Around the country, a number of NCAA Tournament hopefuls are hoping for one result and one result only in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis.
Loyola-Chicago did not win the MVC regular season title, but they are likely the only team in the league with a chance at an at-large bid. And if the Ramblers, who are moving to the Atlantic 10 next season, signs off on its time in the Valley by claiming the automatic bid, that will ensure that there is one more spot for the bubble boys to fight over.
But first, Loyola must win today’s semifinal showdown with tournament top seed Northern Iowa. That is something that they could not do last weekend when the regular season title was on the line in Cedar Falls. And if they put away the Panthers, they will face either #2 seed Missouri State or #3 seed Drake for all the marbles tomorrow.
Here’s a look at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament bracket, results, and odds.
2022 Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Information, Bracket, Results, and Schedule
2022 MVC Tournament Information
- Dates: Thursday, March 3 to Sunday, March 6, 2022
- Venue & Location: Enterprise Center (St. Louis, Missouri)
- TV: CBS (championship game), CBS Sports Network (semifinals), MVC TV (first round and quarterfinals)
2022 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Seeds
Teams that are still alive are in bold.
- 1. Northern Iowa
- 2. Missouri State
- 3. Drake
- 4. Loyola-Chicago
- 5. Bradley
- 6. Southern Illinois
- 7. Valparaiso
- 8. Illinois State
- 9. Indiana State
- 10. Evansville
2022 MVC Tournament Results and Schedule
Thursday, March 3
#8 Illinois State 58, #9 Indiana State 53
#7 Valparaiso 81, #10 Evansville 59
Friday March 4
#1 Northern Iowa 78, #8 Illinois State 65
#4 Loyola-Chicago 66, #5 Bradley 50
#2 Missouri State 67, #7 Valparaiso 58
#3 Drake 65, #6 Southern Illinois 52
Saturday, March 5
#4 Loyola-Chicago 66, #1 Northern Iowa 43
#3 Drake 79, #2 Missouri State 78 (OT)
Sunday, March 6
#4 Loyola-Chicago vs. #3 Drake, 2:00 p.m. ET, CBS
2022 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Odds
Odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook.
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship Game Odds
Loyola-Chicago vs. Drake Odds
- Spread: Loyola-Chicago -5.5 (-110), Northern Iowa +5.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 130.5 (-110), UNDER 130.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Loyola-Chicago -225, Northern Iowa +180
Odds are via BetMGM.
2022 MVC Tournament Championship Game Predictions and Picks
#4 Loyola-Chicago (24-7, 13-5 MVC) vs. #3 Drake (24-9, 13-5 MVC)
This past weekend, Loyola could have helped themselves significantly by securing the MVC regular season title at Northern Iowa. But despite leading for most of the second half, the Ramblers were unable to close out the game, and the Panthers won 102-96 in overtime to claim the regular season title.
As it stands, they are likely either one of the last teams in the field or one of the first teams out of it, depending on where you look. At CBS, whose bracket projections were updated this morning, the Ramblers are one of the first four teams out along with Michigan, Florida, and VCU.
With only two Q1 wins and the MVC lacking any other potential tournament teams besides themselves, the Ramblers are in a tough spot if they don’t win the auto bid.
The timing of the MVC tourney works against them, given that bubble teams from other conferences, like Michigan, Florida, VCU, Indiana, SMU, and others would have their final chance to make an impression on the committee with the Ramblers already in the clubhouse.
Next season, they won’t have to worry about that, as the Atlantic 10’s conference tournament typically ends on Selection Sunday. This season, though, they will be sweating if they don’t take the title today.
Loyola-Chicago vs. Drake Prediction and Picks
Loyola-Chicago 73, Drake 62 (Loyola-Chicago -5.5 & OVER 130.5): Ultimately, Loyola’s best is better than anyone else’s best in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Yesterday’s defensive dismantling of the Panthers showed what the Ramblers can be when they are doing what they do best. Northern Iowa shot only 23.2 percent (13 of 56) from the field and 16.7 percent (4 of 24) from three.
That followed Friday’s win over Bradley, in which the Braves made only 31.4 percent (16 of 51) from the field and 20 percent (4 of 20) from three.
In surprisingly sweeping Loyola in the regular season, Drake scored 77 and 83 points against the Ramblers. Also, the Bulldogs have won seven in a row entering today’s title tilt. In yesterday’s semis, they eliminated Missouri State, who had swept the Bulldogs in the regular season.
So, this is a team that won’t be short on confidence and belief, and they are certainly not short on talent either. The Bulldogs will take the court with five players averaging at least nine points per game, led by freshman Tucker DeVries. DeVries (13.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG) kept his cool and calmly sank the decisive two free throws with a second left in the semifinal win.
But the absence of senior guard D.J. Wilkins, who is their fourth-leading scorer, top perimeter threat, and an elite defender, will hurt them against Loyola. Wilkins, who had 20 points in the home win over the Ramblers, tore his ACL in the regular season finale against Southern Illinois.
Drake has done well to get to the championship game without Wilkins, but without him, beating Loyola three times in one season will be beyond them. The Ramblers will sign off on their time in the MVC with a third tournament title in five seasons.