Valparaiso joining Missouri Valley Conference, replacing departed Wichita State

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There was speculation that the conference could expand to 11 or 12 teams, but that would seem to make it more hard to reach the NCAA tournament, particularly if the second team to be added was a basketball program as strong as Murray State's.

This morning, the Missouri Valley Conference (of which K-State was once a member back in the day) announced that it had extended an offer of membership to Valparaiso University. The four schools the MVC presidents are reportedly considering are Murray State, Valparaiso, Milwaukee and Nebraska-Omaha.

The second time was the charm for Valparaiso. With the remaining flagship Shockers' long-anticipated departure, the Missouri Valley considered adding one, two or three teams, or perhaps standing pat at nine.

"Today I was notified that Murray State will not be receiving an invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference".

The Oakland-Valparaiso connection dates to 1998, when both competed against each other in the Mid-Continent Conference, until Valparaiso left for the Horizon League in 2007.

Whichever direction the Horizon League goes, it's likely to prioritize men's basketball over staying in its five-state, Midwest footprint.

Valparaiso's addition would give the MVC a 50-50 split of public schools (Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Indiana State, Northern Iowa, Missouri State) and private schools (Loyola, Bradley, Drake, Evansville, Valparaiso). Missouri State President Clif Smart tweeted the expansion committee will continue to meet over the next nine months to evaluate further expansion opportunities. The Crusaders will begin competition with the 2017-18 school year.

The award is the third career Valley Pitcher of the Week citation for Young and the 10 weekly MVC honor overall for a Bear this season.

Valparaiso has made a name for itself in men's basketball, although not on the scale of Wichita State. (How much better the MVC is without Wichita State remains to be seen.) It's also not that hard a league to win. Also, the MVC is dropping men's tennis after 2016-17. They've played eight times in the Horizon League regular season, with each team winning four times.