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Bears Face Redbirds At Arch Madness

Missouri State will face Illinois State Friday in the Valley tournament.
ST. LOUIS, Mo--The Missouri Valley basketball tournament tips off tonight in St. Louis.

Or as it's known this year, the Wichita State coronation.

KOLR 10's Megan Rice is standing by live in St. Louis with a preview.

That's right Dan, I'm here outside the Scottrade Center.

Just anxiously awaiting the Bears and Redbirds tip off, that's set for 2:30 Friday.

Missouri State is coming into the tournament 3-0 in the quarterfinals when they are the fourth seed.

"21 turnovers, 21 turnovers, 21 turnovers."

21, a number you want in blackjack but certainly not the number of basketball turnovers you want in a game.

The Bears split with Illinois State in the regular season, losing 67-63 in the latest game.

And if they want to win this Friday they can't gamble with the ball.

"Probably the most athletic teams from a quickness standpoint and how they move laterally in the league," said Bears coach Paul Lusk.

In the first meeting MSU won in overtime 78-70, led by senior Jarmar Gulley's 22 points.

"Nobody wants to go home on the first game," said Bears senior Jarmar Gulley.  "I think we plan on going in there with a sense of urgency and we just got to play hard."
Lusk: "You expect it to be a close game. I think it's just catching, passing and dribbling and just doing the fundamental things."

MSU guard Austin Ruder was named to the Valley's All-Freshman team, and he isn't backing down from his first MVC tourney.

"I'm ready to play in it definitely," said Austin Ruder.  "Full year of basketball under my belt so far so I am ready to go up there and play those guys again.

And some Bears players are just wanting to take advantage of their final Arch Madness, again.

"Me thinking I wouldn't get to play in it again," said Bears senior Keith Pickens.  "I think coming back to it this year knowing that it's big time and how open it is for anybody to win. I just want the team to go up there and compete and no we have a chance to win it."

Cause in this tough, hard-nose conference tournament all you need is a chip and a chair.

"It's big time it doesn't take a back seat to anyone. It's a great opportunity for our guys and I know they are looking forward to it."

And Dan the Valley named Wichita State's Gregg Marshall as it's coach of the year.

Southern Illinois Barry Hinson was second, Paul Lusk third.

First play in game is just getting underway Drake against Evansville.

And later 7th seeded Bradley will take on 10th seeded Loyola.

So Dan, the fun just getting started here in St. Louis.

Reporting live, Megan Rice, KOLR 10 Sports.

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