Tre Williams, Indiana State Sycamores, Rienk Mast, Bradley Braves, MVC Tournament Preview

CBB Review prepares you for every conference tournament leading up to Selection Sunday. Up next: The MVC Tournament.


At one point or another, the Missouri Valley Conference had 5 teams in the mix for the regular season championship. It came down to the final day when Bradley beat Drake at home for their first conference title since 1996.

However, in the long run to March Madness, this means little, as by winning the conference the Braves have a tough potential road in the MVC Tournament, including the conference favorite Drake at +150 odds.

2023 MVC Awards

Player of the Year: Ben Sheppard, Belmont

Freshman of the Year: Cade Tyson, Belmont

Transfer of the Year: Courvoisier McCauley, Indiana State

Coach of the Year: Brian Wardle, Bradley

First Team:

  • G: Ben Sheppard, Belmont (18.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 40.6 3P%)
  • G: Tucker Devries, Drake (18.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 38.3 3P%)
  • F: Marcus Domask, Southern Illinois (17.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.0 SPG)
  • F: Rienk Mast, Bradley (14.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 52.2 FG%)
  • F: Ben Krikke, Valparaiso (19.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 55.3 FG%)

Second Team:

  • G: Bowen Born, Northern Iowa (17.2 PPG, 2.6 APG, 2.3 RPG)
  • G: Roman Penn, Drake (12.5 PPG, 5.3 APG, 4.7 RPG)
  • G: Courvoisier McCauley, Indiana State (16.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 38.2 3P%)
  • F: Cade Tyson, Belmont (13.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 42.6 3P%)
  • F: Malevy Leons, Bradley (11.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 38.2 3P%)

MVC Tournament Simulation:

First Round – Thursday, Mar. 2

8. Northern Iowa (13-17, 9-11) vs. 9. Illinois State (11-20, 6-14) – 1 p.m. on MVC TV

Putting it simply Northern Iowa has a star sophomore in Bowen Born who’s looking to prove himself. Illinois State wants another shot at their rival in the next round. Born and Tytan Anderson are out looking for a win and they will if they keep to their averages.

Ethan’s pick: 8. Northern Iowa

5. Indiana State (20-11, 13-7) vs. 12. Evansville (5-26, 1-19) – 3:30 p.m. on MVC TV

Evansville won one game in conference play and this won’t be the second. Indiana State’s new additions have played better than expected and it’s worked out in their favor.

Ethan’s pick: 5. Indiana State

7. Murray State (16-14, 11-9) vs. 10. Valparaiso (11-20, 5-15) – 7 p.m. on MVC TV

One of the brand-new additions to the MVC in Murray State takes on one of the bottom feeders in Valparaiso. Valpo’s star Ben Krikke will need some help to take down the former OVC powerhouse.

Ethan’s pick: 7. Murray State

6. Missouri State (16-14, 12-8) vs. 11. UIC (12-19, 4-16) – 9:30 p.m. on MVC TV

UIC should have the ability to score throughout points of the game, however, Missouri State can also put up points as well as defend. The Bears gave up the third-least PPG in the conference. Defense wins in Saint Louis and Missouri State has plenty of it.

Ethan’s pick: 6. Missouri State

Quarterfinals – Friday, Mar. 3

1. Bradley (23-8, 16-4) vs. 8. Northern Iowa – 1 p.m. on MVC TV

A great defensive and overall Bradley team takes on a UNI team that can score, but also will give up points. Bradley has one of the best X’s and O’s coaches in the Valley and a team full of veterans than can run his system. That should pay off for a quarterfinals win.

Ethan’s pick: 1. Bradley

4. Belmont (21-10 14-6) vs. 5. Indiana State – 3:30 p.m. on MVC TV

In these two teams’ lone matchup this season, Belmont barely escaped with a one point win in an emotional game. The two highest-scoring teams in the Valley with go at each other’s throats. With that being said, the Sycamores have a coach who has the advantage of playing in the MVC Tournament before, so he’ll be more acclimated in Arch Madness.

Ethan’s pick: 5. Indiana State

2. Drake (24-7, 15-5) vs. 7. Murray State – 7 p.m. on MVC TV

Two of the best players in the conference take on a new member who they’ve already beaten twice. Both times were by margins of at least 18 points. Nothing comes easy in the MVC Tournament, but this is one team Drake should have limited problems with.

Ethan’s pick: 2. Drake

3. Southern Illinois (22-9, 14-6) vs. 6. Missouri State – 9:30 p.m. on MVC TV

These two teams are both outstanding on defense, which is exactly what they’re known for. SIU could’ve had the MVC Player of the Year in Marcus Domask, but he was being shut down in some crucial games down the stretch in the clutch. Now it’s do or die and win or go home. Both of these two teams are closest to where the tournament is being played, so it should be a very even matchup.

Ethan’s pick: 3. Southern Illinois

Semifinals – Saturday, Mar. 4

1. Bradley vs. 5. Indiana State – 3:30 p.m. on CBSSN

These two teams matched up just once in the regualr season and Bradley took it in Indiana State’s building. The Braves will need to continue their stellar defensive play as well as rebound and shoot consistently in order to have the same outcome as last time.

Ethan’s pick: 1. Bradley

2. Drake vs 3. Southern Illinois – 6 p.m. on CBSSN

These two teams split the season series, each winning at home, and this game will be a test of players, coaches, and fanbases. If enough SIU fans make the trek to Saint Louis and Domask shows up in the moment, then the Salukis will be able to keep it close and even possibly win against Drake.

Ethan’s pick: 2. Drake

Championship – Sunday, Mar. 5

1. Bradley vs. 2. Drake– 2 p.m. on CBS

These two teams split the season series with Bradley winning the final one in the last game of the regular season to win the conference championship. Both teams have experience, with Drake losing in the title game the past two years, and Bradley winning it in 2019. If the Braves can make their threes and play well in the paint, they should be dancing!

Ethan’s pick: 1. Bradley

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