurt Alexander added 14 points in the loss.

Drake made just 1-of-15 three-pointers.

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Creighton Vs. Drake Halftime Score: Bluejays Lead 35-34

The Drake Bulldogs have shown plenty of fight against the Creighton Bluejays in Friday night's quarterfinal round of the 2012 MVC Tournament, and the Bluejays hold a slim 35-34 lead at the break.

Related: MVC Tournament 2012, Creighton Vs. Drake: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

Creighton shot 48.3% in the half, though the Bluejays were just 1-8 from beyond the arc. They hit 61.9% of their two-point attempts, which is something Drake's defense must shore up over the final 20 minutes. Antoine Young leads Creighton with 12 points, while star Doug McDermott has nine points on 3-7 shooting.

Ben Simons has nine for Drake, while Jeremy Jeffers and Jordan Clarke have eight apiece. The Bulldogs shot 46.7% in the first half.

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Illinois State Vs. Northern Iowa Final Score: Redbirds Win 54-42, Advance To Semifinals

In the second game of 2012 MVC tournament quarterfinal action on Friday, Illinois State advanced with a 54-42 win over Northern Iowa. The Redbirds move on to face top-seeded Wichita State on Saturday afternoon.

Related: Missouri Valley Tournament 2012: Bracket, Second Round Schedule And More

Both teams struggled to shoot the ball Friday afternoon, with Illinois State shooting 34.5% from the field and UNI hitting just 25.5% of its shots. The two teams combined for a 10-43 effort from beyond the arc.

One area that helped propel the Redbirds to victory was defensive rebounding -- UNI managed just six offensive boards for the entire game, which is to sat that the Panthers grabbed less than 14% of their own misses. The poor shooting and lack of second chance opportunities made for a really tough day at the offensive end.

Jackie Carmichael paced Illinois State with 16 points and 15 boards. Johnny Moran led Northern Iowa with 13 points.

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MVC Tournament 2012, Evansville Vs. Missouri State: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The final Friday game of 2012 Missouri Valley Conference tournament's second round features a matchup between the No. 3 seed Evansville Aces and the No. 6 seed Missouri State Bears. The two regular season MVC matchups have been spectacular overtime wins for Evansville, so the rematch in Arch Madness should be a good one. On Jan. 15, the Aces pulled out an 87-82 OT win over the Bears on the road, and in the last game of the conference regular season, they doubled down with a 75-70 OT victory at home behind 17 points from junior guard Ned Cox and 12 more from junior guard Troy Taylor.

SB Nation's Bill Connelly broke down the biggest storylines of the MVC tournament on Thursday, and Evansville earned his recognition as the dark horse to win the tournament:

Dark Horse

Evansville. After suffering a 24-point drubbing at Drake on Feb. 12, the Aces won three of four to end the regular season. They took out Northern Iowa at home on Feb. 15, and their only loss was by one point at Creighton. Defensively, Evansville is a bit of a disaster -- they force turnovers, but they allow open shots en masse -- but dark horses are never without flaws. The Aces have a solid offensive attack, led by high-volume scorer Colt Ryan (20.5 points per game); the 6-foot-5 junior is both strong from three-point range (43 percent) and proficient at getting to the line (6.8 free throw attempts per game).

The full tournament bracket can be found here, and below is the information on Friday's final game:

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 6

#3 Evansville Purple Aces (15-14, 9-9 MVC) vs. #6 Missouri State Bears (16-15, 9-9 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 8:35 pm CT, Friday, March 2, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: MVC TV Network

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MVC Tournament 2012, Creighton Vs. Drake: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The second round of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference tournament continues on Friday night with a matchup between the No. 2 seed Creighton Bluejays and No. 7 seed Drake Bulldogs. On Thursday, Drake knocked off the No. 10 seed Bradley Braves 65-49 behind a game-high 18 points on 7-13 shooting from sophomore guard Rayvonte Rice and 16 points from junior forward Ben Simons. Creighton had the night off, but sophomore sharpshooter Doug McDermott will be ready to go on Friday after playing poorly against Wichita State in the two regular season matchups -- he averaged just 12.5 points on 9-for-23 shooting in those games.

