ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Missouri State Bears will tip off Arch Madness today, March 6, in St. Louis.
It took Bears coach Dana Ford two-thirds of the season to finally find his team’s identity.
Missouri State is at it’s best when unleashing a scrappy defense and playing harder than the other team.
Ford is hoping that can pay off in a three day run here at Arch Madness.
When you go to Arch Madness you need to plan ahead.
Pack both sets of jerseys, bring your a-game and…
“If we pack our defense we’ll stand a chance,” Ford said.
It’s that simple for Bears boss Dana Ford.
He’s seen his team win four of its last six games thanks to that defense.
“I don’t know why I wouldn’t believe in my guys,” Ford said. “I think they’re good. But we have to pack our defense. If we don’t we can’t beat anybody.”
Sixth-seeded Missouri State will open things up against the third seed Indiana State.
The Sycamores beat the Bears by 10 at the Q.
While the Bears beat Indiana State by 13 at the Hullman Center.
“We’re definitely locked in,” senior Keandre Cook said. “We’ve played Indiana State twice so we know what they can do. We just want to go in there and keep playing with energy and play hard and play for each other.”
“We’re ready for Arch Madness we’re playing as well as anyone,” senior Ross Owens said. “So anything can happen in three days.”
“I would say they’re (Indiana State) the hottest team in the league,” Ford said. “After our loss, I don’t think they’ve lost. Good guards, senior backcourt, good interior, got depth, shoot it well, solid defense. We’ll have to guard them if we want to beat them.”
The Bears tipped off the season as the Valley’s preseason favorite.
But after a trying regular season, Missouri State can make some noise at Arch Madness.
“We’ve definitely grown as a team,” Owens said. “When we decided to start playing defense things go your way and the wins come with defense. And we like to win.”
Interestingly, the last time the Bears played Indiana State in Arch Madness, the Sycamores upset Missouri State in the championship game.
That kept Kyle Weems from going to the NCAA tournament.