The Illinois State Redbirds were beaten in a heart-breaking 60-57 OT loss on Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference Championship game.
The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament took place in St. Louis this weekend. The number 3 seed Redbirds took on Evansville and Creighton. The Redbirds beat both 78-68 and 73-49 respectively. The number 1 seed Panthers easily handled the number 9 seed Indiana State Sycamores and the number 4 seed Bradley Braves.
The Panthers and the 'Birds met twice in the regular season; both of which Illinois State lost. However, they lost those games by a total of 6 points. This game, however, was much more important than that. The winner of this game would be crowned Missouri Valley Champion and given an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The 'Birds, who trailed early, came back, (thanks to Osiris Eldridge's 21 second-half points)and took the lead in the final minutes of the game. However, UNI tied the game and ISU was unable to score with the final possession of regulation. The game went into overtime, where ISU fell 60-57.
Despite not taking home a Missouri Valley Championship, Eldridge brought home the MVC's Most Outstanding Player award. And although ISU didn't get an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, they still could get an at-large bid with their 24-9 record. All we can do is wait for next week's Selection Sunday.