By Shawn Siegel
From The Missouri Valley Conference Championship
If you can't understand
the excitement building around this year's MVC Tournament in Saint
Louis, then you're probably not a college basketball fan.
We're talking about six teams with a shot at making the NCAA
Tournament, and a possibility for as many as four at-large bids.
We're talking about #'s 20, 25, 31, 32, 42, and 43 in the RPI.
Those are ACC & Big East numbers. In fact, we're talking a
conference that will (and I mean will and not just should) get
more bids than the Pac-10 and the SEC. We're talking about a
Sunday afternoon final on CBS, network television, home of the big
boys. Most importantly, we're talking about fun. Lots of
Saturday, March 4th -
3:53 PM - SIU Is the MVC Champion
The predictions started
within minutes after Southern Illinois pulled away with a 59-46
victory over Bradley in the 2006 MVC Championship. Writers,
cameramen, and even the ushers got into the act. Just who
will represent the MVC in this year's NCAA Tournament?
If you think you know, you're just kidding yourself.
What we do know is that
SIU proved too much to handle and will be in the Dance for the 5th
year in a row. Yes, Randal Falker came up huge in the 2nd
half, and Matt Shaw stepped up as well, but as much credit, if not
more has to go to SIU head coach Chris Lowery. The first
major adjustment came about 10-12 minutes into the game when the
Salukis decided that their entire focus would be stopping O'Bryant
from scoring. The 2nd adjustment came at half-time, when Lowery
decided that the best way to beat Bradley was to beat them at
their own game, feeding it down low to Randall Falker and letting
him attack O'Bryant in the post.
Falker came through with
a monster 17 point, 16 rebound effort, cleary earning himself man
of the match honors. His frontcourt teammate Shaw also added
14 (12 in the 2nd half) and 8 boards.
This focus on stopping
the big men on one end and attacking the big men on the other led
to a huge 20-2 run in flanking half-time, in which the Braves went
scoreless for about 9:30. College basketball games are only
40 minutes and if you can't score for 10 of that, you're not doing
backcourt certainly wasn't doing something right. The
starting duo of Daniel Ruffin and JJ Tauai combined to play 40
minutes, score 2 points, and hand out 1 lone assist.
The Braves most hopeful
moment in the 2nd half came on a pair of back to back threes from
senior Tony Bennett. These threes came right after the 3:25
mark when the game was halted to a potentially serious injury to
an SIU cheerleader. Kristi Yamaoka, the young woman who was
injured, hit the floor with a huge thud when no one caught her
flying out of the air. The Arena was silent for a good three
minutes as she was wheeled off. The crowds worst fears were
lightened as she cheered her away off the floor in the gurney.
Bennett's threes cut
SIU's lead in half, from 44-32 to 44-38. However, on the
ensuing two possessions, both Sommerville and Bennett heaved up
ill-advised threes basically ending the Braves chances.
The ill-advised threes were more the story of the game than
Bennett's makes. Ruffin, the sophomore point guard, was
clearly ruffled at times, and was pulled from the game early in
the 2nd half with his head held low. The Braves just did not
have the soothing controlling guard play that they desperately
needed with SIU's focus so heavily on O'Bryant.
While it will be hard
for Bradley to repeat this year's success losing Sommerville,
Bennett, and scoring wing-forward Lawrence Wright to injury, SIU
will only be better. Barring some kind of major injury, you
can almost jot down SIU into next year's field of 65.
Today's starting lineup featured a pair of juniors, a pair of
sophomores, and a freshman point guard.
Saturday, March 4th -
Even the best
defensive team needs at least one kid who can score.
