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:
The full tournament bracket can also be found here.