Beyond Wichita State it wasn’t a particularly impressive day of basketball at yesterday’s quarterfinals. Evansville looked good against Missouri State and will give Creighton a decent shot today. The Jays continue to play haltingly, struggling to put away Drake yesterday. After losing to WSU by 21 points at home the Bluejays have beaten Southern Illinois, then won their next four by a total of 11 points. While Creighton may not be winning impressively—they are still winning—five in a row now. Still, they don’t look like the same team that started the season 21-2 and reached #12 in the national polls.
Valley officials may be able to have their cake and eat it too. Wichita State and Creighton are both considered to be locks for the NCAA tournament. If either Illinois State or Evansville wins here it would give the MVC three teams in the ‘big dance’, the most since they sent four teams in 2006. In the absence of that, they’d like to see a WSU-Creighton championship game on CBS Sunday afternoon. It would be an incredible showcase for the conference, having two nationally ranked teams playing the rubber game in their series.
Wichita State and Creighton easily have the biggest fans bases here. I’m not so sure that the two of them combined wouldn’t outnumber all the fans from the conference’s other eight teams. If the two rival heavyweights get to Sunday it’ll be interesting to see who gets the support of fans with no natural rooting interests. My sense is that the Shockers would get the nod, I think there’s still a fair amount of lingering resentment or jealousy of Creighton’s prowess over the years in the Valley. Hopefully, we’ll see.