For the second straight year, the Missouri Valley Conference is a disgruntled one-bid NCAA tournament league, with only a No. 12 seed as its standard bearer.
Commissioner Doug Elgin expects the conference to be stronger in 2010, given there were only 15 senior starters among the 10 teams this past season. But he's not certain whether it'll make a difference with an NCAA selection committee that has focused on BCS conferences in recent years.
Before last year, the Valley sent multiple schools to the NCAA tournament for nine consecutive years and peaked at four entries in 2006. Southern Illinois had six straight bids from 2002-07.
Now, apparently, the Valley is just another mid-major after getting a single bid in back-to-back years for the first time since 1997-98.
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