Creighton defeated Drake in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley tournament Friday, but that's not what is catching people's attention inside and outside of that league.
A report from Dan Wolken of USA Today states that, should Creighton leave the Valley to join the rejiggered Big East, then either Belmont (new to the Ohio Valley) or Denver (new to the WAC for only this season, then leaving for the Summit League this July) would be the leading candidates to replace the Bluejays.
Outside The Ivy League, which is as ironclad is leagues get, no conference has gone longer without changeover than the Missouri Valley. The MVC has had the same 10 programs for nearly 20 years. The league prides itself on its consistency, homegrown fanbases and a purebred identity. Creighton is a massive part of that, annually one of the highest attendance draws in all of college basketball. (Thus why it's being courted by the new Big East.)
According to a person with direct knowledge of the league's thinking, Denver and Belmont would have significant support as candidates to replace Creighton, with Loyola (Ill.) also getting consideration and Oral Roberts looming as a longshot with less support.
The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the league has not authorized anyone to speak publicly about the matter, and Creighton hasn't officially given notice of a departure.
If Creighton does in fact leave, that news will be part of a wave of official realignments that will be coming over the course of the next two months -- perhaps even sooner. The timeline on this departure is unknown, though; if the Bluejays do turn heel on the league they've helped build and been a member of for more than 50 years, it might not happen until the summer of 2014.
Belmont has made five NCAA tournaments, all of them coming in the past seven years. Denver, which has been D-I for more than 30 years, has never reached the NCAAs.
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.