Belmont’s move to the Missouri Valley is a risk, a Nashville downer – but still a no-brainer – The Athletic

There are two arguments against Belmont doing what he did last week, accepting an invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference, although neither are particularly strong.

First, it means the natural and close rivalries will fade – Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, and UT Martin remain in the Ohio Valley Conference – but remember Belmont has kept things going with Lipscomb since he left the Atlantic Sun, and hopefully that will be the case with TSU. Ideally, that’s the case with TSU and Austin Peay – who announced his departure from the OVC to the Atlantic Sun while Belmont was in talks with the MVC about the move.

Second, the MVC is going to be too difficult for the Belmont program that made this possible, men’s basketball, and that will ultimately result in less access to the NCAA tournament. If that turns out to be true a decade from now, it won’t be on the shocking results list of varsity athletics. It’s also reminiscent of the 2012 gossip that Belmont was betting too much on himself leaving the Atlantic sun for the OVC. And we know how it happened.

The MVC has a lot of great men’s basketball programs and will be much more of a nightly challenge. But Belmont is not a touching addition. Belmont will instantly be one of the MVC’s flagship programs when he begins playing in the 2022-2023 season. If Belmont’s future teams live up to what Rick Byrd has built and Casey Alexander is trying to grow, access to the NCAA shouldn’t suffer.

“I think if you want to look at it with optimism, thinking that our program will continue to be relevant and play for the championships, in a league that receives multiple offers most often (NCAA), this is an obvious decision. and obvious, ”said Alexander, the former star point guard and assistant to Byrd who is 52-11 in two seasons since taking over.


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Joseph D. Whitman

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