had 41 points to lead Creighton to its first outright Missouri Valley Conference title since 2001 in a 91-79 win over Wichita State earlier today. That Creighton-Wichita State game was the second in three years in which a “winner-take-all” game occurred in the MVC on the final day of the regular season.
With the win, Creighton takes the No. 1 seed into the MVC Men’s Basketball Tournament, which begins Thursday, March 7, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Creighton (24-7, 13-5 MVC) clinched its eighth outright MVC regular-season title and its 15th overall -- tied for the most in league history. The Bluejays last earned the top seed for the MVC Tournament in 2001. That year, the Bluejays lost to eventual tournament champ Indiana State in the semifinals. Creighton has also been the MVC Tournament No. 1 seed in 1978, 1989, and in 1991, and the Bluejays won the tournament in each of those three seasons.
This year’s tournament is the 37th Missouri Valley Conference post-season tourney and 23rd-straight in St. Louis. The league has been over 50,000 fans in each of the last 10 seasons, and the 2012 tournament total attendance was fourth-best for the tournament in its history (36 events). Last year, 62,283 fans attended during the four-day, nine-game event.
Notably, the top seed of the league men’s basketball championship has won the title six times in St. Louis, including three of the past five years (Drake-2008, UNI-2009, UNI-2010), but before 2008, that hadn’t happened once since 1998. Only twice has a seed worse than No. 3 won the tournament (No. 4 Creighton in 2000 and No. 5 Indiana State in 2001).
The tournament, which features nine games in four days, culminates on Sunday, March 10, and for the second time in league history, all nine games will be televised nationally (in HD). For the eighth-straight year, CBS Sports will carry the title game, while the first eight games will air on the MVC Television Network. Radio partner 101 FM (WXOS) will air tournament games in St. Louis, while Dial Global Sports (formerly Westwood One) will air the title game nationally.
For the second-straight year (and just the second time in MVC Tournament history), the league tournament will begin with two teams that enter the tournament with 24 or more wins as both Creighton and Wichita State sport identical 24-7 overall records (last year Wichita State had 26 victories and Creighton had 25 before the tournament started.)
Notably, since 2003, the league tournament has featured a ranked team five times (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2012). Until 2012, the MVC Tournament had never featured two ranked teams (Creighton and WSU were ranked last year).
With 11 crowns, Creighton owns the most MVC Tournament titles of any Valley school, and the Bluejays will be looking to become the sixth team to repeat. UNI most recently accomplished the feat, winning back-to-back crowns in 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, Missouri State became the first No. 1 MVC Tournament seed and regular-season champ in 18 years not selected for the NCAA Tournament. Notably, only five top-seeded teams in 36 MVC tournaments have failed to reach the NCAAs (Missouri State-2011, Illinois State-1993, Southern Illinois-1992, Southern Illinois-1990, Bradley-1982).
2013 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Thursday, March 7 -- Session I
Game 1 -- #8 Bradley (16-15, 7-11) vs. #9 Drake (14-16, 7-11), 6 p.m. [MVC TV Network] [WXOS Radio]
Game 2 -- #7 Missouri State (10-21, 7-11) vs. #10 Southern Illinois (14-16, 6-12), 8:30 p.m. [MVC TV Network] [WXOS Radio]
Friday, March 8 -- Session II
Game 3 -- #1 Creighton (24-7, 13-5) vs. Winner Game 1, noon [MVC TV Network] [WXOS Radio]
Game 4 -- #4 Evansville (18-13, 10-8) vs. #5 Indiana State (17-13, 9-9), 2:30 p.m. [MVC TV Network] [WXOS Radio]
Friday, March 8 -- Session III
Game 5 -- #2 Wichita State (24-7, 12-6) vs. Winner of Game 2, 6 p.m. [MVC TV Network] [WXOS Radio]
Game 6 -- #3 UNI (18-13, 11-7) #6 Illinois State (17-14, 8-10), 8:30 p.m. [MVC TV Network] [WXOS Radio]
Saturday, March 9 -- Session IV
Game 7 -- Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1:30 p.m. [MVC TV Network]
Game 8 -- Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 4 p.m. [MVC TV Network] [WXOS Radio]
Sunday, March 10 -- Session V
Championship -- Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 1 p.m. [CBS Sports, Dial Global Sports, Sirius XM Radio] [WXOS Radio]
ST. LOUIS -- National Player of the Year candidate