The MVC’s future (and Creighton)

Creighton celebrates its MVC Tournament victory.

Creighton is officially out of the Missouri Valley Conference and it is a sad day for the other nine schools and the Valley office.

No addition will, at least in the short term, replace Creighton’s contributions in basketball, volleyball and baseball (not to mention soccer). The MVC can thrive without Creighton. It won’t be easy. Other programs must improve. The health of the MVC depends much more on the nine remaining schools, some of whom have experienced enough recent success they should know how to get there again, than the addition.

While it’s a bitter day for MVC fans – those of certain schools and those who admire the feisty conference that overcomes significant obstacles to compete – props must go to Creighton. That school took risks in hiring Dana Altman and moving into the CenturyLink Center, risks that no doubt gave athletic director Bruce Rasmussen sleepless nights. The moves paid off big and now the Bluejays are worthy of inclusion in a fine conference. The MVC would have no worries if all its schools had the resources and the leadership to operate in a similar manner. It’s not fair to expect Evansville or Drake to operate exactly the way Creighton does, but it is fair to expect more out of some programs.

It will be interesting to see if Creighton turns into Seton Hall or Marquette or something in between. This move is a risk, a no-brainer risk, but a risk. All the advantages Creighton enjoyed in the MVC – support, budget, academics, reputation, facilities – are lessened considerably in the Big East. Their coaches and administrators have some work to do, and they know it. Creighton’s history is strong and Omaha offers a great combination of resources and devotion.

It is also important to realize Creighton is joining a diminished Big East. Basketball schools are leaving football schools and nobody has done that in this era of conference change.  Pitt’s media guide makes this clear by ranking Big East schools by titles, wins and NCAA appearances since 2001. The top of the conference – Pitt, UConn, Syracuse, Louisville – is going elsewhere. Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova are NCAA regulars. Seton Hall, DePaul, St. John’s and Providence combine for five NCAAs the past 12 seasons.

 We don’t know the schools the MVC will target for a replacement. We don’t know which schools are interested in joining an MVC without Creighton. Some guesses (budget estimates from bbstate.com):

Oral Roberts (Tulsa, Okla.)

Conference: Southland

RPI past five seasons: 158-48-131-126-142

Wins past five seasons: 18-27-19-20-16

NCAA Tournaments: 5

Budget: 2.13 million (119th in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 3,259

Arena: Mabee Center, 10,575

TV market rank: 61

Miles to Wichita: 177

Miles to St. Louis: 395

Miles to closest MVC city: 177, Wichita

Belmont (Nashville, Tenn.)

Conference: Ohio Valley

RPI past five seasons: 17-58-51-135-124

Wins past five seasons: 26-27-30-19-26

NCAA Tournaments: 6

Budget: 1.8 million (151st in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 6,665

Arena: Curb Center, 5,000

TV market rank: 29

Miles to Wichita: 749

Miles to St. Louis: 309

Miles to closest MVC city: 153, Evansville

Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wisc.)

Conference: Horizon

RPI past five seasons: 305-124-92-130-134

Wins past five seasons: 8-20-19-20-17

NCAA Tournaments: 3

Budget: 2.3 million (117th in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 20,644

Arena: Klotsche Center, 5,000

TV market rank: 35

Miles to Wichita: 763

Miles to St. Louis: 373

Miles to closest MVC city: 208, Normal

Cleveland State (Cleveland, Ohio)

Conference: Horizon

RPI past five seasons: 198-85-42-165-52

Wins past five seasons: 14-22-27-16-26

NCAA Tournaments: 2

Budget: 2 million (132nd in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 8,005

Arena: Goodman Arena, 8,005

TV market rank: 17

Miles to Wichita: 992

Miles to St. Louis: 558

Miles to closest MVC city: 392, Terre Haute

Valparaiso (Valparaiso, Indiana)

Conference: Horizon

RPI past five seasons: 56-95-71-186-260

Wins past five seasons: 26-22-23-15-9

NCAA Tournaments: 7

Budget: 1.6 million (171st in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 3,000

Arena: Athletics-Recreation Center, 5,000

TV market rank: 3

Miles to Wichita: 733

Miles to St. Louis: 322

Miles to closest MVC city: 163, Normal

Murray State (Murray, Ky.)

Conference: Ohio Valley

RPI past five seasons: 107-22-117-57-149

Wins past five seasons: 21-31-23-31-19

NCAA Tournaments: 15

Budget: 1.5 million (179th in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 6,730

Arena: CFSB Center, 8,602

TV market rank: 78

Miles to Wichita: 566

Miles to St. Louis: 219

Miles to closest MVC city: 114, Carbondale

Detroit (Detroit, Mich.)

Conference: Horizon

RPI past five seasons: 69-127-143-167-281

Wins past five seasons: 20-22-17-20-7

NCAA Tournaments: 6

Budget: 2.3 million (118th in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 5,600

Arena: Calihan Hall, 8,295

TV market rank: 11

Miles to Wichita: 961

Miles to St. Louis: 530

Miles to closest MVC city: 364, Terre Haute

Illinois-Chicago (Chicago)

Conference: Horizon

RPI past five seasons: 167-299-291-166-136

Wins past five seasons: 17-8-7-8-16

NCAA Tournaments: 3

Budget: 2.1 million (130th in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 15,502

Arena: UIC Pavilion, 8,000

TV market rank: 3

Miles to Wichita: 723

Miles to St. Louis: 297

Miles to closest MVC city: 133, Normal

Loyola (Chicago)

Conference: Horizon

RPI past five seasons: 220-310-197-213-214

Wins past five seasons: 15-7-16-14-14

NCAA Tournaments: 5

Budget: 1.7 million 155th in NCAA Division I)

Enrollment: 16,040

Arena: Gentile Center, 5,200

TV market rank: 3

Miles to Wichita: 723

Miles to St. Louis: 297

Miles to closest MVC city: 133, Normal