Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.
Extra Points readers have known for a while that the UIC Flames were expected to join the Missouri Valley Conference, along with Belmont and Murray State. But things weren't official until yesterday afternoon, when UIC leadership, MVC leadership, and a throng of Flame athletes and well-wishers celebrated the occasion with a press conference and reception.
Extra Points HQ is only a few miles north of UIC, so I braved the freezing temperatures to head down and pick up a few more tidbits from the announcement. Here's what I learned, besides just how jarring it is to see so much Chicago iconography juxtaposed to Arch stuff:
Why did the MVC add UIC?
The MVC is one of the oldest and most prestigious mid-major conferences, and they've made it clear, they expect to compete at a high level, especially in men's and women's basketball. Belmont and Murray State, two of the other new additions, can claim a combined eight NCAA Tournament appearances since 2010, and both are near annual threats to win at least twenty games. They should bolster the league's NET rating for sure.