Just like that, Valparaiso has a new reality.
The Crusaders are headed for the Missouri Valley Conference, which means that they’ll have to get familiar with new teams. And more importantly, their fans have to generate a healthy distaste for new teams. See you later, Oakland.
So let’s get a perspective on that new reality. Here’s how Valpo men’s basketball — which dates back to 1917 — has done historically against its new conference, courtesy of the program’s media guide.
Crusaders vs. the MVC
If familiarity leads to rivalries, than longer in the tooth Valpo fans have something to fall back on.
Valpo played Evansville and Indiana State plenty of times in the Indiana Collegiate Conference a half century ago. All three schools joined the league in 1950, with the Sycamores leaving in 1968, and the Crusaders and Purple Aces each staying until the late 1970s.
After several years as an independent, Valpo then got some face time with Northern Iowa and Missouri State (than Southwest Missouri State) in the Association of Mid-Continent Universities, the forerunner to the Summit League.
And then most recently, the Crusaders and Loyola (Chicago) spent six seasons playing each other in the Horizon League, before the Ramblers jumped to the MVC before the 2013-14 season. The two teams never met in the league tournament over that span.
The unsightly 78-194 record against the current MVC programs belies why the Crusaders were among the best options for the league.
With the exception of Loyola (Chicago), Valpo hasn’t seen much action against any of those programs over the past few decades. Virtually all of it came between 1950 and 1988, over which the program won 20 or more games just one time. Homer Drew was hired in 1988, and other than his first few seasons, the Crusaders have not slipped from relevance since.
The move also frees up a non-conference slot for both Valpo and Indiana State, who were halfway through a four-year series.
Valparaiso and Indiana State are in middle of four-year non-conference agreement. Opens up non-conference game for both schools. https://t.co/Tny1PuEXCb— Paul Oren (@NWIOren) May 9, 2017
Last season, the Crusaders blew out the Sycamores at home a week after edging out Missouri State in Springfield. Who knew at the time that the two-game stretch would be a preview of what was to come.