Illinois State will wait on the NCAA Tournament bubble after MVC title game loss

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ST. LOUIS, MO. - MARCH 05: Illinois St. Redbirds head coach Dan Muller talks to his team during a time out during the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference Men's Basketball Tournament game between the Wichita State Shockers and the Illinois State Redbirds on March 05, 2017, at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS  – Alas, the 19-year wait to return to the NCAA Tournament will last yet another seven days.

Those figure to be some tense times for Dan Muller and his Illinois State team as his team sits as close to the edge of the bubble as a Division I basketball team can.

This is the scenario for the Redbirds who failed to punch an automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament in a forgettable day in St. Louis against Wichita State. The experienced Shockers turned the Missouri Valley Conference championship game into a 71-51 rout at the Scottrade Center on Sunday afternoon.

That gives the automatic bid to Wichita State and puts the Redbirds in line with a number of other teams hoping for an at-large bid. At 27-6 and 17-1 in the MVC, Illinois State is resting on the edge of the bubble a week before the NCAA Tournament selections.