Arch Madness! MVC Tournament Preview: Tickets, TV Schedule, Bracket, Contenders, and Prediction

The 2012 Missouri Valley Tournament, better known as “Arch Madness,” gets rolling on Thursday in St. Louis.

While Wichita State and Creighton were a cut above during the regular season, this tournament always seems to have a few surprises.  The next five teams in the standings all finished 9-9 though, which should lead to plenty of close, hard fought games over the course of the four-day event.

As I will do for a number of the upcoming conference tournaments in Championship Week, here’s a look at the tournament schedule, links for tickets, and a quick rundown of teams to watch and what to expect.

MVC Tournament Tickets and TV Schedule

arch madness mvc tournament preview tickets bracket schedule tickets

2012 MVC Tournament Bracket and TV Schedule

Game Date Matchup Time TV
1 Thu, March 1 #8 Indiana State def #9 Southern Illinois 66-51 6:05 ET MVC TV
2 Thu, March 1 #7 Drake def #10 Bradley 65-49 8:35 ET MVC TV
         
3 Fri, March 2 #1 Wichita State def #9 Indiana State 72-48 12:05 ET MVC TV
4 Fri, March 2 #4 Illinois State def #5 Northern Iowa 54-42 2:35 ET MVC TV
5 Fri, March 2 #2 Creighton def #7 Drake 68-61 6:05 ET MVC TV
6 Fri, March 2 #3 Evansville def #6 Missouri State 72-64 8:35 ET MVC TV
         
7 Sat, March 3 #4 Illinois State def #1 Wichita State 65-64 1:35 ET MVC TV
8 Sat, March 3 #2 Creighton def #3 Evansville 99-71 4:05 ET MVC TV
         
9 Sun, March 4 MVC Tournament Championship Game: #4 Illinois State v #2 Creighton 1:05 ET CBS

Click to see the Arch Madness schedule in bracket form.

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Missouri Valley Tournament Preview

The Favorite

Wichita State

The senior-laden Shockers went 16-2 in the league and have won 24 of their last 26 contests.  They were fantastic in conference play with their only losses coming against Creighton on New Year’s Eve and in triple overtime at Drake.  Wichita State has ascended to the Top 10 in the Pomeroy Ratings while also working their way into the polls over the last few weeks.

In conference play, the Shockers were the most efficient team on both ends of the floor, ranking third or better in more statistical areas than I have room to list here.  In short, there’s a reason many people consider Wichita State to be the top mid-major this year.

Seven players log between 22 and 29 minutes per game, all of whom are juniors or seniors.  Big man Garrett Stutz leads the team in both scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg) while shooting 56 percent from the field.  He’s steadily improved over the course of his career and is playing his best basketball as a senior.

Complementing Stutz in the backcourt are seniors Joe Ragland and Toure’ Murry.  Ragland had made nearly 48 percent from three-point range and averages 13.2 points and a team-high 3.4 assists.  He is among the Top Five in effective field goal percentage and is in the Top 25 in overall offensive rating.  Murry does a little of everything for the Shockers.  He doesn’t shoot it as well as Ragland, but he scores 12.1 points, grabs 4.8 rebounds, dishes out 3.3 assists, and plays tenacious on-ball defense.  Throw in solid contributors like Ben Smith, David Kyles, and Carl Hall and you have all the makings of a balanced attack on both ends of the floor.

Regardless of whether or not they win this tournament, the Shockers are in the NCAA Tournament, but a solid showing here could earn them a four-seed in the Big Dance.

Other Top ‘Arch Madness’ Contenders

Creighton

doug-mcdermott-creighton-missouri-valley-tournament-preview-prediction-tickets

Creighton's Doug McDermott

Led by Doug McDermott, the Bluejays boast an explosive offense that ranks sixth in adjusted efficiency.  They lead the nation in effective field goal percentage and are second in three-point shooting at 42.8 percent.  If they get rolling from long range, Creighton could definitely run the table in the tournament.

It’s hard to overstate McDermott’s importance to this team and the effectiveness of his overall game.  He averages 23.1 points and 8.1 rebounds while shooting 60.7 percent from the field, 47.9 percent from three-point range, and 80.1 percent from the foul line.  McDermott has scored at least 12 points in each game this season, including nine double-doubles, four 30-point efforts, and a 44-point explosion against Bradley.  He’s extremely effective at getting deep post position and making quick, decisive moves before the double-team comes.  If you haven’t seen McDermott play, don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

Creighton’s other two key offensive weapons are guard Antoine Young and big man Gregory Echenique.  Young is second on the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and assists (4.5 apg), and he has come through with a number of clutch late-game shots this season.  Echenique is a Rutgers transfer who shoots over 61 percent from the field and contributes 9.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per contest.  Guard Grant Gibbs does a little of everything for the Bluejays, as the Gonzaga transfer has posted 6.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game in his first season.

