The Wichita State Shockers recently were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, but the team could be relocating to a new conference within the next few years.
Since 1945, the Wichita State Shockers have been apart of the Missouri Valley Conference. It’s a conference that consists of other schools in the Midwest, such as Drake, Illinois State, Missouri State, and Northern Iowa.
This past tournament saw Wichita State get ripped in the seedings, as they were given a ten-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Shockers beat seven-seeded Dayton, but fell to the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats last weekend.
Perhaps if the Shockers were in another conference, they’d get more respect. That’s why a move to the American Athletic Conference (AAC, not to be confused with the ACC) could be in the cards for Wichita State University.
Paul Suellentrop of The Kansas City Star wrote that the move has become more likely, writing,
"A source directly connected to AAC members described Wichita State’s candidacy as strong and expectations among many schools are that the Shockers will be added. Another source involved in college athletics termed it “almost inevitable.”~~~Speculation about WSU’s interest in the American started in December 2015, when the university announced its plans to evaluate its conference options and the addition of sports. President John Bardo’s desire to associate Wichita State with schools he views as similar institutions — such as AAC-members Memphis, Houston and Cincinnati — drives his interest to help the school’s enrollment, academic and athletic goals."
The AAC would be a great fit for the Wichita State Shockers, as the conference has several basketball savvy schools. This season, the conference sent two schools to the NCAA Tournament in Cincinnati and SMU, and also has Connecticut in the conference, who has proven to be a beast in college basketball (especially on the women’s side).
Moving to a new conference makes perfect sense for the Shockers. Right now, they have to win their conference every year to have a shot at making it to March Madness whereas, in the AAC, they’d be able to have a good record and still punch their ticket in.
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Further proof to the Missouri Valley Conference not being respected in the polls is that Illinois State only lost six games this past year and didn’t make the NCAA Tournament due to not winning the conference or the conference tournament.
"All say leaving the MVC for the American is the desired goal of the university, for academic, enrollment and athletic reasons. Some athletic department personnel have gone as far as to calculate travel expenses in a conference that stretches to Connecticut and Florida."
It is worth noting that Wichita State does not have a football team, but the AAC is definitely more of a basketball conference. This relocation would be perfect for both sides and hopefully Wichita State can make this happen.
The MVC has been hurting ever since they let Creighton walk away from the conference in 2013. Perhaps they’ll make a strong plea to keep the Shockers in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The two AAC schools in the NCAA Tournament were both six seeds, for what it’s worth. It’d be tough imagining the Shockers not making it to the Sweet Sixteen had they been seeded that high this year.
What do you think of this potential change of conferences for Wichita State?