The MVC had a solid season last year (8th ranked conference in the RPI) and Loyola became the second MVC team to reach the final four in the last five years. The MVC has won its' first round game for 10 consecutive years. This league has remained amazingly resilient, despite having more difficult defections than any league in the country. The MVC has done what it had to do in rebuilding itself with its current membership and looks poised to having a big year this upcoming season. Despite the barriers that exist within the NCAA committee, I feel a measure of confidence the MVC can get multiple teams to the tournament.
With that said, I still look ahead to see what else the league office can do to make the league stronger. MVC commissioner, Doug Elgin, has been kind enough to answer my emails and has been consistent in his replies that possible expansion is going to be a very deliberate process. Adding a team is what I look forward to. The MVC should be careful and deliberate in this process - you don't want to divide up the NCAA dollars with programs that cannot make an impact. Some might believe with the league trending up perhaps they should just remain the same and I can understand that. But I can't help but wonder if Loyola had lost it's opening game would the league had felt a little more urgency to add another team? According to Elgin the league presidents, should they decide to expand, want two teams to be admitted. I am still advocating to add Murray State . I, personally, have no need to add another unless Belmont or Northern Kentucky decided they would like to join. We all know there has been considerable interest in the Racers before and I think it still remains, But I also know the state of Kentucky is making big education cuts which have affected MSU, so I am not sure how that may figure into this process. Murray State is just a terrific program with a solid fan base who travel well. Can't help but think how they would make the MVC even stronger. I know this has been discussed many times before on this forum, but I just want the MVC to improve it's stature among other conferences and the NCAA selection committee.
Discuss the MVC through purple-tinted glasses
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MSU would add strength to the MVC, but look at it from the Racers' perspective. They have been to either the NIT or NCAA 5 of the past 9 years, and 14 of the last 25. Could they fare that well in the MVC? probably not. As stated previously, NKU and Belmont may be better fits. Belmont is similar to UE, Valpo, Drake academically, and NKU doesn't have the history of success or even participation at D1 level that Murray has. Travel expense for conference games is also a consideration. Anything is possible, but MSU seems to be in a sweet spot in the OVC as long as the NCAA continues to award a dance card to conference tourney champs and an NIT bid to conf. Champs who don't win their tourney.