For all the impressive facets of Creighton’s offense, their defense is a serious concern, as they rank 190th in efficiency on KenPom.  Interestingly, the Bluejays are in the Top 35 in defensive rebounding percentage and opponents’ free throw rate, but they have allowed numerous uncontested shots and are have one of the worst turnover rates in the nation.

The Bluejays started 11-1 in the league before losing three straight, but they come in winners of their last four games.  It’s worth noting the last three wins have come by a total of four points.

Sleeper

Evansville

Quite frankly, it’s tough to see anyone other than Wichita State or Creighton emerging victorious from Arch Madness, but the Aces are playing the best basketball among the quintet of 9-9 squads.  They went just 5-3 over their last eight games, but two of their losses came by a single point, including last week’s overtime loss at Creighton.  T

hey face Missouri State in the Quarterfinals, against whom they were 2-0 this season, and the Bluejays would be their likely Semifinal opponent.  Evansville beat Creighton at home before suffering the aforementioned overtime loss, and they, too, boast an elite scorer in Colt Ryan.  The junior sharpshooter is averaging 20.5 points to go with 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.0 steals while draining 43.3 percent from deep.  He hung 43 points on Creighton last week and could put the team on his back for a potential MVC Tournament run.

Prediction

I have to go with Wichita State here.

The Shockers have a seemingly endless supply of veterans, all of whom are consistent contributors in one area or another.  They also have the best balance of offense and defense, and their defensive ability would be the difference if they faced Creighton in the Finals.

MVC Basketball Tournament History: Champions & MOPs

Year MVC Tournament Champion MVC Tournament Runner-Up MVC Tournament MOP
1977 Southern Illinois West Texas State N/A
1978 Creighton Indiana State N/A
1979 Indiana State New Mexico State N/A
1980 Bradley West Texas State N/A
1981 Creighton Wichita State N/A
1982 Tulsa Illinois State N/A
1983 Illinois State Tulsa N/A
1984 Tulsa Creighton N/A
1985 Wichita State Tulsa N/A
1986 Tulsa Bradley Brian Rahily, Tulsa
1987 Wichita State Tulsa N/A
1988 Bradley Illinois State Hersey Hawkins, Bradley
1989 Creighton Southern Illinois Chad Gallagher, Creighton
1990 Illinois State Southern Illinois Rickey Jackson, Illinois State
1991 Creighton Southwest Missouri State Bob Harstad, Creighton
1992 Southwest Missouri State Tulsa Jackie Crawford, SMSU
1993 Southern Illinois Illinois State Ashraf Amaya, Southern Illinois
1994 Southern Illinois Northern Iowa Cam Johnson, Northern Iowa
1995 Southern Illinois Tulsa Chris Carr, Southern Illinois
1996 Tulsa Bradley Shea Seals, Tulsa
1997 Illinois State Southwest Missouri State Rico Hill, Illinois State
1998 Illinois State Southwest Missouri State Dan Muller, Illinois State
1999 Creighton Evansville Rodney Buford, Creighton
2000 Creighton Southwest Missouri State Ryan Sears, Creighton
2001 Indiana State Bradley Michael Menser, Indiana State
2002 Creighton Southern Illinois Kyle Korver, Creighton
2003 Creighton Southern Illinois Kyle Korver, Creighton
2004 Northern Iowa Southwest Missouri State Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa
2005 Creighton Southwest Missouri State Johnny Mathies, Creighton
2006 Southern Illinois Bradley Randal Falker, Southern Illinois
2007 Creighton Southern Illinois Nate Funk, Creighton
2008 Drake Illinois State Adam Emmenecker, Drake
2009 Northern Iowa Illinois State Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State
2010 Northern Iowa Wichita State Kwadzo Ahelegbe, Northern Iowa
2011 Indiana State Missouri State Jermaine Mallett, Missouri State
2012      

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Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops, and check out the latest edition of the Bottoms Line podcast.



About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms

Comments

  1. Evansville is playing  their  best basketball at 9-9 lol.  (close is only good in horseshoes as they say) .If that is their  best basketball then they are on life support. They are a sleeper team alright (as in coma).You should follow the do not resucitate order on this one.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Fair enough, but I had to pick someone! And they have played fairly well against the teams likely to be their first two opponents. Like most people though, I am expecting round 3 of Creighton and Wichita State.

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