MVC would survive if Creighton leaves
by Bryce Miller, USA TODAY Sports
ST. LOUIS — If there’s Creighton-induced sweat forming on the brow of Missouri Valley Conference commissioner Doug Elgin, the evidence remains far from conclusive.
Chatter continued Friday that the Omaha-based program that is the current basketball jewel of the Valley would join the group called the Catholic 7.
The collection of fast-moving sneakers announced they are breaking away to create a hoops power conference that, according to a laptop-clogging number of reports, will latch onto an old name in new form — as a freshly minted Big East.
So, how’s the Arch Madness hand-wringing?
Publicly, it’s mostly a united MVC front, with the defense built around a history of surviving the losses of Cincinnati, Louisville, and Tulsa — the last change in membership, in 1996. The demise of the conference also was whispered when it dropped Division I-A football in the mid-1980s.
Elgin told the Des Moines Register at Scottrade Center: “We’re not defined by one institution.”
The Valley has been a survivor, true enough. Losing the current top dog in the premier sport, though, is akin to the SEC losing Alabama football.
Would the SEC survive? No doubt. Would it hurt, especially in the short term? No doubt.
Northern Iowa athletic director Troy Dannen said he’s hoping Creighton remains, but is prepared for the Bluejays to take flight.
“I can read enough to tell there’s a lot of smoke,” Dannen said. “When I see smoke, I anticipate fire. So I’m anticipating fire. If it turns out there’s no fire, then no harm done.
“But there’s so much smoke, you almost have to anticipate there’s some fire out there.”
The programs tagged with Catholic 7 label — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova — already are officially gone from the Big East of old. To become a 10-team league, most expected Butler and Xavier to latch on, with Creighton the most likely deal-maker.
Creighton, though, also is the most legitimate remaining question mark.
“It’s undeniable it’s a remarkable program,” said Mitch Holthus, who is handling some on-air TV coverage of the tournament and the voice of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. “You can’t ignore that they’re sixth in the … [For more on MVC would survive, maybe grow, if Creighton leaves, click here.]