Nothin’ special to see here and Bubble Teams around the country can breathe one more sigh of relief. All 4 top seeds made the semi-finals and the top 2 seeds made the finals. Creighton made the finals easily; Missouri State could never really find an answer for Creighton’s shifting defenses. Southern Illinois, however, had a tougher time and only beat Bradley on a last-second bucket. It would not surprise me to see the MVC get 4 tournament bids now; a lot will depend on how the other tournaments around the country shake out. If my review of the title match sounds like a live-blog, that’s cause it is. I actually got to watch all of the game with no interruptions.
In the finals match-up yesterday, Creighton jumps out to an early lead, going up by 8 with 11 minutes left in the first half. However, after their slow start, the Salukis respond with a nice little run and take the lead, 23-22, with 6 minutes remaining. In the regular season, Southern Illinois won both match-ups, which means that Creighton will probably pull this out. It is extremely tough, and also rare, to beat a team 3 times in one season. At the halftime break, it is Creighton 32-So. Illinois 28.
At halftime, Creighton must’ve had their Wheaties because they come out firing. With 90 seconds gone in the second half, Creighton pulls ahead 38-29. Both teams have a field goal drought, but then in another 120-second stretch, Creighton goes up 43-32. They extend their lead to 50-36 with 7:30 left in the game. However, the Big Mo (she is an awful mistress) gives a mighty swing and Southern Illinois pulls within 6, 59-53, with 3 minutes left in the game. They pull within 5 in the final minute, but the Boys in Blue make their free throws and Creighton wins, 67-61. Creighton was the #2 seed, making this the 9th straight year that the #1-seed team does not win the MVC tournament.
I’m interested to see how many bids this conference gets to the Dance. Bradley ended up having a better showing in the conference tourney than Missouri State did and before the tournament, most people considered MoState a lock. It would not surprise me to see 4 bids, but it would also not surprise me to see Bradley get left out of the field of 65. The Selection Committee, she is a tough nut to crack. Guess we’ll just have to see….
The All-Tournament Team is Nate Funk (Creighton, MOP), Nick Porter (Creighton), Matt Shaw (So. Illinois), Jamaal Tatum (So. Illinois) and Anthony Tolliver (Creighton). The MVP of the MVC Panty Raid goes to Jamaal Tatum because not only is he a helluva basketball player, but he is a gorgeous hunk of a man. Jamaal, the Ladies… salute you.