The Harvard Crimson were the first team to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament on Friday night. Harvard clinched their third consecutive appearance with a 70-58 wire to wire win over Yale. After winning a game last season, Harvard should be one of the real contenders to make it to the “Sweet 16.” With one game left, Harvard moved their record to (25-4, 12-1) in the Ivy League.
The Wichita State Shockers dominated Evansville for the third time this season. The 80-58 win should be enough for Wichita State to keep that No. 1 seed come selection Sunday. Still, bubble teams will be keeping a close look at what the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference does. In other words, they’ll be rooting for Wichita State to enter the NCAA tournament at (34-0)
Missouri State 53- Illinois St. 48
Missouri State struggled to a five point win over Illinois State, but they’ll need to keep that strong defensive effort on Saturday. Missouri State reached their 20th win of the season, but their 21st would be the biggest of the season. Make no mistake, unless you’re the MVC or playing in the other semifinal, nobody wants Missouri State to win on Saturday.
Indiana State 75- Loyola-Chicago 62
Indiana State knocked off upset minded Loyola-Chicago with a strong second half performance. Jake Odum led the Sycamores with 18 points. It’s never easy during conference tournaments, but Indiana State has the easier road to the conference finals.
Southern Illinois 63- Northern Iowa 58
The Southern Illinois Salukis were more famous for a coach’s post game rant than for playing basketball. However, Southern Illinois managed to pull off a couple of upsets this week. After jumping out to a 36-18 halftime lead, Southern Illinois did just enough to hang on for a five point win. Desmar Jackson led the Salukis with 23 points and 11 rebounds. They lost a 19 point lead, but never trailed in the crazy second half. They face Indiana State in the semifinals.
Ohio Valley Tournament
Belmont 86- Morehead State 63
Belmont raced past Morehead State for a 23 point victory on Friday night. J.J. Mann led Belmont with 16 points, while hitting four 3-pointers. Overall, Belmont hit 11 shots from downtown. Belmont (24-8) moved into the finals to take on Eastern Kentucky.
Eastern Kentucky 86- Murray State 83
Eastern Kentucky lost an 11 point lead in the second half just to create another memorable finish. With the game tied at 79, Corey Walden scored five consecutive points to regain the lead. Still, Murray State had two chances to tie the game, but missed a couple three pointers.
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