Indiana State 70, Missouri State 69
The Missouri Valley is having another weak season. The conference is rated 10th by Pomeroy, and 12th by both Sagarin and the RPI. All of that means that there aren't many quality wins in the conference and it was always going to be difficult for the conference to avoid being a one-bid league again. The only chance was for one or two teams to really separate themselves. Missouri State has been the best team so far, but this is a killer loss for them. After this loss they are 7-1 in conference play and 15-4 overall, but against an extremely soft schedule. They have zero RPI Top 50 wins, and already have an RPI 100+ loss to Tulsa, and this could easily turn into another RPI 100+ loss. Both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate Indiana State outside the Top 100 (And that, by the way, is just another example of how far this conference has fallen. Indiana State is currently leading the conference at 7-1). At this point, Missouri State can't afford to finish worse than 14-4 to keep their realistic at-large hopes alive. Indiana State, despite being 7-1 in the conference, has a whole bunch of bad losses (Eastern Kentucky, Loyola-Illinois, Ball State, Evansville and Wyoming) and zero big wins. They'd have to go nearly undefeated the rest of the way to have any chance of being on the bubble.
Northern Iowa 77, Wichita State 74
With Missouri State going down, Wichita State had the chance to grab back the mantle as the best chance for an at-large bid out of the Missouri Valley, and.... no. They did put up a good fight here, but Northern Iowa squeezed the life out of this one with 4-for-4 shooting at the line in the final ten seconds. I also give Northern Iowa a lot credit for forcing their style in this game, on the road. They are averaging only 54 possessions per game this season while Wichita State is averaging 66, and this game ended up with only 58. Northern Iowa lacks the explosive scorers and shooters they had last season, but they take care of the ball, hit their free throws and don't allow offensive rebounds. Every game against them is a grind, and Wichita State just fell short in this one. To be fair, losing to Northern Iowa is a lot less embarrassing than losing to Indiana State, and this loss didn't really kill Wichita State's resume. They are 0-4 against the RPI Top 100, but 14-0 against the RPI 100+. Their RPI is 54th and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is 64th. If the season ended now they'd be out of the Tournament, but they'd be close. And interestingly enough, both Sagarin and Pomeroy now rate Wichita State as slightly better than Missouri State. But because Missouri State has already gone to Wichita State and won, they remain the conference favorites. Wichita State next plays Indiana State at home, on Saturday night, and their return game to Missouri State will be their regular season finale, on February 26th. As for Northern Iowa, this win pushes them to 5-3 in Missouri Valley play. They have three RPI Top 100 wins (New Mexico, Iowa State and Wichita State), but they also have three RPI 100+ losses (UW-Milwaukee, Iowa and Southern Illinois). Their RPI is 69th and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is 84th. If they can finish something like 13-5 in conference play they will be on the bubble heading into Arch Madness.
Florida State 55, Miami (Fl) 53
With Florida State's poor offense it is typically hard for them to overcome large deficits. An 0-for-10 start from the field in this game buried them early, and they were down by as many as 12 points in the first half. But their defense is so suffocating that Miami was unable to capitalize and slowly had their lead slip away. Both of these teams shot under 35% from the field in this game, although Seminoles fans have gotten used to games like this by now. But as poor as their offense has been, and with as important of a player still missing with injury (Xavier Gibson), Florida State is actually tied for the ACC lead at 4-1 and they have that win over Duke. That said, that loss to Auburn is a killer, and the weakness of the ACC makes that 4-1 record not worth what it used to be worth. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is actually only 50th right now. They'd be in the Tournament if the season ended now because of that win over Duke, but only narrowly. They probably actually need to get to 10-6 in the ACC to make the Tournament. If they finish only 9-7 they'll probably need a couple of wins in the ACC tournament. They play Boston College on Saturday and then have a week to prepare for a road game at Clemson. This is another disappointing loss in a disappointing season for Miami. They are 1-3 in the ACC, and the one win was a one-point home victory over Boston College. A victory over West Virginia is their only good non-conference win, and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS has slid to 72nd. Their schedule doesn't ease up, with a Sunday game at NC State followed by a home game against North Carolina and then a road game at Virginia Tech.