Luckily the Salukis have Jamaal Tatum. When the Salukis
offense hit its low point, down 11-4 with back to back
air balls in the closing seconds of the shot clock,
Tatum ran off a quick 8 points to bring them back to
13-12. The Braves again appeared to be pulling away due
to the inside dominance of Patrick O’Bryant, but the
Braves offense stalled after getting up 22-16 at the
5:21 mark. The Salukis slowly worked their way back to
within one, 24-23, thanks in large part to Tatum’s 10
impressed the CBS announcing crew with a variety of
dunks and put backs, going 6 of 7 for 13 points. Even
the mostly (2/3rds) pro SIU crowd couldn’t help but ooh
and ahh at a monster put back dunk. (Monster for
O’Bryant is jumping 3 inches off the ground..) Outside
of O’Bryant and Sommerville (7 pts), the Braves got
little help on offense. Senior Tony Bennett has been
spending most of his energy chasing around the dangerous
Early on, it
looked like the loss of injured point guard Bryan
Mullins would devastate the Salukis offense. Mullins,
who hurt his angle last night, started, but was forced
to sit after a few hobbled minutes early on. This
forced little-used 5th senior guard Austin
Brooks to get rare extended minutes.
had any success shooting the ball, and the Salukis were
able to stay in the game once they did a better job
doubling O’Bryant in the post. Outside of his 6 for 7,
the rest of the team was 3 of 14 (21%). With so much
defensive pressure being put on O’Bryant, there’s bound
to be someone open for Bradley and its just a matter of
someone (maybe Sommerville) stepping up and hitting some
Saturday, March 4th -
11:12 PM - Championship Preview
League execs were very
happy that SIU won yesterday, ensuring another great crowd for
tomorrow's MVC Championship game. Today's semifinal session
drew an extremely impressive 17,772 fans, the largest ever session
in MVC Tournament history. With both teams' fans needing
only to travel across the Mississippi tomorrow from Illinois, the
Savvis Center will hopefully be rocking for the CBS cameras.
The national audience
will get a chance to look at two extremely hungry teams.
Bradley is looking to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance in
10 years, while SIU has been a Tourney stalwart for the past 4
years. Despite these two teams polar success in recent
years, it is SIU who probably has more on the line in this one.
The Braves come in having won 11 of 13, and are certainly
deserving of an at-large bid. SIU on the other hand lost 5
of 8 heading into Saint Louis, and may very well need a win to
offset a pair of bad early season losses to Monmouth and
The biggest difference
for the Salukis since those early losses was that freshman point
guard Bryan Mullins really took control of the team after the
Alaska trip. Mullins hurt his ankle late in yesterday's
overtime win, and this could play a major role in tomorrow's game.
UNI head coach Greg McDermott succinctly praised the play of
Mullins, "He's got moxie, he runs the game, he defends."
Even if Mullins is 100%,
the Salukis will struggle to score as usual. Going against
the big inside pair of O'Bryant and Sommerville, it will be on the
hands of Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young to step up their games.
Tatum is SIU's leading scorer, but just hasn't found his shooting
touch yet. All I kept thinking as SIU has struggled to score
is how nice it would be if they still had Darren Brooks around.
Bradley will look to
pound it down low to the O'Bryant/Sommerville combo that combined
for 34 points and 24 rebounds today. O'Bryant managed his
huge game going against MVC Player of the Year Paul Miller, and
SIU doesn't have anyone half as good, or big, as Miller. SIU
center Randall Falker is only 6-7 to O'Bryant's 7-1, and the
better fit may be 6-10 Jamaal Foster, except Foster weighs as much
as some teams point guards. Sommerville will have a tougher
match up against Matt Shaw, who today spent most of the game
chasing around UNI's Erick Crawford. Shaw "wore Crawford out
physically" according to Coach Lowery, but the bigger and stronger
Sommerville poses more of a problem.
The way Bradley is
playing right now, I'd be shocked if they lost. The Braves
are playing with a confidence and joy that the program hasn't seen
in quite some time. SIU is already more physically tired,
and doesn't half the beef nor the fire power to get it done.
They'll most likely be sitting on their couches next weekend
sweating out Selection Sunday.
#5 Bradley 60 - #2
Southern Illinois 55
Saturday, March 4th - 9:42 PM - UNI/SIU Recap
"We were just tougher,"
was Chris Lowery's rationale for why his team upended Northern
Iowa 55-46 in overtime to advance to the MVC title game.
After watching these two teams scrap out it out down to the wire
for the third time this season, his statement is completely
unfounded. Both of these teams played their hearts, and
either team easily could have one.
