Unanimous vote of all AAC members is good for all sports, except football
One of the longest standing members of the Missouri Valley Conference (started play in 1945 shortly after the end of World War II) has decided to bolt for the expanding AAC. Wichita State University of Kansas will be moving, as of July 1 and it simply means, that they will be one of the last teams playing on Selection Sunday just hours before the draw is released.
The move was made official on Friday, according to ESPN and other broadcast/online media outlets. The Shockers will bring their excellent style of play in basketball and volleyball against schools like SMU, Tulsa, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, Memphis, Temple, East Carolina, South Florida, Tulane, and always powerful UConn. Gregg Marshall will have the services of ten players that were on the second round squad that pushed the likes of Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky to the wire in the Indianapolis pod before falling a few points short.
No question, the days of seeing the NCAA grant the MVC more than one bid is coming to an end. But they had quite a track record when you consider:
The Valley sent three teams to the Big Dance in 2005, four in 2006, and two in 2007, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
In terms of the MVC going forward, look for schools like Northern Iowa, Indiana State, last year’s regular season champions from Illinois State, and (dare I say this) perhaps Loyola of Chicago could be a major player for the first time since 1985.
Initial reports Friday by Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com indicated that possibly four other schools could take Wichita State’s place:
They include Saint Louis, Valparaiso, Murray State, and Belmont.
Each of those schools has great basketball track records and with a new gym on the horizon in Valparaiso, that could step up recruiting a notch. Plus, it is a great fit geographically speaking. Saint Louis at least would keep the natural geographic areas along with Bradley and Illinois State, while Murray State and Belmont might be considered long shots–but you never know what athletic officials are thinking.
Please stay tuned for any future news on any key moves by any affected school in the weeks and months to come.