May 16, 2011, 12:15 PM EST
The Ohio Valley just got tougher.
Murray State and Austin Peay are the conference’s longtime powers. And Morehead State established itself as a NCAA tournament danger when it upset Louisville last March.
And now Belmont’s joining the fun? Good luck trying to win consecutive titles in that league.
The Bruins have been to the big Dance four of the last five years and won at least 20 games in five of the last six. Last season was the best yet as they went 30-5 overall and breezed to the Atlantic Sun crown.
Expect one last A-Sun title – coach Rick Byrd has nearly every key player back – before they make the move to the OVC. The move will be official with the 2012-13 academic year.
So why leave? Money. Travel costs were killing the Nashville, Tenn., school. Now they’ll be able to bus to nearly every conference game. From the AP:
Dr. Robert C. Fisher, Belmont’s president, said the university will pay a $200,000 fee to leave the A-Sun, “but you don’t have to get on a plane to go anywhere … and the students won’t have to miss as many classes.”
The school won’t play OVC football, but basketball’s enough. The new league is excited, and so is Byrd. (Hey, hoops fans should be too.)
“They have a long history of great teams,” he said. “This is a great move.”
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
- No. 1 Michigan State’s loss to North Carolina: Injuries, or sign of a bigger issue? 0
- North Carolina shows up ready to compete, knocks off No. 1 Michigan State 0
- Duke doesn’t need Rasheed Sulaimon if they have three guys that fit into a role 1
- The Chase for 180: Doug McDermott’s tough night 0
- Michigan’s offensive struggles in 79-69 loss to Duke a major concern 1
- Marshall Henderson’s on-court antics aren’t changing. Deal with it (5)
- No. 5 Oklahoma State’s win over Purdue exemplifies issues with new foul rules (3)
- Tim Floyd tees off on Andy Enfield: ‘We’re not going to take it in the shorts’ (3)
- Report: Delta bumps entire flight to get Florida to UConn (3)
- No. 20 Creighton gets 27 from Doug McDermott, stifles Jahii Carson in blowout (2)