Posted by & filed under Missouri Valley.

mvclogoNow that it’s official — Creighton will no longer be a Missouri Valley Conference member as of July 1 — possible replacements for the long-tenured basketball power have started emerging.

The Kansas City star reported Sunday that Missouri-Kansas City will receive a visit from interest MVC officials along with a number of Horizon League schools: Valparaiso, Loyola (Chicago) and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

An early March report from USA Today indicated that Belmont, Oral Roberts and Denver are also in play to restore the MVC’s membership to 10 institutions.

Any moves made effective for the 2013-2014 season need to likely be made before July, though commissioner Doug Elgin has said the MVC can play its next basketball season with nine competing members.

As of March 20, when Creighton announced its departure for the new Big East Conference, Elgin described talks with any future MVC members as “preliminary.”

“We will act very expeditiously moving forward,” Elgin said. “We are not in a rush. There’s no panic involved. We don’t think we absolutely have to expand our membership, but if we find a willing and an institution that meets the threshold of acceptability in terms of what they bring to our league, that will strengthen our league competitive and otherwise, we would act.”

The commissioner added: “I think the really important criteria and characteristics are strong basketball tradition, geography within the footprint and certainly in major markets or near major markets. Those will continue to be the driving forces in our review of potential expansion of our membership.”

UMKC doesn’t have much basketball tradition — no NCAA tournaments since moving to Division I — but the Kangaroos recently hired former UE player and assistant coach Kareem Richardson to take over next season.

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