8) INDIANA STATE 71, 9) WICHITA STATE 67 (MISSOURI VALLEY)
Indiana State has been one of the bottom four teams in the Missouri Valley Conference resigned to play on the opening day of Arch Madness for as long as I can remember. For this reason, and the fact that I own a pair of sweet '79 throwback ISU shorts, I've always found myself pulling for the Sycamores to make a miraculous run on the opening weekend of March.
The dream stayed alive yesterday as eighth-seeded Indiana State held off No. 9 Wichita State 71-67, in the only game of the day that was relatively competitive.
The major story of the game was first-year WSU head coach Gregg Marshall being ejected after getting hit with two technical fouls in a span of six minutes and eight seconds during the second half. Indiana State's Gabe Moore made all four free-throws, which proved to be the difference.
"I apologized to (the players) for getting kicked out," Marshall said. "I told them it goes right along with our season, another deal we had to overcome and the adversity we've faced. In the end, my staff, and the players out there, we had a couple of shots to take the lead and tie the game. I'm pleased to coach them. ... For an 11-win team, I don't think you could love a team more than I do these guys."
All five ISU starters finished the game in double-figures, led by Moore and Jay Tunnell who each scored 18.
Indiana State will now play top-seeded Drake today at 1:05 p.m. in the first MVC quarterfinal. The Bulldogs swept the season series, winning 75-55 and 83-77.
6) Gardner-Webb 82, 3) Stetson 63 (Atlantic Sun)
I suppose it's fitting that the only game that didn't play out as expected on Thursday involved the most well-known Cinderella of the regular season.
The sixth-seeded Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb outscored No. 3 Stetson by 20 points in the second half to pull off an 82-63 upset in the Atlantic Sun quarterfinals.
A-Sun Freshman of the Year Nate Blank led the way with a game-high 21 points.
Gardner-Webb now gets second-seeded Jacksonville tonight at 7 p.m. in the first tournament semifinal.
Kenny George, UNC-Asheville
The 7-foot-7 George notched his fifth career double-double by scoring 19 points and snatching 11 rebounds in 24 minutes. The big question now is well his knees will hold up in tomorrow's title game after only one day of rest.
Cue the gratuitous Kenny George clip.
6) Gardner-Webb 82, 3) Stetson 63
4) East Tennessee State 81, 5) Lipscomb 74
8) Indiana State 71, 9) Wichita State 67
7)Missouri State 69, 10) Evansville 46
1) Robert Morris 64, 8) Monmouth 50
4) Mount St. Mary's 80, 5) Quinnipiac 70
3) Sacred Heart 84, 6) Central Connecticut State 71
2) Wagner 71, 7) Long Island 62
The first day of wall-to-wall basketball on TV. You've got the Missouri Valley on FSN Midwest all day, the MAAC opening round on MASN, and then of course the OVC semifinals and the Lester Hudson show on ESPNU at 7 p.m.
ATLANTIC SUN SEMIFINALS (NASHVILLE)
1) Belmont vs. 4) East Tennessee State
2) Jacksonville vs. 6) Gardner-Webb
MISSOURI VALLEY QUARTERFINALS (ST. LOUIS)
1) Drake vs. 8) Indiana State
4) Creighton vs. 5) Bradley
2) Illinois State vs. 7) Missouri State
3) Southern Illinois vs. 6) Northern Iowa
METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC OPENING ROUND (ATLANTIC CITY)
8) Manhattan vs. 9) St. Peter's
7) Iona vs. 10) Canisius
COLONIAL ATHLETIC OPENING ROUND (RICHMOND)
8) Hofstra vs. 9) Towson
5) William & Mary vs. 12) Georgia State
7) Delaware vs. 10) Drexel
6) Northeastern vs. 11) James Madison
SOUTHERN OPENING ROUND (CHARLESTON)
8) Wofford vs. 9) Western Carolina
7) Elon vs. 10) Furman
6) College of Charleston vs. 11) The Citadel
HORIZON LEAGUE QUARTERFINALS (CAMPUS SITES)
4) Illinois-Chicago vs. 8) Loyola (IL)
3) Wright State vs. 6) Valparaiso
OHIO VALLEY SEMIFINALS (NASHVILLE)
1) Austin Peay vs. 4) Tennessee-Martin
2) Murray State vs. 6) Tennessee State
AMERICA EAST OPENING ROUND(BINGHAMTON)
8) Stony Brook vs. 9) Maine
WEST COAST OPENING ROUND (SAN DIEGO)
5) San Francisco vs. 8) Loyola Marymount
6) Pepperdine vs. 7) Portland