Shockwaves

Twitter Q&A: How does the American work, what’s next for MVC?

Houston will build the $60 million Fertitta Center on campus to replace Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars will play games away from campus in 2017-18 during construction.
Houston will build the $60 million Fertitta Center on campus to replace Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars will play games away from campus in 2017-18 during construction. Courtesy photo

The first Twitter Q&A of the American Athletic Conference era. I’m not sure I can keep up. Here goes:

Fabulous. Game-changing. Seashells and balloons.

I see little chance of a downside.

Maybe Wichita State doesn’t handle the jump in competition to everyone’s satisfaction in a range of sports.

That’s possible. There’s plenty of evidence in several sports that the Shockers can hang with the AAC schools. I don’t get the sense Shockers coaches are fearful of the new challenges in any way.

In the universe of possible outcomes, Wichita State could find itself in a conference with (pause to look up the membership of Conference USA and Sun Belt) … Old Dominion, Marshall and Florida Atlantic.

While those are fine schools, that’s not what Wichita State signed up for.

I don’t think that doomsday scenario is likely.

Even if the American loses two of its prestige schools — say UConn to the ACC and Houston to the Big 12 — it’s still a great deal for the Shockers.

I would imagine if you guaranteed WSU and its fans five-plus years of association with Tulsa, SMU, Houston, Memphis and Cincinnati, they would grab it and say “We’ll take this and not worry too much about the future.”

If things go bad, WSU should be in a better place for its efforts. Maybe another conference option opens. It can always crawl back to the Missouri Valley Conference and beg for a do-over.

I don’t expect that to happen.

It won’t be a sure thing until it’s signed. As of Wednesday, it had not been signed.

Wichita State’s initial shortfall, in its preliminary figures, is around $2 million for money lost from the MVC and increased travel.

I’m working on a story on this for next week. WSU’s entrance fee and some of those details are not final. I do know that WSU won’t share in TV revenues until the new contracts start in 2020-21. Then its share will be considerably less than the 12 football schools.

Of course, even minimal TV money will be an improvement over the MVC. MVC schools hoped to not lose too much money.

It’s an expensive move and WSU is warning its fans that costs will rise.

Good question. I think it’s similar, but until I see the final arrangements for WSU’s entrance into the American, I can’t be sure.

Some conferences divide the money differently to reimburse for travel or advancement.

Summer school starts June 5. Newcomers usually roll in for that.

I’m sure Fred and Ron will use all avenues available to let us know.

Fred’s busy with the NBA playoffs and Ron just finished the season. I hope he’s on a beach or shopping for a new Hyundai Sonata.

I enjoyed Bradley’s Carver Arena and SIU Arena the most in the days when both programs had things rolling.

Good fans, good atmosphere. Carver is downtown and that’s different from most MVC schools. SIU Arena, with a good crowd, is a hard place to play.

JQH Arena is superb.

In the AAC, I’d start with UConn’s Gampel Pavilion. That seems to be the leader in big-time memories, even though it was built in 1990.

Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena is second on my list.

Houston and Cincinnati are rebuilding/renovating. If the Shockers travel to those places in 2018, they will play off-campus.

Houston is splitting games between the Toyota Center (where the Rockets play) and Texas Southern. Cincinnati will play at Northern Kentucky’s BB&T Arena, capacity 9,400.

SMU’s Moody Coliseum was renovated in 2013. I’ve heard good things.

No worries for Wichita State fans. The Shockers will face the top of the American in home and home series.

It’s basically a made-for-TV setup so the best teams face the best teams. Here’s how it went last season.

For example, Cincinnati, UConn and SMU were the top three picks in last season’s preseason poll. They played each other twice.

Tulsa, South Florida and Tulane were at the bottom. They played each other twice and missed games with UConn, SMU, Temple and Houston.

Cincinnati and Memphis played once, which is the one I found odd. There will be some downsides to not playing a round robin.

There’s no way to spin this as good for the MVC after losing WSU and Creighton.

I don’t think it’s impossible that the Valley can land at-large bids. Northern Iowa finished 2015 with an RPI ranked No. 11. Illinois State finished this season No. 39. RPI help from the Shockers is no longer available.

Those programs need to be more consistent and they need more help. The right addition won’t make up for the departures, but it can be part of the solution.

Other schools must make big improvements, and that means Bradley, Missouri State and Southern Illinois. If those schools get closer to their potential, the MVC is in better shape.

The Valley can live with Drake struggling and ups downs from Evansville and Indiana State. It can’t live with Bradley, MSU and SIU regularly in the 200s of the RPI.

Those schools need to step up and everybody knows it. If they don’t the MVC slips out further away from the No. 6-No. 9 RPI rank range it occupied from 2005-2010 and again in 2012 and 2013.

I would think the MVC will move quickly. I do not have a feel for the addition.

I heard a lot about Belmont in 2013 and that schools seems like a bad fit in the public-heavy Ohio Valley Conference.

Valpo is probably the best name-recognition get. It fits geographically and has a good basketball tradition.

I’m a big fan of the 10-team round robin. But if the MVC believes it needs to grab more than one team to beat other conferences to the punch, I can see where that makes more sense now.

I was not a fan of diluting the MVC’s brand or dividing up its revenue and access to the auto bid. Grabbing stable programs with potential in the Midwest may be more important now.

It is in Orlando in 2018. Hartford hosted it in 2017.

Tulsa wants in the mix. That would be a great deal for Wichita State. The American is looking for revenue and it’s easy for me to envision a well-attended tournament at the BOK Center.

It is 178 miles from the BOK Center to Koch Arena, 252 miles to SMU, 403 miles to Beale Street and 491 miles to Houston.

So that’s a reasonable drive from five of the AAC schools. It’s in Tulsa, but not at Tulsa’s on-campus arena. Schools may feel like Hurricane fans will provide a good base of support without dominating the crowd.

I’m sure Intrust Bank Arena and WSU will give it a shot. My guess would be that will be a tougher sell, especially for the new guy.

Money talks and at some point that will help the Shockers.

With no scholarships open for next season, the coaches are largely looking at 2018 and 2019 players.

Things change, so you can be sure WSU is keeping an eye on transfers, just in case. Recruiting never stops.

I’m covering the MVC until July 1. And whenever I get the urge to call Barry Hinson after that.

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

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