February 28, 2014

What's at stake Saturday in the MVC


The Wichita Eagle's Paul Suellentrop takes you inside Wichita State sports.

While the top and bottom of the MVC Tournament brackets are set, 32 scenarios exist for settling the middle four seeds. Here is how things look at this hour:

No. 1 Wichita State – plays at 12:05 p.m. Friday and will play the winner of the 8-9 game between Drake and Evansville (exact seeds TBA).

No. 2 Indiana State – 6 p.m. Friday vs. winner of No. 10 Loyola vs. No. 7 Bradley.

Missouri State could finish 3, 4, 5 or 6.

Northern Iowa and Illinois State could finish 3, 4 or 5.

Southern Illinois will be 5 or 6. (Out of Thursday for the first time since 2009).

WSU, assuming it wins Friday, gets the 4-5 winner in Saturday’s semifinals.

Is there a team WSU wants to avoid?

Probably not, but the bracket demands this exercise: Illinois State’s zone defense offers a challenge and the Redbirds are athletic enough to bother the Shockers a bit. Northern Iowa is playing well, winners of four of five games, including at Missouri State. The Panthers are experienced, well-schooled and good shooters. Forward Nate Buss is back from a knee injury. He did not play in WSU’s win at UNI on Feb. 8. We’ll know more about MSU’s chances on Saturday.

UNI is the team that would concern me the most, because of its experience, its three-point shooting and its foul shooting.

Saturday’s schedule:

Northern Iowa at Indiana State

Missouri State at Wichita State

Bradley at Drake

Evansville at Loyola

Illinois State at Southern Illinois

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