Creighton still won both conference head-to-heads against Drake in MVC play. On Jan. 3 they ran away with a 76-59 victory, but the Bulldogs kept things much closer in the Jan. 25 rematch, where the Bluejays escaped with a 77-69 win. The full tournament bracket can also be here, and below is the information on Friday's second round game:

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 5

#2 Creighton Bluejays (25-5, 14-4 MVC) vs. #7 Drake Bulldogs (17-14, 9-9 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 6:05 pm CT, Friday, March 2, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: MVC TV Network

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MVC Tournament 2012, Wichita State Vs. Indiana State: Shockers Ace Their First Test

The Wichita State Shockers entered the Missouri Valley Tournament at 26-4 and with a No. 15 national ranking. They are expected to roll in the conference tournament, and today earned their first victory by defeating Indiana State 72-48 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Three Shockers scorers reached double-figures, ed by guards Toure' Murry and Joe Ragland. Murry finished with 14 points and four assists on 6-of-13 shooting, while Ragland scored 14 and dished out five assists on 6-of-8 shooting. Fellow guard Demetric Williams added 10 points. Big man Garrett Stutz finished with six points and 12 rebounds.

Indiana State shot just 26 percent from the floor (14-of-52), which included 5-of-22 shooting from three-point range. Dwayne Lathan and R.J. Mahurin each scored nine points for the Sycamores in the loss.

Wichita State now plays the winner of Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa.

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MVC Tournament 2012, Wichita State Vs. Indiana State: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The second round of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference tournament begins early Friday afternoon with a matchup between the No. 1 seed Wichita State Shockers and the No. 8 seed Indiana State Sycamores. The Sycamores knocked off the No. 9 seed Southern Illinois Salukis 65-51 on Thursday night, thanks to 17 points and eight rebounds from sophomore guard Jake Odum, 15 points from Dwayne Lathan and 12 more from Myles Walker. Now the Shockers get their chance to reassert dominance in the MVC.

Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall recently won Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors for leading his team to a 26-4 record and No. 14 national ranking. Senior guard Joe Ragland and senior center Garrett Stutz were named to the All-Valley First Team as well, and have each helped lead the Shockers to the eight-best team field goal percentage in the nation (49.0%) and the 15th overall mark in points per game (78.3).

Wichita State won both regular season matchups against Indiana State this season, taking the Jan. 15 road contest by a score of 75-65 and then winning a close 71-66 game at home on Feb. 4.

The full tournament bracket can be found here, and below is the information on Friday game:

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 3

#1 Wichita St. Shockers (26-4, 16-2 MVC) vs. #8 Indiana St. Sycamores (18-13, 8-10 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 12:05 pm CT, Friday, March 2, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: MVC TV Network

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MVC Tournament 2012, Illinois State Vs. Northern Iowa: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

On Friday, the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament features a matchup between the No. 4 seed Illinois State Redbirds and the No. 5 seed Northern Iowa Panthers. The winner will take on whomever advances from the earlier game between the top-seeded Wichita State Shockers and Indiana State Sycamores. The Redbirds and Panthers split two regular season MVC matchups, with Illinois State winning 65-61 at home back on Dec. 29 and Northern Iowa returning the favor with a 78-63 win on Feb. 11.

SB Nation's Bill Connelly broke down the biggest storylines of the MVC tournament on Thursday, and Redbirds forward Jackie Carmichael and Panthers guard Anthony James both appeared on his "Players To Watch" list:

Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State. The 6-foot-9 junior from Manhattan, Kan. is a dominant force for the Redbirds' offense. His game is quite similar to that of Stutz above; he shoots 53 percent on two-pointers and ranks fourth in the country in defensive rebound rate. Accordingly, he almost averaged a double-double.

Anthony James, Northern Iowa. The six-foot junior dominates the UNI offense, for better or worse. He takes one-third of the shots when he is on the floor, and he was the only Panther to average double-digits. He makes 40 percent of his 3-pointers, and when he's on, UNI is very dangerous. Needless to say, he'll need to be on.

