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One on One: Which team should join the MVC?

SIU Edwardsville 

By Nick Zoll

The Cougars of SIU Edwardsville would be a perfect addition to the Missouri Valley Conference for a number of reasons. Geographically, SIUE fits the bill, as 40 percent of the MVC’s current members hail from Illinois.

In addition, SIUE will become familiar with the MVC competition this upcoming college basketball season. The Cougars are set to take on Bradley on Dec. 4 and future MVC member Belmont on Dec. 30 and Feb. 19 and it’s worth noting that the Belmont Bears have set a precedent for an Ohio Valley Conference team moving to the MVC, replacing Loyola effective for the 2022-23 season.

On the other hand, the Cougars were not affiliated with a Division I conference until they joined the OVC in 2008. SIUE was only a Division II school, with the exception of being an associate member of the MVC for men’s soccer, from 2007 to 2017. This season, SIUE rejoined the conference for soccer. 

All things considered, if another team were to move into the MVC, Southern Illinois Edwardsville would be a logical addition to the conference.

Murray State

By Skye Gillespie

With Loyola Chicago leaving the Missouri Valley Conference, it is important not to replace them with a mediocre team. Murray State is the smartest option to join the MVC.

Murray State wanted to join the Valley in 2017 but was denied. Since then, the team has been dominant. Why would the conference pursue schools like SIUE, Kansas City or Illinois-Chicago, when the mid-major monster Murray State is sitting right there?

What about Murray State’s football team, though, Skye? Do what schools like Illinois State and Indiana State do, and join the Missouri Valley Football Conference. However, Murray State is a basketball school, and the Valley needs more of those. Two words: Ja Morant. That is all I have to say. 

I understand the argument for teams like UIC, but it is not worth it to me. The Chicago market is hard to turn down, but the brand of Murray State is even harder to turn down. Seventeen NCAA Tournaments have featured the Racers, and that number will continue to rise — especially if they join a conference with the prestige of the MVC.

Make the Valley great again; I do not personally think the acquisition of a school like SIUE will accomplish that. The MVC should be racing to add the Racers.

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