The hero, at least in
overtime for SIU, was sophomore Matt Shaw. Once a heralded
prospect, and now just a solidly built but unspectacular forward,
Shaw's overtime was a personal highlight reel. He hit a huge
jumper coming off a curl, had a big offensive board, hit a pair of
clutch free throws (after missing a big one in regulation),
and even added a block in one of UNI's final possessions.
Offensively, UNI just
never got anything going and couldn't mustered only 2 meaningful
points in overtime (they had 4 others on uncontested shots in the
closing seconds). They spent the first half pounding the
ball down low to Grant Stout and Eric Coleman, but spent the
latter part of the game missing jumpers. The change in
philosophy was odd because Coleman particularly was having a lot
of success early on getting to the rim and drawing fouls.
Coleman though was relegated to the bench in the game's closing
minutes and overtime because, according to Coach McDermott, "we
just went with a lineup we thought would be best defensively."
I can't say this makes
much sense when your team shoots 35% for the game, and only hits a
weak 42% of its field goals on the season. But this simply
highlights the defensive nature of all these games. Though the
coaches would have us believe the defense is great, which it may
be, the games simply lack any juice because of the poor offense.
Obviously the teams just want to win, but from the average fans
perspective, I don't think the league is doing much for its public
image right now.
The Salukis now hope to
lock things up against Bradley tomorrow afternoon, while UNI
awaits the Tournament Committee's decision. Ben Jacobson,
who missed a relatively open look to win it for UNI in regulation,
said, "as far we're concerned, we're a 100% lock to be in," but he
added, "unfortunately we don't have anyone on the committee."
You have to figure with UNI's impressive early season
non-conference success, that they are a lock.
Saturday, March 4th - 4:05 PM - Dribble Thoughts
It's always interesting
to hear the posturing coaches on the bubble do after big wins or
big losses.. If you listened to most coaches, you'd think they
have no clue what televisions, ESPN, or the internet even is.. I
obviously haven't gotten a chance to watch any other games today,
but it looks like Charlotte lost a golden chance to get a golden
ticket in the Tournament.. Yes, the A10 is down and all, but you
have to be impressed with GW's 16-0 conference record.. Congrats
to Winthrop for winning the Big South.. The Eagles were the
favorites from the beginning of the season, and this was one of
those rare occasions where everything just went as planned.. I'm
writing this while listening to WSU coach Mark Turgeon talk about
his team' loss this afternoon.. He couldn't be any more humble in
defeat, nor he could he seem happier with his team's effort
today.. I can't tell if his endless complimenting of his teams
effort is his way of not wanting to get his team down leading up
to the Tournament, or if he just genuinely thought his team played
that well.. I discussed UNI/SIU a little below, but here's my
final score prediction.. So far I keep expecting that the teams
here will figure out how to get the ball in the basket, so I'm
making a point of picking a final low score in this one..
#6 UNI 61 - #2 Southern
Saturday, March 4th - 3:50 PM - Bradley/WSU Recap
That’s all Marcellus Sommerville kept yelling after the
Braves knocked off #1 seed Wichita State by the final
score of 60-52 . While Bradley does need one more to
win the conference championship, this 20th
win should be enough regardless of what happens tomorrow
to make the NCAA Tournament. This was first time the
Braves have won 20 games in 10 years, which was
fittingly also the last time the Braves made the dance.
State, it simply was a case of not getting the job done
inside. Paul Miller was just 6 of 16 from the floor,
most of the misses coming down low due to the presence
of Patrick O’Bryant. Miller was surpassed in inadequacy
by fellow big man Kyle Wilson who finished scoreless on
0 for 9 shooting. Unlike yesterday’s win for Bradley
where the guards did the brunt of the work, this win was
on the shoulders of Sommerville (17 and 14 boards) and
O’Bryant (17 and 10 with 5 blocks). These numbers look
nothing but good in the eyes of the NBA scouts in
attendance. The NBA likes big men who can run, dunk,
and block shots and O’Bryant can do all three.
shot of the game though was by Bradley’s senior shooting
guard Tony Bennett, who hit a huge three that put the
Braves up six with exactly a minute left on the clock.
three and the presence of Sommerville and O’Bryant
offset another impressive performance from the Shockers
Sean Ogirri. Ogirri seems to be the only guy in town
who can hit outside shots and had 19 points on 6-9 of
shooting (5-6 from three.) Outside of Ogirri however,
WSU’s other plays shot 0-10 from three and as a team
shot 32% from the floor.