Here is a look at the updated bracket going into Friday's action:

Mvc_tournament_bracket_medium

The full tournament bracket can also be found here, and below is the information on Illinois State's Friday game:

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 4

#4 Illinois St. Redbirds (18-12, 9-9 MVC) vs. #5 Northern Iowa Panthers (19-12, 9-9 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 2:35 pm CT, Friday, March 2, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: MVC TV Network

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Missouri Valley Tournament 2012: Bracket, Second Round Schedule And More

The opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Thursday featured wins by each of the higher seeds, as the the No. 8 seed Indiana State Sycamores knocked off the No. 9 seed Southern Illinois Salukis 65-51 and the No. 7 seed Drake Bulldogs downed the No. 10 seed Bradley Braves by a 65-49 score. Arch Madness really heats up on Friday, as the top-seeded Wichita State Shockers and No. 2 seed Creighton Bluejays begin their journey to the championship game.

The Shockers are still the clear favorite to win the whole tournament, as pointed out by SB Nation's Bill Connelly in his MVC tournament preview, and it's at least partially because they rate so highly in multiple statistical categories:

Wichita State. The numbers love, love, the Shockers. Ken Pomeroy's ratings place them at eighth in the country ($), ahead of teams like Missouri (ninth) and Duke (14th). Gregg Marshall's squad ranks seventh in offensive efficiency (thanks to dead-eye shooting, from both the field and the free throw line) and 20th in defensive efficiency (powered by some of the best defensive rebounding in the country). Only one other team (No. 39 Creighton) ranks in Pomeroy's Top 40, and only two others (No. 80 Northern Iowa, No. 93 Missouri State) find a double-digit ranking.

Here is a look at the updated bracket going into Friday's action:Mvc_tournament_bracket_medium

The full tournament bracket can also be found here.

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Bradley Vs. Drake Final Score: Bulldogs Win 65-49, Advance To Quarterfinals

The Drake Bulldogs rode defense to a 65-49 victory over the Bradley Braves on Thursday night, pushing them into the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. They'll now be facing Creighton, one of the tournament's favorites as the No. 2 seed.

After taking a 35-25 lead into halftime, Drake used quality defense to prevent Bradley from ever getting too close. The Braves finished the game shooting just 17-of-50 (34 percent) from the field, and they were even worse from three-point range, making 4-of-20 long range shots. Drake also had a 34-28 advantage on the boards and forced Bradley into 13 turnovers.

Rayvonte Rice led Drake in scoring with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The Bulldogs also got 16 points from Ben Simons, but he was just 5-of-14 on field goals. Walt Lemon was Bradley's leading scorer with 16 points while Dyricus Simms-Edwards added 14 points.

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Bradley Vs. Drake Score Update: Bulldogs Lead 35-25 At Halftime

The Drake Bulldogs lead 35-25 going into halftime against the Bradley Braves on Thursday night. Drake (9-9 vs. MVC opponents) had a significantly more successful regular season than Bradley (2-16), so it's not surprising to see an early advantage. The winner will play Creighton, the tournament's No. 2 seed, in the next round.

The lead was quickly in place for Drake as it busted out to a 12-0 lead, quickly asserting itself. Bradley responded with five straight points to cut the lead to seven, but Drake eventually led by as many as 18 points in the first half. After taking a 33-15 lead late in the half, Bradley went on a 10-2 run to finish things off and keep the game relatively close.

Drake's Rayvonte Rice leads all scorers with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, the only player to hit double-digits in scoring. The Bulldogs also got six points from Jeremy Jeffers. Dyricus Simms-Edwards leads Bradley with seven points and two steals thus far.

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Southern Illinois Vs. Indiana State Final Score: Sycamores Win 66-51, Advance To Quarterfinals

The Indiana State Sycamores defeated the Southern Illinois Salukis on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. With a 66-51 victory in St. Louis, Indiana State now advances to face Wichita State, the No. 1 seed in the bracket.

Indiana State got up early and managed to hold onto the lead despite a few different runs by Southern Illinois. The Sycamores' lead was down to just five points with roughly four minutes remaining, but they finished the game on a 15-5 run to close things out. The shooting advantage was key, as Indiana State shot 50 percent from the field while Southern Illinois shot just 36 percent.

