SOUTHERN ILLINOIS IS TOP SEED FOR 2007 STATE FARM MVC TOURNAMENT
ST. LOUIS -- Southern Illinois finds itself in a familiar spot as the Salukis have earned the top seed for the State Farm MVC Tournament for the fifth time in the past six years. The Salukis have earned an outright regular-season title and a No. 1 seed for this year’s tournament, which begins on Thursday, March 1, at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Wichita State was the top seed last year, while SIU won regular-season crowns and the top seed for four-straight years from 2002-05. Notably, the top seed of the league men’s basketball championship has not won the title since Illinois State swept regular-season and tourney titles in 1998.
The tournament, which features nine games in four days, culminates on Sunday, March 4, with a nationally televised championship game on CBS Sports at 1 p.m. CST. Six games (the four quarterfinals and two semifinals) will air on FSN Midwest and Comcast SportsNet. All nine games of the tournament will be available on Sirius Satellite Radio.
The Salukis achieved their highest national ranking in last week’s Associated Press poll - No. 13 - and were picked second in the league’s pre-season poll (behind second-seeded Creighton). The Salukis are the defending tournament champions, beating Bradley last year. This year, SIU is hoping to match a league-record for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances as the Salukis are aiming for six in a row (Cincinnati, as a Valley member, went to six-straight NCAA tourneys from 1958-63).
Including last year, Southern Illinois has earned five MVC Tournament titles. SIU is the only league school to win three-straight titles - doing so from 1993-95 in St. Louis. SIU’s other title came in the first year of the tournament, 1977. The last time a Valley school defended its tournament title was in 2003 when Creighton won after also winning in 2002.
The Salukis, under the direction of third-year coach Chris Lowery, will begin tournament action on Friday, March 2, when they play the winner of a first-round game between No. 8 Evansville (14-16, 6-12) and No. 9 Drake (16-14, 6-12).
The lone tie in the final standings involved a three-way tie for seventh place between Drake, Evansville, and Illinois State. The teams split their games against each other, and ISU earned the No. 7 seed by earning 49 total points in the league’s power-rating system (page 129 in the MVC guide and on the league web site), while Evansville had 47 points, and Drake 43.
2007 State Farm Insurance Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Thursday, March 1 -- Session I
Game 1 -- #8 Evansville (14-16, 6-12) vs. #9 Drake (16-14, 6-12), 6 p.m.
Game 2 -- #7 Illinois State (15-15, 6-12) vs. #10 Indiana State (12-17, 5-13), 8:30 p.m.
Friday, March 2 -- Session II -- FSN Midwest
Game 3 -- #1 Southern Illinois (25-5, 15-3) vs. Winner Game 1, noon
Game 4 -- #4 Bradley (20-11, 10-8) vs. #5 UNI (18-12, 9-9), 2:30 p.m.
Friday, March 2 -- Session III -- FSN Midwest
Game 5 -- #2 Creighton (19-10, 13-5) vs. Winner of Game 2, 6 p.m.
Game 6 -- #3 Missouri St. (21-9, 12-6) vs. #6 Wichita St. (17-13, 8-10), 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 3 -- Session IV -- FSN Midwest
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.
Sunday, March 4 -- Session V -- CBS Sports
Championship -- Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 1 p.m.