SI– Conversations with sources around college sports this week revealed Wichita upgrading its league—likely to the American Athletic Conference—as a distinct possibility in the near future. This could happen in as soon as the next few months or may take a year or two. But the odds are increasing that the Shockers will end up somewhere else, with the AAC offering the highest profile and making the most sense.
A source said the American Athletic Conference is exploring ways to improve its basketball reputation. The league has 12 members for football but just 11 basketball schools, which means adding one non-football school would be logical. (Navy is the league’s football-only member.) Commissioner Mike Aresco’s public comments that the league didn’t want multiple basketball schools fueled speculation that it may be considering a single one. “We are not under any circumstances going back to the old Big East model of multiple basketball schools,”
So there’s this in the news today. Wichita State is all but set to join the American Athletic Conference as a basketball only member. The league has 12 members currently, Navy doesn’t play basketball so there are 11 basketball members. Adding Wichita State brings the conference to 12 members for basketball. Not a bad thing.
The conference needs to add quality members. Cincinnati, SMU and UCONN are the only good basketball programs in this conference. Temple and Houston hang in the middle and the rest is rather garbage. The conference is only a 2 big conference this season, usually is 3 when UCONN doesn’t suck. But the conference needs a better basketball portfolio.
Insert Wichita State.
A school that has been playing basketball since 1906 in the great state of Kansas. Two Final Four appearances with the most recent being in 2013. As members of the Missouri Valley Conference they were over looked by the committee this year. A #10 seed in Indianapolis against #7 Dayton Friday night. Wichita State is #8 in KenPom, but still not good enough for anything above a #10 seed which is bananas.
The Shockers need to upgrade conferences and since the Big East isn’t looking to expand the AAC is the next best option. At least in the AAC there are three other high quality opponents instead of playing Drake and Evansville. People will point at Illinois State and Northern Iowa as being quality conference opponents. Sure, but you can’t bank on them being good every year. Wichita State has proven they are a staying power having made the last 6 NCAA Tournaments.
Wichita State isn’t necessarily the school a lot of people had in mind. If you’re adding a basketball only school a lot of people preferred VCU over Wichita State. In a perfect world the conference would add three teams to bring it to 14. Add Wichita State, VCU and Dayton. Three really quality schools that all have history of performing well in the tournament. That would bring the conference to 4, 5 maybe 6 bids a year. But none of them play football and football runs the world.
If Wichita State joins, that’s awesome. Cincinnati has another quality in conference opponent. If they don’t well it’s just another miss under Mike Aresco’s reign. They’ll join Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and BYU as schools that were supposed to join but just never did.
Wichita State is quality addition but for most of the conference it is still out of the way. Wichita, Kansas isn’t a bus ride away for anyone. Dayton would create a hell of a regional rivalry with Cincinnati. VCU would help out Temple and to an extent Connecticut. Add 3 Mike.
Follow us on Twitter @CincyvsEveryone