UE News and Notes for Dec. 14, 2012

—As seven basketball-only Big East Conference members plan to form their own league, Creighton officials have said little about whether they’d consider leaving the Missouri Valley Conference and join those institutions. The Bluejays are believed to be in competition with Dayton, Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Louis for a spot in the new league, which could end up at either 10 or 12 teams. The MVC will host a regularly scheduled men’s basketball teleconference on Monday in which this issue will surely come up.

—An Omaha World-Herald sports columnist says Creighton should make the leap if asked, and a Fox Sports Kansas City writer also reported that a public institution out of the MVC “is willing to listen” to an offer to join the Big East breakaway members. Wichita State fits the bill, which would put the Shockers in competition with Virginia Commonwealth for a spot in the new conference. Noted New York Times numbers guru Nate Silver broke down the potential members for the expansion league by their Sagarin Ratings (Wichita notwithstanding).

Hamilton County High School will recognize UE great Jerry Sloan on Saturday by naming its gym after the former NBA player and coach. Ceremonies to dedicated “Jerry Sloan Gymnasium” will take place before Hamilton County’s 7:30 p.m. game. Sloan played for the school when it was known as McLeansboro Township High. Look for more in Sunday’s Courier & Press.

—No. 23 Wichita State fell short of a program-best start on Thursday, dropping its first game of the season 69-60 at Tennessee. At 9-1, the Shockers are tied for the best record in the Missouri Valley Conference with 16th-ranked Creighton.

—UE’s opponent Saturday, Alabama State, notched its first win Thursday night against Troy and will enter its game against the Aces 1-7. As of Friday the Hornets were 319th out of 347 Division I programs at RealTimeRPI.com.

—UE’s next foe after Alabama State, Division II Oakland City University, will play twice more before facing the Aces. The Mighty Oaks (5-2) host Valor Christian College on Saturday and Kent State University-Tuscarawas on Monday before Tuesday’s game at the Ford Center.

—At both the Alabama State and Oakland City games, fans can get $5 tickets at the door by presenting a canned or non-perishable food item. Donations go to the Evansville Rescue Mission.

—The UE women’s coaches, in the midst of more than a week off between last Sunday’s game against Saint Louis and the Toledo Tournament Dec. 20-21, have indicated through Twitter that they’re taking extra time to recruit. Though coaches can’t name recruits before they sign, UE mascot Ace Purple even made an appearance at Wednesday’s Mater Dei-Bosse girls’ basketball game. The Aces are recruiting both Mater Dei junior Maura Muensterman and sophomore Tori Schickel.

—UE’s swimming and diving teams host Eastern Illinois in a dual meet at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Carson Center. The Aces men and women are coming off wins in 11 final events at the House of Champions Invitational, where the women finished second and men third.

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