Managers Madness kickstarts Missouri Valley Tournament
February 25, 2016
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Arch Madness is right around the corner. All the teams of the Missouri Valley Conference will soon be coming together in St. Louis to duke it out for the championship and the right to bring home the hardware.
Exactly one week from today basketballs will be bouncing inside the Scott Trade Center, sweat will be dripping, some tears may be shed and competition will be in full force. Then a few hours later, the MVC Conference Tournament will begin. That’s right, the action actually starts before the first game of the MVC Tournament even tips off. The action starts with Manager Madness.
What is Manager Madness? Most people have never heard of such a thing. Luckily, I’m the guy with the answers because I am a manager for the UNI Men’s Basketball team and part of the team that put this awesome tournament together.
Manager Madness began three years ago as a way for the student managers to compete among others in the conference. The thought of such a thing has been around for a while, but the UNI Managers and UNI Alumni Grant Peterson are the ones responsible for organizing the 3-on-3 tournament in the Scott Trade Center. The MVC Managers have a two-hour window on the floor to crown a champion. Teams are seeded based on how their actual team is seeded in the tournament, and games are played to 21 by twos and threes. Most teams will get about three games in, but once you lose one game, your hopes of winning it all are over.
Illinois State has won the tournament the last two years as they are entering this year with a big target on their back. After two years of Manager Madness in the books, our UNI squad has had a 2nd and 3rd place finish with heartbreaking losses both years. However, this is the year UNI hopes to get over the hump. With a handful of returners and a talented freshman group, we have high hopes.
“I think we got a good chance this year. We’ve been working to get better after last years’ disappointment,” junior Elliot Eggleston said about the team’s chances this year. “I think the key is if we can hit some shots. The last couple years we’ve started out slow from the three-point line, so if we can hit early and often, I like our chances.”
UNI’s prior finishes in Manager Madness haven’t been too bad but just not enough to satisfy this group who is hungry for a championship. “We’re looking forward to a chance to redeem ourselves since last year we all left with the feeling that we could have and should have done better,” said senior Nate Buch.
Despite the competitiveness, the coolest part of this tournament is that it brings all these guys from different schools together. Junior Alec Sorensen sums it up best by saying, “The best part is being able to get together with managers from other schools in the conference to compete and have fun. I don’t think people realize how much work we put in. As a manager, you have so much more respect for the guys who put in all of that time and don’t get recognized for it. Playing in this tournament gives you the opportunity to get together with friends, relax, and have fun.”
The UNI Managers are looking forward to another fun tournament and hopefully returning back to Cedar Falls with two trophies: the first-ever MVC Manager Madness trophy and, of course, the important one: a second straight MVC Championship trophy. Let Arch Madness begin!