Saturday, March 4th - 2:32 PM
Heemskerk. You’ve probably never heard of him. I
certainly hadn’t. But the bench warming 7-1 senior, who
had played only 60 minutes all season, was the spark
that got Bradley out of early-game doldrums. Coming in
for a tired Patrick O’Bryant, Heemskerk made a nice
assist to Marcellus Sommerville and hit a pair of free
throws (his 3rd and 4th makes of
the season) to put Bradley within two at 17-15.
State’s strategy has definitely been to pound the ball
down low to Paul Miller and Kyle Wilson, but it is only
working with limited success. O’Bryant, Bradley’s
heralded sophomore big man, has managed to stay out foul
trouble and will no doubt get major minutes in the
second half. With 1:30 to go in the half, Jim Les took
O’Bryant out to ensure he only had a foul going into the
half, giving my new hero Heemskerk a chance to see more
In yet another
pathetically low-scoring Arch Madness game, the lone
offensive bright spot is the Shockers’ Sean Ogirri who
finished the half with 11 points, including three
long-range bombs. The sophomore shooting guard has a
sweet soft touch on his jumper, even his misses come off
the rim extremely softly.
forward to the upcoming SIU/UNI semifinal, you have to
figure the Panthers will come away with the win. The
Salukis as usual will give a solid defensive effort, but
UNI simply has the more talented players.
talent, I don’t know much about cheerleading, but I
imagine Wichita State must be one of those teams that
competes on those ESPN competitions. Their performance
got perhaps the biggest cheer of the week from the
impressively filled Savvis Center. I haven’t heard the
attendance totals from today’s semifinals session, but I
imagine it will be the biggest, or at least close to the
biggest in MVC Championship history.
Louisville is tied at 50 with UCONN. If the
Cardinals win, will we have to deal with the absurd
proposition that Louisville will now deserve to make the
Saturday, March 4th - 11:45 AM - Daily Dribble Thoughts
I often harp on games
with a lack of offense, but I had no expectation of sitting
through so many at the MVC Tournament.. It seems like all
the coaches have conspired to play zone, and then counter the zone
by simply swinging the ball around for 30 seconds and then getting
off poor shots.. Congrats to Penn for being the first team to make
the NCAA Tournament. They clinched the Ivy Championship with
a win at Yale yesterday.. Yale is probably the only Ivy team with
a chance of getting an invite to the NIT.. Congrats to #8 seeded
Appalachian State for knocking off heavily favored #1 seed Georgia
Southern in the SoCon tournament. Eagles fans (that would be
Southern fans) hounded me a few times for favoring Davidson
throughout the season in the SoCon, but I guess it wasn't such a
bad choice.. Outside of that, things mostly went as planned in
Friday's conference tournament action.. If you haven't heard, Duke
faces UNC tonight.. It doesn't really matter that much, outside of
pride, who wins this game, but it does matter a lot to see if JJ's
slump continues.. 2nd place A10 squad Charlotte hasn't done much
to distinguish themselves this season, but a win over #6 GW today
would be huge.. CBS thought they had a dandy on their hands with
Louisville at UCONN this afternoon.. Unfortunately the Cardinals
didn't hold up their share of the deal, but this is still a
potentially dangerous team in the NIT, if they accept an
invitation.. The Atlantic Sun champ will be 1st round NCAA fodder,
but it's still fun to watch teams win their conference
championship.. Belmont was CHN's preseason favorite, so we'll
stick with thim against Lipscomb in today's final.. Check out
Murray State in today's OVC final against Samford.. The Racers are
one of the only teams in the country not to have 6 guys averaging
8 ppg, because they consistently go 9 or 10 deep and spread the
shots around.. This seems like their year, though surprising
Samford did split against Murray in the regular season..
