Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rebuilding the Big East

I could probably write 50,000 words on how pissed off I am about the state of the Big East but instead I'm going focus on what the Big East is doing to rebuild themselves from a basketball only standpoint. The Big East is and never will be a football conference.

After 2013 the remaining members still comprise a pretty decent basketball conference. Cincinnati, UConn, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Florida, St. John's and Villanova is still at least a 6 or 7 bid league even without adding anyone else. You really can't replace Syracuse and Pitt from a historical rivalry standpoint or West Virginia from a competitive standpoint but I really don't feel all is lost. I think 2 of the 3 schools can make some impact in pretty short order:

Houston - The Cougars have a pretty good history that doesn't really date back that far. They made the NCAA Championship game two years in a row in the 83 and 84 and they have guys like Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon with their numbers in the rafters. No high schooler dream of playing in Conference USA but if you start talking up a few recruits and selling them a new age of Phi Slama Jama with the Big East name behind it and Houston could acclimate to the Big east quicker than South Florida or DePaul has.

Central Florida - The Knights are already starting to build their basketball program. Some experts rank this year's recruiting class in the top 20 and they are a landing spot for transfers from BCS schools. For years you've been hearing that Central Florida could be a "Sleeping Giant" in athletics. I've been to the campus where I saw their facilities and it's a really nice place to spend your college years. Associate them with the Big East brand and their already increasing talent level can only get better.

SMU - This is just a market capturing move. With the two Texas schools you lock up Houston and Dallas but I can't see what they add to basketball. They'll probably be joining South Florida towards the bottom of the Big East for awhile. It sure would be a crazy, round-about way for Matt Doherty to get back to coaching in the Big East though.

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