Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Just five days after battling Southern Utah in the regular season finale, Valparaiso will take on the Thunderbirds again Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders begin play at the Mid-Continent Conference Basketball Championship held at the John Q. Hammons Arena at the UMAC in Tulsa, Okla.
Valpo (19-10, 11-3 Mid-Con), the tournament's second seed, split its two meetings with the Thunderbirds. Southern Utah (9-19, 5-9), the number seven seed, posted a 56-49 win on January 27 in Cedar City, Utah before the Crusaders bounced back with a 65-47 victory at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Monday night (Feb. 26). Tip-off for the quarterfinal match up is set for 2:30 p.m.
The winner of the Valpo-Southern Utah contest will advance to Monday afternoon's (March 5) 2:30 p.m. semifinal against the winner of third-seeded Oral Roberts (19-10, 8-6) and sixth-seeded UMKC (10-19, 6-8). That quarterfinal game will be played Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Regular season champion and the tournament's top seed, Oakland (17-11, 12-2) will face number eight seed Centenary (5-24, 1-13) to begin the tournament Saturday at noon. Number four seed IUPUI (13-15, 7-7) will face fifth-seeded Western Illinois (10-18, 6-8) Sunday at noon with those two winners meeting in Monday's first semifinal beginning at noon.
The Mid-Con Championship game is set for Tuesday, March 6 beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the game carried live nationally on ESPNU. The champion earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Valpo has won two Mid-Con Tournament titles, with the last coming in 2004. The Crusaders have appeared in five tournament championship games in the last nine years.