Doug McDermott

Arch Madness will be Arch Madness until at least 2015

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The Missouri Valley is the nation’s preeminent mid-major conference regardless of whether or not the league is having a good season or a down year.

The league is loaded with programs that have a long history of success, gobs of tradition and hoards of fans that would make some of the smaller programs in the major conferences really, really jealous.

That’s why attending Arch Madness is one of the things currently on my College Hoops bucket list. Since 1991, the MVC has held their conference tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, home of the famous Gateway Arch. (Which is why the tournament was dubbed Arch Madness. The MVC: home of great hoops and clever nicknaming skills!)

Only the Big East, who has used Madison Square Garden as the home of their conference tournament, has had a longer stay at one neutral site. Which is why the news that the MVC has agreed to keep Arch Madness in St. Louis through the 2015 season is notable.

“This was an important decision for our conference, and we are excited to be able to continue the remarkable run that our tournaments have enjoyed in this neutral city,” MVC commissioner Doug Elgin said. “We are indebted to Scottrade Center and to Family Arena and to many corporate supporters who have made it possible for us to grow our tournaments in a first-class fashion at a neutral site.”

Apparently, the Sprint Center in Kansas City and the Quest Center in Omaha have been making a push to host the event. They understand the power of the MVC fanbases.

But at the end of the day, Arch Madness will be Arch Madness for at least three more seasons. Which gives me at least three more years to notch this off my bucket list. That’s a good thing.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: