NEW WORLD OF TV ORDER
Once the fallout is over from the Big East adding teams, where does the Missouri Valley Conference go? Unknown.
What if one of the new all-sports networks comes to the MVC and recommends adding schools in markets such as Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee in order to build the most household-pleasing conference possible? Nobody is saying that, but nobody has lived through this much competition for sports programming.
The demand for college basketball appears to be growing, even as ratings fall. MVC commissioner Doug Elgin hopes the MVC can benefit as Fox, NBC and CBS try to compete with ESPN with their all-sports networks. Fox Sports 1 is the driving force behind the Big Easts new look.
All those networks need games. While the MVCs contract with ESPN runs two more seasons, the parties will talk at the Final Four, as they do each season.
Theres a possibility we might be able to leverage more opportunities for our teams, Elgin said. Were going to have those conversations.
In the future, the new networks might want to compete with ESPN for Valley games. NBC Sports signed a five-year deal with the Colonial Athletic Association a year ago.
There is a new era of, maybe not every game televised, but youre going to have access to so many games, Elgin said. Thats a positive and a negative. Theres such an enormous glut of stuff out there. The ratings arent high for any basketball game.
• The Valley mens basketball schedule is less congested next season, thanks to the elimination of BracketBusters. That frees up a February weekend for conference play.
Games will begin on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 and run two games a week for nine weeks. Valley play began on Dec. 29 the past two seasons and the schedule included a three-game week.
There will considerably less schedule compaction, Elgin said.
• Elgin isnt giving up on keeping BracketBusters alive in some form. Should it return in a more exclusive format, it wont surprise Elgin.
The brand is pretty strong, he said. If there is a way for ESPN to continue to involve teams of relevance all the teams in the concept would be relevant. The problem with the older concept is it included every team.
THIS WEEK IN SHOCKER HISTORY
Travis Wyckoff doubled four times, setting a team record, in Wichita States 19-5 win over Friends on March 16, 1996. Entering the game, he had three doubles in 86 at-bats. Then he doubled in his first four at-bats. After falling behind 0-2 in his final at-bat, he doubled off the wall in left-center for No. 4.