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HOOPS IN THE HEARTLAND

Valley brings tipoff event to the Quad-Cities

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In addition to bringing its postseason women’s basketball tournament to the Quad-Cities, the Missouri Valley Conference will bring its preseason tipoff event to the TaxSlayer Center in Moline for the first time in September.

The conference announced Wednesday that it will hold separate men’s and women’s basketball tipoff events for the first time ever prior to the 2022-23 season.

The women’s tipoff is scheduled for Sept. 14 at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline and will include a luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

The men’s tipoff event will take place one week later in St. Louis, where both events have previously been held simultaneously.

Both events will be expanded this year with three new universities – Belmont, Illinois-Chicago and Murray State – joining the Missouri Valley as new members on July 1, the same date Loyola-Chicago left for the Atlantic-10.

The head coach and a minimum of two student-athletes from each of the league’s 12 schools will be in attendance, participating in one of two six-team media sessions and doing community service projects during their visit to the Quad-Cities.

The luncheon will bring the entire group together and is scheduled to be held from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. at the TaxSlayer Center.

Additional details about the luncheon and community service projects will be announced in the coming weeks.

The addition of the new teams will grow this year’s Hoops in the Heartland – the name of the conference’s postseason women’s basketball tournament – from a 10-team tournament to a 12-team event.

The revamped tournament at the TaxSlayer Center will include four games on each of its first two days followed by a semifinal session on Saturday and the title game on Sunday.

Hoops in the Heartland, which determines the Missouri Valley's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament field, has been held in the Quad-Cities since 2016 and will be held at the Moline arena at least through 2024.

This season’s tournament — the 16th straight season the Missouri Valley has held its postseason tourney at a neutral site — is scheduled for March 9-12, 2023.

Illinois State University won the Hoops in the Heartland title in Moline in March when the fourth-seeded Redbirds edged third-seeded Northern Iowa 50-48 in the championship game.

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