Valpo, not UWM, is Joining Missouri Valley Conference
There have been small moves in the college basketball world when it comes to realingment. Wichita State is now in the AAC. This move they hope will elevate them and get the respect they want during NCAA Tournament time. This was an obvious big blow to Missouri Valley Conference who has seen Creighton and Wichita State, the two tent pole programs in their conference, leave for better opportunities. Rumors swirled locally if The Valley considered Milwaukee for their open spot, but in the end, they went with Valparaiso which is a wise choice.
Valparaiso brings stability to the conference. They might not be the best in the business every year out, but Valpo is one of the gold standard mid-major programs through the last 20 years. If they could elevate their facilities, this could be a special program that gets second-tier Indiana high school basketball players. This obviously hurts the Horizon League’s future, and it shows that Milwaukee is not the program that maybe the administration thinks it is.
Sure, LaVall Jordan found a way to get this Panthers team to a Horizon League final with only nine wins. The future is bright for the program as long as Jordan continues to be their coach. Obviously if UWM has one major year, Jordan is probably coaching elsewhere. Same can be said for Valpo with their coach Bryce Drew leaving last year, but the Crusaders consistently end up at the top of the Horizon table.
While we don’ t have the financial numbers for the Indiana private institution, you have to imagine they are less scary than whatever UWM has right now. We know they are sort of in a financial bind. It’s been out there for the last few years, and I have to think that scared Missouri Valley. This would have been influx of money, but Milwaukee showed time and again that they have no idea what to do once they have additional income.
If Jordan continues to build this program, UWM will be one of the premier Horizon League teams along with Oakland and the emerging Northern Kentucky. That’s a sign in the right direction for Panthers.