Saturday, March 4th - 11:11 AM - Missouri St/UNI Recap
Despite hopes of a more explosive
game, neither team shot over 40% in the first half as
UNI led 23 to 21. Ahearn, Missouri State’s leading
scorer at 17 ppg was held scoreless on just 0 of 2
shooting. Jacobson, UNI’s leader at 14 ppg, managed 5
points on just 1 of 6 shooting. It is amazing to see
Jacobson struggle again like he has all year, he simply
just doesn’t hit the same open shots that he once used
Both teams did
have occasional success playing inside-outside and
knocking down some threes. Tyler Chaney was
particularly hot for Missouri State, scoring 10 points
on a perfect 4 of 4 shooting.
In the always
important battle of spirit squads, Missouri State no
doubt has the best (at least, best looking) cheerleader
and dance teams in the tournament. Northern Iowa is
right there in the 2nd tier along with SIU
While MSU trumps
UNI in pep, neither team would seem to have a big
advantage against potential semifinal foe SIU tomorrow.
Both teams split against SIU, though the Bears final
scores were more impressive.
In the 2nd
half, Northern Iowa made a concerted effort to pound the
ball inside early. Eric Coleman got the ball in post in
each of their first possessions and this set the tone of
things to come. After a full five minutes of play,
Missouri State went scoreless allowing the Panthers to
jump out to a 29-23 lead.
things only went downhill from their for the Bears, who
fizzled out in a 57-42 loss. I could bore you with
more details of the Bears weak second half effort, but
I'll spare you. The game was basically a dud.
Friday, March 3rd - 8:30 PM - Missouri St/UNI Preview
features 3rd seeded Missouri State and 6th
seeded Northern Iowa. Without a doubt, the Panthers,
who reached the Top 25 earlier in the season, are the
best #6 seed in the history of the MVC Tournament.
Ben Jacobson was simply underwhelming all season, and it
will be interesting to see whether he can rekindle his
magic in the conference tournament.
the higher seeded team, the Bears of MSU are definitely
the less known team nationally. Shooting guard Blake
Ahearn has emerged in his junior season as a bona fide
star after previously being the Bears sixth man. While
UNI’s biggest question mark is the shooting of Jacobson,
the Bears’ success could depend on the play of their big
men. Sophomore Drew Richards will get the start at
center for MSU along with Nathan Bilyeu at the PF, but
those two will struggle to defend the bigger and tougher
pair of Grant Stout and Eric Coleman.
years, Missouri State has probably overachieved in the
MVC tournament, but its hard to say how they’ll fare
coming in as the favorite. Needless to say, Coach
Hinson will be stomping away on the sideline getting his
team pumped up. Coach McDermott on the other hand, win
or lose, can at least go to sleep tonight knowing that
he recently got a nice juicy raise.
After a long
day down at the Savvis, the action should peak in this
game. I don’t expect the sluggish start nor the
continued struggle to get the ball in the basket. With
bombers like Ahearn Jacobson, these teams will probably
hit some jumpers.
Iowa 72 - #3 Missouri State 69
Friday, March 3rd - 8:15 PM- SIU/Evansville Recap
hot hand of Bradley Strickland like in UE’s 64-59
victory over SIU last week, the Aces just didn’t have
enough fire-power. For a long stretch of the 2nd
half, Evansville’s only offense was giving it to Webster
hoping he got fouled. A long-range pull-up three by
solid freshman point guard Brad Holsinger gave
Evansville hope down 62-49 with three minutes to go.
were able to bank on junior shooting guard Jamaal Tatum,
who finished with 25 points (8 of 16 shooting), and
consistently was able to penetrate into the lane. MVC
Newcomer of the Year Bryan Mullins was his usual
rock-solid self. Don’t be deceived into thinking that
Mullins’ 6 ppg and 3 apg are unimpressive, this kid is
able to control the game and makes smart decisions.
Salukis continue their quest for another NCAA Tournament
bid, Evansville finishes with 10 wins and looks towards
the future. The Aces don’t have a senior of note on
their roster, and have a good future with freshmen like
Holsinger, and swing man Shy Ely.
exciting part of this game was probably when it ended so
that my ears were given a rest by the shrill piercing
yells of the Saluki fans sitting besides me. Teams like
Creighton and Wichita State definitely bring an
impressive amount of loud fans, but the Saluki fans are
particularly boisterous. Boisterous is a kind word, as
their fans were mostly bitter and angry with the foul
situation in this game.
