Arch Madness, indeed. The Bradley Braves trailed by 18 points at one point in the second half of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship game. But they stormed back, winning by a final score of 57-54.
Bradley was the third team to clinch an NCAA tournament berth. The Braves scored just 15 points in the first half but got incredibly hot in the second. Elijah Childs led the team with 16 points, while Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye and Luqman Lundy also finished in double figures.
This was a weird offensive performance from Northern Iowa. The Panthers actually shot well from 3-point range, going 8-for-20. But they couldn't get their 2-pointers to fall. They only made 33 percent of those shots, and the Bradley defense deserves a ton of credit. Childs was excellent on the defensive end as well, recording three blocks. Braves perimeter defenders did a wonderful job of moving their feet and making life difficult for Panther drivers without fouling.
Bradley will return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006, when it made it all the way to the Sweet 16 before bowing out to Memphis. That team was led by Patrick O'Bryant and Marcellus Sommerville.
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Gardner-Webb earns first auto bid
Gardner-Webb is dancing for the first time in program history with its 76-65 win over Radford on Sunday.
D.J. Laster was absolutely phenomenal for the Runnin' Bulldogs. He scored a career-high 32 points on just 17 shot attempts, and Gardner-Webb finished the afternoon with a gaudy 1.27 points per possession mark. These guys can score, and they might be a tough out come NCAA tournament time.
What an emotional moment for this program:
Liberty headed to the NCAA tournament in first season in the A-Sun
Liberty capped off an impressive week with a 74-68 win over Lipscomb on Sunday, and the Flames are officially dancing.
Four Liberty players scored in double figures, and the Flames showed the balance that they've had all season. They are now 28-6 on the year and have only lost once since the beginning of February. These guys are for real.