Creighton will start, presumably, its last NCAA men’s basketball tournament as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference go-ing east.

The 27-7 Valley regular season and tournament champions drew a No. 7 seed Sunday, and will open the tournament against No. 10 seed Cincinnati (22-11) sometime Friday in Philadelphia. Creighton will make its 18th appearance in the NCAA tournament and its ninth in the last 15 years.

Creighton has reportedly agreed to join the new 10-team Big East Conference this fall, which will give the Valley its first change in membership since 1996.

The winner of Creighton/Cincinnati will play either second-seeded Duke (27-5) or 15th-seeded Albany (24-10) out of the America East Conference in the third round.

Wichita State (26-8), which lost in the Valley tournament championship to the Bluejays, got a nine seed and will play eighth-seeded Pittsburgh (24-8) Thursday in the West Regional out in Salt Lake City. The Shockers lost to VCU, 62-59, last season and haven’t won an NCAA tournament game since reaching the Sweet 16 in 2006.

The winner of Wichita State/Pittsburgh will take on top-seeded Gonzaga (31-2) or Southern (23-9) in the third round.

Creighton beat Alabama, 58-57, before losing to top-seeded North Carolina in the third round, 87-73, last season.

The Valley got at least two teams into the NCAA tournament for the 10th time since 2000.

In other notable matchups, Saint Louis (27-6) was seeded fourth in the Midwest Regional and will play No. 13 seed New Mexico State (24-10) in San Jose, Calif. The Billikens beat SIU by 10 early in the season, 61-51. Western Kentucky (20-15), which beat SIU by one in Bowling Green, Ky., was seeded 16th in the West Regional and will open the tournament against No. 1 seed Kansas (25-9) in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas State (27-7), coached by former Saluki head coaches Bruce Weber and Chris Lowery, will get the winner of the first-round game between Boise State and La Salle in the West Regional.

Illinois (22-12), seeded seventh in the East Regional, will play 10th-seeded Colorado (21-11) in Austin, Texas.

Ohio State (26-7), coached by former Saluki Thad Matta, opens against Iona (20-13) in the West Regional. San Diego State (22-10), coached by Herrin native Steve Fisher, drew Oklahoma (20-11) in the South Regional.


On Twitter: @Todd_Hefferman

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