Still sifting through two-plus hours of Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball media tape from this week, I filed a notebook of league updates for Wednesday’s paper.
—Commissioner Doug Elgin doesn’t see conference realignment as “a front-burner issue” in an MVC basketball league that hasn’t changed its membership since UE joined in 1994.
—BracketBusters isn’t as healthy a concept as it once was, especially now that Virginia Commonwealth and Butler are playing in non-participating leagues. Changes will be considered.
—The MVC-Mountain West Challenge is in its last year but could be renewed after a season-long hiatus, starting again in 2014.
Some other items that didn’t make my print story:
—Creighton coach Greg McDermott, on the heels of the MVC’s new TV contract announcement made earlier this month, said nearly all of the Bluejays’ regular-season games will be televised in some fashion.
McDermott’s son, Doug, was this week named the MVC’s first preseason Associated Press All-American, joining players from two other mid-major teams on the listing.
The coach said a rise in TV exposure and his son’s honor aren’t a coincidence.
“I think part of it is technology and the ability to see games,” Greg McDermott said. “Fifteen years ago, a mid-major school might only be on television three or four times and games weren’t being live streamed on the Internet. Now the national media can watch every Murray State game, every Creighton game, every Butler game.”
UE won’t have quote as many televised games this season, but Greg McDermott’s point still sticks. Most every home game will at the very least be broadcast on the school’s AcesTV, which streams online the Ford Center’s video board feed with radio play-by-play for fans.
“If they want to find it, they can probably find it and be able to watch these exceptional players play at their leisure,” Greg McDermott said. “They don’t even have to watch live.”
—Just how the MVC will conduct media day in the future was a hot-button topic discussed among coaches, Elgin and the league’s beat writers in a discussion that followed the teleconference. Monday’s media day marked the first held over the phone rather than in person, and it drew mixed reviews.
The biggest proponent of moving back to an in-person media day was Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson, who’s in the league for the first time this season since Missouri State fired him in 2008.
“First of all, it’s great to be back for Missouri Valley media day,” Hinson said, starting his opening statement. “I hope we can make this even more impersonal next year and maybe just tweet it. That way you guys don’t have to call us or have any type of confrontation or communication with us.
“Needless to say, I’m not real happy right now about us having our media day here by telephone. We’ve got Creighton, which is ranked in the top 20. You’ve got one of the best players of the year in (Doug) McDermott. There’s a chance for him to be player of the year, and nobody’s going to know about it basically except our local institutions because we’re too lazy to come to St. Louis for Missouri Valley media day.”
Later, Elgin added his opinion on the matter, saying he wouldn’t be surprised to see the media meet in person next year.
“I believe we’re going to go back to the drawing board and figure out the best way to present the event, where it’s going to be, the timing of the event, the day of the week, how many student-athletes are going to be involved – if any – in a direct, in-person media day session and what technologies and out-of-region media we can involve in the event,” Elgin said.
Personally, I expected the teleconference version of media day to be a success, allowing national media to call in easily and add exposure to the league’s top players and teams. That didn’t happen. Reporters from The Basketball Times and AP inquired, but there was no ESPN, CBS or Fox Sports presence, the three largest national outlets covering college basketball.
Whether in person or over the phone, reporters will come out of the media day with roughly the same information, though the teleconference takes color out of stories. That doesn’t hurt the media, but rather fans.