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The Missouri Valley Conference is consistently one the most competitive and unpredictable conferences in the entire NCAA. The Valley has earned its reputation to be taken seriously come March Madness. All year, Northern Iowa has proven themselves to be the cream of the crop in the Valley. While many around the league agree that the Panthers are one the top teams in the Valley this season, the scheduling in the conference is one of the most grueling in the nation. Expect the Panthers to roll through March Madness and receive the Valley's automatic bid for the NCAA tournament, returning for the dance for the first time since 2016; photo.