2024 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament

The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament – affectionately referred to as ‘Arch Madness’ among fans – tips-off on March 7 in St. Louis Missouri. Indiana State will be the story most are familiar with. The Sycamores not only won the regular season title, but also reached the AP Top 25 Poll this season for the first time since 1978.

Do not be fooled though. The MVC is a deep conference with quality teams such as Drake and Bradley. There are even slight hopes that the Missouri Valley can send multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament this season, as both Indiana State and Drake rank inside the top 50 of the most current iteration of the NET Rankings.


How to Watch the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament

When: March 7-10

Where: Enterprise Center (St. Louis, Missouri)

Format: Top four seeds get bye to Quarterfinals

Watch: First Round: ESPN+, Semifinals: CBS Sports, Final: CBS

College Basketball Odds | College Basketball Betting Splits | Greg Peterson’s Daily Lines | Steve Makinen’s Power Ratings

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Bracket

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Seeds, Teams and Odds

1. Indiana State Sycamores +160

2. Drake Bulldogs +210

3. Bradley Braves +350

*4. Northern Iowa Panthers +1100

*5. Belmont Bruins +1500

6. Southern Illinois Salukis +2200

7. Illinois State Redbirds +20000

8. Murray State Racers +4000

9. Missouri State Bears +9000

10. Evansville Purple Aces +25000

11. UIC Flames +20000

12. Valparaiso Beacons +50000

(Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook accurate at time of publish)

Favorite To Win Missouri Valley Conference Tournament

Indiana State enters the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in hopes of clinching its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011. The Sycamores won the MVC wire-to-wire this season, and led the conference in both adjusted offensive (116.5) and defensive efficiency (100.3). 

Despite leading the MVC in both categories, Indiana State’s best weapon is its offense. It averages 70.2 possessions per game, attempts 28.9 3-point attempts per game and shoots a league-best 38.1% from deep. The Sycamores’ ability to play in transition and shoot with both high volume and efficiency make them a dangerous team not only during Arch Madness, but the NCAA Tournament as well.

While the team is highly efficient on defense it does lack the ability to force turnovers. Indiana State ranked 11th in defensive turnover rate (14.0%) and 10th in steal rate (7.8%). It also ranked 11th in block percentage (4.8%) despite leading the MVC in defensive 2-point percentage (48.8%). 

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Darkhorse

Drake is the obvious darkhorse to win Arch Madness. The Bulldogs beat the Sycamores in Des Moines back on Jan. 10, and they finished second in offense (115.0) and third in defense (101.6) in conference play. However, it is worth mentioning Belmont as well. The Bruins ended the regular season on a 7-1 SU and ATS run. They split with Drake and led late in the second half of their home game with Indiana State before falling 78-72. Belmont led the MVC in tempo (70.6) and often played sloppily which led to a 16.8% turnover rate, which was eighth in the league. Their recent form is great though, and they were competitive with the top squads in the conference.

Players to Watch in Missouri Valley Conference Tournament

Drake guard Tucker DeVries lost out on the regular season scoring title by 0.2 points, but he is the most dynamic player in the MVC. DeVries averaged 21.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 44.8% shooting from the floor. DeVries lost out to Xavier Johnson, who led the league in scoring at 21.9 points per game. The Southern Illinois guard was fourth in the country in usage rate (34.3%) and eighth in assist rate (39.3%), according to KenPom. As he goes, so too do the Salukis who did not have another double-digit scorer on the team this season.

Robbie Avila – nicknamed ‘Cream Abdul Jabbar’ by social media – is the Sycamores’ starting center. Avila averaged 17.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 54.8% from the floor.

Malik Dia led Belmont in scoring (17.4 PPG), but remember the name Cade Tyson. Tyson is a deadly knockdown shooter for the Bruins. He took 5.7 3-point attempts per game and led the MVC in 3-point shooting (47.2%). Tyson also added 6.0 rebounds per game, making him a versatile asset for Belmont.

Missouri State might not be much of a threat to win Arch Madness, but guard Alston Mason is good enough to lead the Bears to an upset win or two. Mason averaged 18.1 points on 14.5 field goal attempts per game. He dropped 36 points on 13-of-28 shooting in a double-overtime win as a 7.5-point underdog at Drake in January.

Betting Pick to Win Missouri Valley Conference Tournament

It is hard to look past Indiana State to win Arch Madness. The Sycamores obviously have the more favorable path as the top seed, and they have the perfect balance of offense and defense. The price of +160 might not appeal to some bettors, but investing in that short price over the course of just three days is more palatable than over the course of a full season. 

Belmont is also worth mentioning, as they come into this tournament hotter than almost every team in the MVC. However, the Bruins were dealt a tough blow on Monday when they lost the tiebreaker to Northern Iowa – the MVC uses NET Rankings as the tiebreaker to determine seeding – and now they must play an extra game. They are double-digit favorites over Valparaiso, but the extra game does get me off recommending Belmont outright.

Pick: Indiana State +160

Makinen Power Ratings for Missouri Valley Conference

Check out the other previews in our 2024 College Basketball Conference Tournament Betting Guide.