This year's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title game on Sunday will serve as a rubber match between the league's top teams as No. 1 seed Loyola Chicago and No. 2 seed Drake compete for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The teams split a pair of games on Feb. 13 and 14 and are both in the mix for at-large bids to the Big Dance. 

But winning the league tournament would remove the stress of next week's Selection Sunday and allow the victor to hang a banner. Snagging a win would be particularly helpful for Drake, which is one of the "last four in" the projected NCAA Tournament field, according to Jerry Palm. Both teams are projected as No. 12 seeds, but the Ramblers have a better overall resume, according to the latest Bracketology.

The Bulldogs have been scraping to get by without leading scorer ShanQuan Hemphill after he suffered a broken foot in a game on Feb. 10. Point guard Roman Penn, the team's assists leader, is also out with a broken foot. But despite using a slimmed down rotation, the Bulldogs snuck past No. 3 seed Missouri State 71-69 in one of Saturday's semifinal games.

Loyola Chicago handled No. 4 seed Indiana State 65-49 in the other semifinal to set up what will be a compelling title matchup on CBS as March truly begins to heat up.

Viewing information 

  • When: Sunday, 2:10 p.m. ET
  • Where: Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri
  • TV: CBS | Live stream:  CBSSports.comCBS Sports App (Free)
  • OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)

Game prediction, pick 

Drake's resilience through brutal injuries is commendable, and it benefitted from having Thursday's quarterfinal game against Northern Iowa canceled due to a COVID-19 issue in the UNI program. But even though the Bulldogs will be better rested, Loyola Chicago have a talent edge that should be clear in such a big game. Prediction: Loyola Chicago 80, Drake 68 

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