March 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Creighton Bluejays center Gregory Echenique (0) and center Will Artino (31) celebrate after defeating the Illinois State Redbirds 83-79 in overtime of the finals in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
This article from Yahoo bemoans the matchups in the 2012 MWC/MVC Challenge. It is also includes an interesting tidbit about the future of the the challenge. Turns out this will be the fourth and final year for the challenge between the Mountain West and the Missouri Valley Conference.
Missouri Valley associate commissioner Mike Kern said the challenge with the Mountain West will not continue once the original four-year contract expires after next season. Instead the Valley is exploring other potential scheduling arrangements with other leagues or select teams in other leagues.
I was always a big fan of the challenge and it gave Mountain West fans an opportunity to see some good teams from one of the top mid majors. The deal required that each team plays two home games and two road games with no repeat matchups. After three years it made scheduling difficult with certain teams not being able to play each other. The Mountain West also has less members then the Missouri Valley which meant that some MVC teams were left out each year.
Wyoming is 2-1 against the MVC over the last three years. Two home victories over Indiana State and Bradley the last two years. They started off with a loss on the road against Northern Iowa. This year the Cowboys will play at Illinois State.
As for a future partnership I would expect the Mountain West to only have eyes for a deal with Conference USA. The two leagues are still trying their best to work together and boost income for both leagues. Whether or not a football alliance ever comes to fruition, this will still be a way for the leagues to work together. A conference challenge would certainly be one way to boost revenue and helping increase TV exposure. There could be some stellar matchups with some of the better hoops schools from CUSA like UTEP, Southern Miss, UAB, and Old Dominion.
The one issue would be that the Mountain West only has nine basketball members in 2013 while CUSA will have 14. That could certainly cause some scheduling headaches.