It’s that time of the year again! Arch Madness, the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. It’s sure to be a fun time as always. But will it live up to last year’s excitement? Last year, fourth seed, the Northern Iowa Panthers, took down the one seeded Wichita State Shockers in the semifinals of the tournament and proceeded to beat the two seed Evansville Purple Aces on a buzzer beater in the tournament championship to clinch a bid in the NCAA Tournament! The fun starts tomorrow and below, you will find everything you need to know about the tournament.
Thursday’s Play-In Games
Play-In Game #1
The action opens tomorrow, when the 8th seed Evansville Purple Aces (15-16, 6-12) take on the 9th seed Indiana State Sycamores (11-19, 5-13) at 6:00pm CT. The game can be watched on MVC TV, ESPN3 (subject to blackout), or on the FOX Sports Go app. The winner advances to play the 1st seed Illinois State Redbirds at noon on Friday in the quarterfinals.
Evansville/Indiana State Comparison
First Meeting: The Sycamores took down the Purple Aces 85-84 (OT) at home in a thriller.
Second Meeting: In another nail biter, the Purple Aces took down the Sycamores 65-63 in Evansville.
What To Expect: As you can see by the scores of the two regular season matchups, this one can go either way.
What’s Next: The winner of this game advances to play 1st seed Illinois State at noon CT on Friday. Evansville and Indiana State went a combined 0-4 against the Redbirds. Evansville lost 62-50 and 69-59 in their two games against the Birds. Indiana State lost 77-58 and 71-66 respectively to Illinois State. Whoever wins this 8/9 matchup will have a tough road ahead when they go up against the MVC regular season co-champions.
Play-In Game #2
After the first Thursday game, comes the 7/10 matchup. The 7th seeded Bradley Braves (12-19, 7-11) take on the 10th seeded Drake Bulldogs (7-23, 5-13). Tip-off is scheduled for 8:35pm CT and can be viewed on MVC TV, ESPN3 (subject to blackout), or on the FOX Sports Go app. The winner of this game advances to play against 2nd seed Wichita State.
First Meeting: Bradley took down Drake 79-72 at home in a close one.
Second Meeting: Bradley once again took down Drake, this time on the road, 82-74.
What To Expect: With Bradley winning both regular season matchups, one could expect them to take this game as well. It’s possible but if Drake can get a big performance out of guard Reed Timmer, don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs pull off the upset.
What’s Next: The winner of this of this game faces off against 2nd seed Wichita State at 6:00pm CT Friday. Neither of these teams could take down the Shockers, with Bradley losing both bouts 100-66 and 64-49. Drake fell 90-65 and came close in their second meeting but lost 77-69. For the winner of this one, it won’t be easy taking down the other MVC regular season co-champion.
Two quarterfinal matchups are already set. This one is scheduled for 2:30pm CT Friday. It’s the 4th seeded Southern Illinois Salukis taking on the 5th seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. As all games are, this one can be viewed on MVC TV, ESPN3 (subject to blackout), or on the FOX Sports Go app. The winner advances to the MVC Tournament semifinals.
Southern Illinois/Loyola Comparison
First Meeting: The Salukis got the win at home, narrowly defeating the Ramblers 67-61.
Second Meeting: In both teams’ regular season finale, Southern Illinois escaped with a win, 72-70.
What To Expect: The Salukis took both regular season games by a combined margin of eight points. That means this one can go either way. Loyola was in the game each time and has the ability win this quarterfinal matchup. Look for the third meeting to go down to the wire.
What’s Next: The winner of this game advances to the semifinal to play the winner of the Illinois State vs. Evansville/Indiana State game.
In the final quarterfinal matchup on Friday, it’s the 3rd seeded Northern Iowa Panthers taking on the 6th seeded Missouri State Bears. Game can be watched on MVC TV, ESPN3 (subject to blackout), or on the FOX Sports Go app. Winner advances to the semi’s as well.
Northern Iowa/Missouri State Comparison
First Meeting: To open conference play, the Bears, on the road, took down the Panthers 68-64.
Second Meeting: Northern Iowa extracted revenge, beating MO State 55-52 in Springfield.
What To Expect: The road team won both matchups this season, both by a narrow margin. Missouri State gets to play in their home state. But the two-time defending MVC Tournament champions, Northern Iowa, always seem to bring their A-game to Arch Madness. Expect this one to be a close, grind-it-out type game. It could go either way.
What’s Next: The winner of this game advances to the semifinals to play the winner of Wichita State vs. Bradley/Drake.
It’s bound to be a great weekend of competitive basketball and I absolutely encourage you all to watch the games and get out there and go to them if possible. Most the Arch Madness games are close and exciting. It’s bound to be another great year and we will get to see who will punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. More game previews and all types of Arch Madness material will be produced in the next several days as well. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.