Jake Odum led Indiana State in scoring with 17 points in addition to grabbing eight rebounds and four steals. The Sycamores also got 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from Dwyane Lathan. Southern Illinois got a double-double from Mamadou Seck, who put up 14 points and 11 rebounds, but essentially the entire team struggled with shooting on the night.

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Indiana State Vs. Southern Illinois Halftime Score: Sycamores Lead 30-23

The 2012 Missouri Valley Conference tournament got underway on Thursday night with a matchup of the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds -- Indiana State and Southern Illinois, respectively. The Sycamores have had the upper hand so far, and they've taken a 30-23 lead into the break. The winner of this game gets to play top-seeded Wichita State on Friday .

Related: Missouri Valley Tournament 2012: Wichita State, Creighton Are Clear Favorites

The Salukis shot just 26% overall in the first half, and 14% from beyond the arc. Indiana State shot 44.8% overall and 50% from three.

In addition to the poor shooting, Southern Illinois is also -4 in the turnover department, but the Salukis hit 10-of-11 free throws to help keep themselves in the game.

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MVC Tournament 2012, Indiana State Vs. Southern Illinois: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The No. 8 seed Indiana State Sycamores face an early test against the No. 9 Southern Illinois Salukis in the first game of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday night in St. Louis. The Salukis and Sycamores split their season series in the MVC, with Southern Illinois taking the first matchup at home back on January 13, and in the end the state getting their revenge with a 78-68 win on February 11.

The Sycamore hit all 12 of their three point shots in their February win and set an record for the most accurate team shooting performance from beyond the arc with at least 10 attempts. Jordan Printy made six threes, while Carl Richard, Dwayne Lathan and Lucas Eitel each added two makes of their own in that contest.

The Salukis suffered through a difficult conference regular season, winning just five of their 18 games in the MVC, but the slate is wiped clean for the postseason tournament and Southern Illinois gets another shot to redeem themselves.

The road to the championship will not be an easy one, as even a win on Thursday night would put them up against the No. 1 overall seed Wichita State Shockers on Friday.Mamadou Seck leads the team in points (13.3 PPG), rebounds (7.8 RPG) and assists (2.6 APG) and received honorable mention for the All-Conferene team in the Missouri Valley Conference on Tuesday. Dantiel Daniels was named to the All-Freshman team as well.

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 1

#8 Indiana State Sycamores (17-13, 8-10 MVC) vs. #9 Southern Illinois Salukis (8-22, 5-13 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 6:05 pm CT, Thursday, March 1, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: -- MVC TV Network

Radio: Saluki Sports Network

The full tournament bracket can be found here.

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MVC Tournament 2012, Drake Vs. Bradley: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The first round of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball tournament and as with the matchup between the No. 10 seed Bradley Braves and the No. 7 seed Drake Bulldogs. Bradley suffered through a disastrous regular season in the conference, dropping 16 of 18 games and losing both matchups to Drake. The winner of Thursday's game will meet the No. 2 seed Creighton Bluejays in the second round on Friday.

The two regular-season head-to-heads were decided by less than 10 points in each case, so Thursday's game is expected to be fairly close. The Braves are led by Taylor Brown, Walt Lemon and Dyricus Simms-Edwards --who each boast double-digit scoring averages. Bradley holds some dubious marks in the national rankings however, coming in at 300th in points per game (61.5) and 313th overall in field goal percentage (40.2 percent).

As for the Bulldogs, they rank 192nd in points per game (67.2) and 131st in field goal percentage (44.4 percent). Rayvonte Rice and Ben Simons do most of the scoring. Rice holds a 16.6 points per game average on 42.7 percent shooting, while Simons adds 16.2 per contest on 47.5 percent accuracy.

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 2

#7 Drake Bulldogs (16-14, 9-9 MVC) vs. #10 Bradley Braves (7-24, 2-16 MVC)

Game Time, Date: 8:35 pm CT, Thursday, March 1, 2012

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: MVC TV Network

The full tournament bracket can be found here.

For more on NCAA Hoops, check out the SB Nation NCAA hub at sbnation.com/NCAA-Basketball.

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Missouri Valley Tournament 2012: Wichita State, Creighton Are Clear Favorites

The 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament begins on Thursday with first round action, the beginning of "Arch Madness" as it's known in the region

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