Arch Madness is one of the best postseason events in college basketball. The Missouri Valley Conference has a big basketball following, and plenty of fans make the trip to St. Louis each year for what is always an exciting tournament. And with two teams in line for at-large bids, it could be a banner year for the league.
We’ll be taking a look at some of the best teams in each conference, and providing picks and predictions for each conference tournament. Plenty of favorites will win, but we’ve got some sleepers to consider that might be able to pull off a big upset on the way to the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s the bracket for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament with TV listings, dates and times.
Favorite: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
Loyola is No. 18 in the NET, No. 12 in KenPom and Sister Jean is only 101. The Ramblers are 21-4, 16-2 in the MVC with losses only to Indiana State and Drake on the road. They’re safely in the tournament, and now it’s about seeding. With the second-best adjusted defense in college basketball, Loyola will be ranked higher than their Final Four team of 2018. But they’ll still need an upset or two along the way to get back to those rarified heights in March Madness.
Sleeper: Drake Bulldogs
Tough to have the No. 2 seed as a sleeper, but this seems to most likely be a two-horse race. Arch Madness has a propensity for upsets, but if things hold to serve Drake will be in play for an at-large bid assuming they reach the final. They split with Loyola on their home floor during the year, winning in OT 51-50 after losing 81-54 the day before.
Dark Horse: Indiana State Sycamores
Larry Bird’s alma mater beat Loyola 58-48 at home in the second game of their doubleheader, and has won ten of their last twelve overall. Having to play the extra game without a bye isn’t ideal, but it’s certainly not kept teams in this tournament down before (see Bradley last year). They’ll need to make more than their season average of 33.8% of their three-pointers to have a chance as a bid-stealer.