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Arch Madness gets underway in earnest Friday, with four quarterfinals games from the MVC Tournament, including favorites Creighton. All games are available on ESPN3.
1 p.m., No. 9 Drake (15-16, 7-11) vs. No. 1 Creighton (24-7, 13-5), ESPN3
A loss in the first round of the MVC Tournament could be the only thing that would keep Doug McDermott and the Bluejays out of the NCAA Tournament. It isn't highly likely -- Ken Pomeroy's numbers rank Creighton No. 22 and Drake No. 122 -- but the Bulldogs did take down then-ranked Creighton back in January. It wouldn't be wise to count on a repeat: McDermott had the flu in that game, and he only was able to register two points after a sick episode in the locker room at halftime. The other matchup between these two was a 30-point blowout in favor of Creighton.
3:30 p.m., No. 5 Indiana State (17-13, 9-9) vs. No. 4 Evansville (18-13, 10-8)
We just saw this matchup: Colt Ryan poured 31 points on the Sycamores in an 84-68 Evansville victory to close out the season, with the 6'5 gunner raising his season points-per-game to an even 20.0. Indiana State had won the first matchup over the Aces, but it didn't close the season well, losing five of six. The winner here is going to have to play the winner of the Drake-Creighton game -- as we said, probably Creighton -- and Indiana State is the more likely squad to pull that upset, having beaten Creighton by 19 earlier in the year.
7 p.m., No. 7 Missouri State (11-21, 7-11) vs. No. 2 Wichita State (24-7, 12-6)
Missouri State beat Southern Illinois Thursday for the right to appear in this quarterfinal game, but it doesn't look great for the Bears: the Shockers, led by a strong scoring, strong rebounding frontcourt of Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall, easily handled them twice in two regular season wins. Like Creighton, Wichita State is in the tourney with a solid performance in St. Louis, but a loss here could mess up its plans. Although in both cases, it is probably safe.
9:30 p.m., No. 6 Illinois State (17-14, 8-10) vs. No. 3 Northern Iowa (18-13, 11-7)
This will be a battle of pace: The Redbirds are the 21st fastest-paced team in the nation, with Jackie Carmichael nearly averaging a double-double of 17.4 points and 9.4 boards, and still finishing second on the team in scoring behind Tyler Brown, who averages 18.1 points. Meanwhile, Northern Iowa is the 305th fastest-paced team in the nation, preferring to slow things down and live on the offensive boards, grabbing 26.5 percent of its misses thanks to inside players Seth Tuttle and Jake Koch.
An updated bracket can be found here.
Quarterfinals - Friday, March 8
No. 2 Wichita St. Shockers vs. Missouri State Bears- 7 p.m., MVC TV
Semifinals - Saturday, March 9
Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner - 2:30 p.m., MVC TV
Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner - 5 p.m., MVC TV
Championship - Sunday, March 10
Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner - 2 p.m., CBS
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