Friday, March 3rd - 7:00 PM
The first half
was sluggish as expected as Southern Illinois leads just
25 to 16. The shooting, as expected, has been
horrendous. The teams shot 31% and 30% respectively,
and hit a combined 1 of 15 threes. Evansville’s only
chance is if they continue to pound the ball down low to
Matt Webster (6-7, JR) or Bradley Strickland (6-9, SO)
finds his recent magic. Webster is a load to handle
down while Strickland is coming off a monster week in
which he was MVC Co-Player of the Week.
school’s dance teams perform, the difference between
these two programs comes clearly into perspective.
Everything about SIU, their team, fan-base, band,
cheerleaders, dance team, everything is simply bigger,
better, and more expensive than Evansville’s. When
people wonder what it is that separates the power
conferences from the mid-majors, you need to simply look
at the Purple Aces.
listening to Chris Lowery coach, it’s easy to look his
straight-forward manner. It’s also good to see his
mentor of sorts (or was it really Bruce Weber), Matt
Painter, in attendance across the court.
Friday, March 3rd - 5:21 PM - SIU/Evansville Preview
Perhaps no team has more on the line
in this tournament than Southern Illinois. The Salukis
have made for straight NCAA Tournaments, but are firmly
on the bubble. By grabbing the #2 seed, the Salukis get
to face the relatively easy opponent in #7 Evansville
(at least compared to #6 Northern Iowa.) The Aces
dispatched Drake last night, and have won three
straight. One of those wins was a nice 5 point home win
over SIU. However, a neutral court is another story,
and you’d have to be shocked if Coach Lowery’s team
didn’t walk away with the win.
After watching everybody struggle to
hit shots so far, I'm not expecting much offense in this
game. SIU's broke 70 points just twice all season,
only once in this calendar year, and the odds are
neither team will break 60.
#2 Southern Illinois 57 – #7
Friday, March 3rd - 5:01 PM - Creighton/Bradley Recap
Make it 10 of
12 for Bradley who comes away with a huge 54-47 win over
Creighton. For the Blue Jays, they were ultimately
bitten by extremely poor outside shooting, 2 of 20 from
three, particularly Johnny Mathies uncharacteristically
bad 2 for 13 performance. In fact the rim just at the
Savvis must be particularly tight, because the teams
combined for an atrocious 6 of 41 (14%) from three.
Braves, the win was particularly impressive due to the
fact it wasn’t their big frontcourt of Sommerville and
O’Bryant who dominated, but it was their backcourt.
Senior’s Lawrence Wright (18 points) and Tony Bennett
(16 points) did the bulk of the scoring for Bradley,
combining for 12 of the team’s 19 made field goals.
O’Bryant, saddled with fouls most of the game was a
relative non-factor, though he still impressed with his
ability to run the floor for such a large (7-0), young
(sophomore) kid. Sommerville did do a good job when
O’Bryant was on the bench and hit perhaps the game’s
biggest shot, a three-pointer to Bradley up 6, 50-44,
with just a minute to go.
figures that Creighton is a lock for the NCAA
Tournament, but the question is whether Bradley needs to
win the MVC Championship, or at least another game, to
make the Big Dance. This was Bradley’s 19th
win, and its hard to argue that they’re not playing as
well as, or as deserving, as any of the other teams in
the conference. Coach Jim Les said when he recruited
the current crop of seniors, including Bennett, Wright,
and Sommerville, he asked them to “put Bradley
basketball on the map.” Whether they are actually on
the map at this point is still up for grabs, but as PTI
just flashed on the TV down in the media room and they
were debating whether the MVC deserves 6 bids, no doubt
this conference is firmly on the map.
Friday, March 3rd - 4:12 PM
that earlier this morning I wrote that Bradley’s biggest
non-conference win was at home against Western Kentucky.
I forgot however, that the Braves opened the season with
a big 75-60 win at DePaul back on November 19th.
Eleven days later Creighton also made the trip to
Chicago to face the Demons but lost by 15 points.
Friday, March 3rd - 3:30 PM
surprisingly, the first half ended with a low score of
23 to 19. The offensive star (if there can be in a
23-19 game) so far has been Creighton’s Anthony
Tolliver, who has 10 points and even hit a big three.
