The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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EIU women’s path to March Madness

Eastern is locked into the number four seed after Saturday, which means it will face number one seed University of Southern Indiana if it wins its game on Thursday. (File)

The EIU women’s basketball team is officially the number four seed in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament with an 11-7 conference record. 

After the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s win on Saturday, the Panthers are settled in as the fourth seed and have a very hard challenge ahead to get to the NCAA tournament.  

The NCAA tournament, or March Madness, is the one tournament that every college basketball team wants to make at the start of the season. It is also very hard for a team to make the tournament that is not from one of the top six conferences.  

The OVC is not one of those top six. That means only one team from the conference can go to the tournament.  

Eastern needs to win the OVC tournament and get an automatic bid to get to March Madness.  

Now, being the fourth seed makes this increasingly more difficult because of the University of Southern Indiana.   

Southern Indiana is the number one seed, but they cannot make the NCAA tournament.  

Southern Indiana just joined Division I basketball last year, and the NCAA rules dictate that there must be a four-year buffer before a team from Division II can make the NCAA tournament.  

That means that if Southern Indiana makes the finals of the OVC tournament, whoever is facing them gets the automatic bid no matter what. The Panthers cannot get to that point as the fourth seed.  

As the fourth seed, the Panthers will have to face Southern Indiana if they win their first game. This makes their path so much harder since they don’t just have to make the finals like some teams.    

Speaking of other teams, the entire bracket is out. The eighth seed is Tennessee State University (7-11 in the OVC), and they will face the number five seed, Morehead State University (10-8).  

The winner of that game will then play Eastern. From there, the winner plays the number one seed Southern Indiana (17-1). The winner will then face the winner on the other side of the bracket.  

That side starts with the number six seed Tennessee Tech University (10-8) facing the seven seed Western Illinois University (9-9). Whoever wins will play the number three seed University of Tennessee at Martin (11-7). Then, the winner of that game will play the number two Little Rock (11-7). The winner of that will play in the championship game.  

UT Martin, Little Rock and Eastern Illinois are all tied with the same record. The tiebreaker was decided by the records of the teams against each other. Eastern has the worst record against both teams while Little Rock has the best record.   

With that, the job for Little Rock becomes much easier if Southern Indiana can get to the finals, as Little Rock would need to win one game to make March Madness.  

Eastern has one of the hardest paths to March Madness. Having to play Southern Indiana in Evansville is a test that no one in the conference has succeeded in yet.   

The Panthers play the winner of round one on Thursday, March 7 at 1 p.m. in Evansville, Indiana.  

  

Patrick Schmitz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Patrick Schmitz, Sports Reporter
Patrick Schmitz is a freshman sports media relations major. This is his first year at The News. 
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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