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Major beef

Once and for all, can we stop referring to the Missouri Valley Conference as a mid-major? On Sunday afternoon, I watched Creighton and Southern Illinois play the MVC tourney championship game before 22,000 plus fans on CBS. It's earned the right to be considered among the elite leagues in college basketball, even if the teams don't play major college football.

Watching the Valley, I feel a pang of regret for UB, which entered the Mid-American Conference when the Valley and the MAC were roughly on the same level. But there's no comparison anymore. The MAC is barely a mid-major anymore (however it's defined). The league doesn't put multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament and its conference tourney is a minor event.

The Valley is going to put a team in the Final Four fairly soon. It might even be this year. Creighton is legit. They remind me a lot of another Valley team that made a run to the Sweet 16 a year ago --- Bradley. That Bradley team had solid veteran guards and a pro-caliber big man in Patrick O'Bryant. Creighton has similar talent and one of the most underrated coaches in the country in Dana Altman.

---Jerry Sullivan

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