Report: Missouri Valley replacing Creighton with Loyola (IL)

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Loyola was targeted in part because of its location in Chicago. (USATSI)

Here's something of a surprise, at least in terms of realignment.

If all the hoopla of March Madness made you miss it, Creighton will be leaving the Missouri Valley for the new Big East next season. Big blow for that league, which had kept together its 10-team membership longer than any conference in the country aside from the never-gonna-fracture Ivy League.

So with Creighton out, the Missouri Valley had to bring a new program in. It was going to be hard to find an equal to Creighton (after all, there's a reason that program was courted by the Big East to begin with). First, there was talk of Denver or Belmont. Then there were rumors a few weeks back that UMKC -- of all schools -- might get a ticket in.

Instead, in steps Loyola of Chicago, according to a report from over the weekend by the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The move from the Horizon League was confirmed Saturday by school sources, who said details of the formal agreement are expected to be completed this week, paving the way for formal admission July 1," according to the report.

The Ramblers won out over UMKC, Illinois-Chicago and Valparaiso, according to the report. The location in a metropolis like Chi-town was a big factor, and the fact the school has a national title to its name (1963) also helps. It's not an even swap for Creighton, but it does have potential.

Loyola has been a member of the Horizon League since its inception in 1979. The defection means Detroit Mercy would be the only founding member left in that conference.

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