The Wichita State Shockers apparently really want to get out of the Missouri Valley and upgrade their basketball situation.
Before we get to the ineptness of the Mountain West the Shockers do not really need to get to a bigger conference as they have had an undefeated regular season, went to the Final Four in 2013 and has a few players in the NBA.
Money is likely one reason to move up to a bigger league, and that league just might be the American Athletic Conference. The AAC has 11 teams, as does the Mountain West, and 12 teams makes scheduling easier, and there is another report of Wichita State chatting it up with the AAC.
CBS Sports is reporting that the American is at a “serious evaluation point” with talks reaching the athletics director level, but not to the presidents who would need to sign off to add any team.
Another report coming from TMG College Sports reported on Thursday that the league was looking at Wichita State, plus VCU and Dayton to “upgrade” its basketball.
The AAC is not commenting on adding any teams but there is concern because UConn is looking to move back to the Big East in basketball and is looking for a home for their football program with the MAC being mentioned as a possibility, or even going the independent path.
This does come around to the Mountain West because back in May there were talks about Wichita State joining the Mountain West and here is what we said on the topic back in our May podcast.
Football is a requirement to be part of the Mountain West but the same CBS Sports report says that the football feasibility study has cooled. That can be interpreted as it being too expensive to bring back the sport to Wichita State and thus likely making the Mountain West not an option.
Everyone understands that football is king and makes the most money but Craig Thompson and the Mountain West have been mostly reactionary when it comes to expansion. The league failed to invite Boise State early on at the same time as TCU.
Making that move still likely would have meant Utah and TCU leaving for more money in a power league but there could have been a real chance that the Mountain West earned BCS status and kept BYU while also earning more money.
The one time the league was proactive was to stick it to BYU when it was discovered that the Cougars had a deal to join the WAC and used the worst code name ever in “The Project.” Craig Thompson then poached Fresno State and Nevada to kill BYU’s deal and then shortly after invited Utah State, Hawaii and San Jose State.
Thompson needs to get the thought that football is the only thing that matters. While a bump in pay is very minimal, if at all, but adding Wichita State would help the Mountain West get back to where it has been historically in college basketball.
This league has nearly always sent multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament and seeing three or four was somewhat common, but with the league embarking on another year of just one team something needs to be done.
The Shockers have a big time coach, great success and a passionate fanbase. Adding them to the league will help improve strength of schedule for the whole conference, plus having 12 teams is a nice number for scheduling in the regular season and the conference tournament.
Thompson needs to get on the phone with Wichita State and see what deal he can make with the Shockers because getting this type of program to join the Mountain West could be the kick starter the league needs to move back into the national spotlight.