As the NCAA Tournament ends and the year goes deeper into April, it appears Wichita State's days in the Missouri Valley Conference are numbered.
As you've probably heard, according to several media reports, the Shockers are pursuing a move to the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as soon as next school year. The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle reported Tuesday the move is all but inevitable, which will leave the Valley with another huge gap to fill after Creighton left in March of 2013.
It is not clear when the presidents of the AAC will vote to either extend an invitation to the Shockers or decide not to. The Eagle, and several other outlets, have reported the Shockers will accept an invitation if given. Wichita State, which matched SIU's record of six straight men's NCAA Tournament appearances this year, would be a royal 12th member of a conference that already has SMU, Cincinnati, Houston, Central Florida, Memphis, Connecticut and Temple.
Jon Rothstein of Fanragsports.com reported Tuesday that the MVC had scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss Wichita State's departure and future additions, citing anonymous sources.
The American's conference RPI (seventh) was five spots better than the Valley's (12th) this season. And in addition to the better notoriety with their men's basketball program, the Shockers would receive a visit from the Connecticut women at least every other year (teams only played 16 conference games last season).
Wherever they play, Wichita State's men's basketball team will be a preseason top 25 team this winter. The Shockers were picked sixth in the way-too-early top 25 on ESPN.com and fourth by The Associated Press. Wichita State returns all five starters from this season's 31-5 squad.
The AAC members are SMU, Cincinnati, Houston, Central Florida, Memphis, Connecticut, Tulsa, Temple, East Carolina, Tulane and South Florida. Wichita State would compete in all sports but football in the AAC.
The Valley added Loyola as its 10th member in April of 2013. We can only hope they can find that kind of fit this time around, too.