Southern Illinois (29-6) will represent the Missouri Valley Conference in the NCAA Sweet 16. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, The Valley has had Sweet 16 trips in back-to-back seasons twice (1994 and 1995 - both by Tulsa; and 2006 and 2007 - Bradley and Wichita State last year, SIU this year). The Salukis are the seventh MVC team to reach the Sweet 16 since 1994, although the MVC received just 30 total bids in that span.
2007 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship
Thursday, March 22 (West Regional) -- San Jose, Calif. -- HP Pavilion (numbers are seed)
#4 Southern Illinois vs. #1 Kansas, 6:10 p.m. CT
#2 UCLA vs. #3 Pittsburgh, 30 minutes after
Winners play Saturday, March 24 (time TBD)
Vs. No. 1 Seeds
Valley teams are a combined 0-6 vs. No. 1 seeds. Kansas is a No. 1 seed.
1984 Illinois State lost to DePaul (Second Round), 75-61
1985 Illinois State lost to Oklahoma (Second Round), 75-69
1994 Tulsa lost to Arkansas (Sweet 16), 103-84
1998 Illinois State lost to Arizona (Second Round), 82-49
1999 Missouri State lost to Duke (Sweet 16), 78-61
2006 Bradley lost to Memphis (Sweet 16), 80-64
Four or More Bids, Again
For the seventh time in the past nine years, and the 13th time in the league's history, The Valley has at least four postseason bids. Last year, the league set records with four NCAA tourney teams, and six total post-season squads.
This year, only 10 conferences received four or more post-season bids. Below is a listing of NCAA/NIT bids by conferences with four or more post-season bids (and conferences with a team in the NCAA Sweet 16):
Conference NCAA/NIT bids
ACC 7/3 -- 10 total 1 Sweet 16
Big East 6/4 -- 10 total 2 Sweet 16
SEC 5/4 -- 9 total 3 Sweet 16
Big Ten 6/1 -- 7 total 1 Sweet 16
Big 12 4/2 -- 6 total 2 Sweet 16
Pac-10 6/0 -- 6 total 3 Sweet 16
The Valley 2/2 -- 4 total 1 Sweet 16
Colonial 2/2 -- 4 total 0 Sweet 16
Mtn. West 2/2 -- 4 total 1 Sweet 16
WAC 2/2 -- 4 total 0 Sweet 16
Horizon 2/0 -- 2 total 1 Sweet 16
C-USA 1/0 -- 1 total 1 Sweet 16
SIU has set a school record by reaching 29 victories. The most-recent MVC school to get 29 wins was Creighton (2002-03) as the Bluejays were 29-5. In the 100-year history of the MVC, only four league schools have reached 30 wins (33-Indiana State in 1979, and 32-Bradley in 1950, 1951 and 1986).
SIU Receives Best Seed
Southern Illinois received a No. 4 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams for the 1985 tournament, no Valley team had been seeded higher than a No. 6 (that had happened three times). Indiana State, in a smaller NCAA field in 1979, is the only Valley team to receive a No. 1 seed in the tourney field.
NCAA Tourney Hit List
Since 1994, a Missouri Valley Conference member has beaten the following teams from BCS-football conferences in the NCAA Tournament: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisville, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Tennessee (three times), Texas Tech, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin.
Including this year, The Valley has had two or more teams reach the NCAA Tournament in nine-straight years. Here are the leagues with multiple NCAA men’s basketball bids every year since the 1998-99 season (nine-straight years). Quick math -- it's the six BCS leagues, and the Missouri Valley.
Southern Illinois is in the NCAA Tournament for a sixth-straight year, matching Cincinnati (1958-63) for the longest consecutive streaks in MVC history. Cincinnati was an MVC member for 13 years.
Great Mark in 2006-07
The Missouri Valley's 90-35 (.720) non-conference mark is No. 6 all-time in league history and the best record in 44 years. Last year, the MVC was 80-34 (.701). The MVC has had 90 non-league wins just three times in its history (107-47 in 1971, 105-47 in 1972, and 90-35 this year). The Valley is 17-13 against teams from BCS-football conferences. Notably, only six of the 30 meetings were on Valley homecourts. The MVC was 12-12 against BCS member schools last year.
Tough Seeds; Valley Rarely Seeded in Top 7
Since 1994, The Valley has recorded a 19-29 record in the NCAA Tournament, despite being seeded No. 7 or better only five times in 30 appearances.
MVC Reaches 100 Years
Founded in 1907, the Missouri Valley Conference is the nation's second-oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference. Only the Big Ten (1896) and the Missouri Valley Conference have eclipsed the century mark. In the league's first 99 seasons, the league has 27 national championships, including 10 titles (NCAA or NIT) in men's basketball.
Best at the Bottom?
The Valley's bottom four teams combined for 59 wins this year. In the last 40 years, the league's last four teams have combined for 50 or more wins only three times (1971 - 50; 1985 - 51; 2007 - 59). In years when The Valley had eight or more members, it's only happened six times -- 50 wins (1965, 1966, 1971) and 51 wins (1967, 1985), and 59 this year.
A Baker's Dozen?
All 10 Valley members reached 13 wins -- for just the second time in the league's 100-year history. Before this year, the league had all of its teams reach 13 wins only one other time (1956). In fact, only three times in the league's 100-year history have all league members reached at least 12 wins in the same season (1955, 1956, 2007). Notably, the league had only six members in 1955 and seven in 1956.
Seven at .500 or Better
Seven of 10 Valley schools are .500 or better. The Valley has never ended a year with more than 7 of its members .500 or better (seven times previously). The league had six teams with .500 or better records in each of the past two years. Drake, meanwhile, recorded its first winning season in 20 years.
Against the Top 25
This season, The Valley is 6-4 against non-MVC teams in the Associated Press Top 25. Last year, the league posted six wins against top-25 schools (including three in the NCAAs). The last time Valley members posted six top-25 non-league wins in back-to-back years was in 1957-58 (7) and 1958-59 (7). In fact, the league has had more than six top-25 non-league wins in the same year just four seasons 1974-75 (10), 1952-53 (7), 1957-58 (7), and 1958-59 (7) since 1949, the first year the AP produced a poll.
Beating the Top 25
This year, five different MVC teams have won a non-league game against a top-25 team (Creighton, Indiana State, Missouri State, Southern Illinois, and Wichita State). Since the AP started its poll in January 1949, five different MVC teams won a top-25 non-league game in the same season just three seasons (1957-58, 1974-75, and 2006-07).