What are the chances Missouri Valley is a one-bid league?
Only a few weeks ago, it looked like the Missouri Valley was headed for two top-five seeds in the NCAA tournament. Now, they might only get one bid -- total.
Back in mid-January, it looked like the Missouri Valley was headed for potentially two top-five seeds in the NCAA tournament. Both Creighton and Wichita State were rolling, and both seemed significantly better than the rest of the league -- meaning they wouldn’t suffer bad losses throughout conference play.
Then Indiana State joined the fun, picking up several quality wins and looking like a legitimate at-large contender. Three bids for the Missouri Valley, including two wearing home jerseys on the first day of the NCAA tournament? Makes sense.
As we head into the final two weeks of the regular season, things have changed. Indiana State lost three in a row before eking out a win over Iona, so the Sycamores are likely on the wrong side of the bubble. Creighton is 5-6 in its last 11 games, including a road loss to Saint Mary’s over the weekend that if they had won would have left the Bluejays in pretty good shape.
Wichita State seems like the only team trying to cement its spot in the tournament, winning five games in a row -- after dropping three straight at the end of January and beginning of February.
Which brings me to this question: if Creighton loses to Wichita State in the season finale, and the Shockers go on to win the Missouri Valley’s automatic bid, does that leave the MVC as a one-bid league?
Entering the week, the updated bracket from Jerry Palm has Creighton as a No. 11 seed and Wichita State as a No. 10 seed. Wichita State won the lone head-to-head matchup so far, and is one game up on the Bluejays in the standings. Creighton has arguably better wins, with a neutral victory over Wisconsin, a road win at California and a victory over Akron looking pretty solid. Wichita State has wins over Southern Miss and VCU (and Creighton).
In my theory, Creighton falls at home to Wichita State, and then loses again at some point in the Missouri Valley tournament. That would be eight losses in the Bluejays’ final 15 or 16 games -- and a team that won’t be able to make up any ground during the final week before Selection Sunday.
While I still think the Valley will find a way to get two bids to the NCAA tournament, the chances they end up as a one-bid league are much higher than they were just a few weeks ago.
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