The 6-9 big man actually shoots 42% from long range on
no one particularly stood out. O’Bryant had moments,
but spent a lot of time on the bench with 2 fouls.
Sommerville also picked up a pair, but at this point in
his career, he’s just a glorified jump shooter.
Sophomore point guard Daniel Ruffin was perhaps most
impressive. Not that he played that great, but I’d
never seen him before and I was very impressed with his
Friday, March 3rd - 2:44 PM
Like all the
other games so far, both Creighton and Bradley have come
out flat, as both teams have combined for 3 points in
the first 3+ minutes. This has been the theme in all
MVC games so far. Dana Altman wasted no time making
early subs, setting the tone for what should be the Jays
Friday, March 3rd - 2:32 PM - Wichita St/Indiana St Recap
I arrived to
Savvis Center in time to catch the end of Wichita
State’s 81-63 victory over Indiana State. The sycamores
were close for a good two-thirds of the game before a
pair of Kyle Wilson threes broke open what was a 57-51
game. It definitely didn’t help that the Sycamores
tired as the game went on following last night’s
victory. Sean Ogirri, who came through with an
impressive 5 threes provided a lot of defensive pressure
along with PJ Couisnard. “We were just wearing out
their guards,” noted Ogirri.
State, this game marked the end of David Moss’ fine
career. Unfortunately, he had to end on a somewhat sour
note in the loss, shooting only 7 for 21 (thanks in part
to Couisnard’s defense), but this in no way diminishes
what was an awesome career for the star guard. WSU
coach Mark Turgeon was unabashed in his respect for
Moss’ career, praising how he was, “always jumping up
and down, happy, and excited.” Hopefully, as Turgeon
noted, Moss’ hand is healed from an in-season injury so
he can go on to play pro ball.
were supported by an awesome crowd, who will stick
around for tomorrow afternoon’s match up with either
Creighton or Bradley. Wilson was thankful for the great
support, “It’s awesome.. all the people who drove or
flew down from Wichita.” No teams have better fan
support than WSU and Creighton, and a battle between
those two will have the Savvis Center rocking.
Friday, March 3rd - 11:58 AM
I'm about to head down
to the Arena to catch the end of WSU vs Indiana St and the rest of
the day's games. The Sycamores got into today's action by
coming back from an amazingly low 19-10 deficit to upset
(theoretically) the #8 seed Drake.
For all intents and
purposes this tournament really starts at 2:30 when Creighton
faces Bradley in a game that has huge NCAA consequences. The
Braves have been smoking as of late, winning 9 of 11 games to move
into serious tournament contention. The problem though is
that though they have a gaudy RPI, the fact is their best
non-conference win (and only one of any note) is a home win over
Western Kentucky. This will not cut it for the committee.
A win over Creighton is a must for Bradley.
The problem is that
Creighton is always rock-solid, doesn't matter the venue, the
date, or whose on their roster. Dana Altman is the class of
this league, and he manages to bring out the best in his players.
The Jays dealt with sharp blow of losing Nate Funk early on and
managed to put together a 19 win season. Unlike Bradley,
Creighton can point to nice non-conference victories vs Dayton,
Nebraska, Xavier, and a nice RPI-boosting road win at CAA leading
#1 Wichita St 69 - #9
Indiana St 55
#4 Creighton 74 - #5
Friday, March 3rd - 11:44 AM
If you're hungry for
more MVC info, check out Jeff Borzello's
MVC Tournament preview.
Farm MVC Tournament Schedule & Results
Game 1 -- #9
Indiana State 72, #8 Drake 63
Game Recap |
Game 2 -- #7
Evansville 52, #10 Illinois State 45
Game Recap |
Game 3 -- #1
Wichita State vs. #9 Indiana St., noon
Game 4 -- #4 Creighton vs. #5 Bradley, 2:30 p.m.
Game 5 -- #2
Southern Illinois vs. No. 7 Evansville, 6 p.m.
Game 6 -- #3 Missouri State vs. #6 UNI, 8:30 p.m.
Game 7 --
Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1:30 p.m.
Game 8 -- Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 4 p.m.
Game 9 --
Championship Game, 1:05 p.m., Live on CBS Sports