This was a back and forth game like almost every game this tournament, at least for the first half. In the beginning of the game the Cardinals seemed to be just ahead of Northern Iowa but never out of reach. The second half was a different story though as Louisville never lost the lead. Even after their offense stalled for minutes at a time they worked through it to hold off the Panthers, 66-53.
With no surprise, Northern Iowa beats Wyoming and advances to the third round of the tournament. Northern Iowa started out strong and led the entire game even though Wyoming had a very impressive run in the second half. The Cowboys still fell short by a final score of 71–54. UNI will go on to play the winner of UC Irvine and Louisville.
Illinois State looked to finish their regular season by continuing its six-game win streak, and claim the conference’s automatic NCAA tournament berth against (11) Northern Iowa. Had the game ended at halftime, it would have been successful. But they play two halves for a reason. Northern Iowa’s seniors are the core of the team and they were the ones cutting down the nets as Missouri Valley champions Sunday afternoon with a 69-60 win. Illinois State led the entire first half and continued to hold the lead until the 13:22 mark in the second. Once the Panthers grabbed control of the lead, though, there was no looking back.