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Why the Big East’s breakup isn’t all bad

Dec 13, 2012, 6:56 PM EDT


I grew up on the Big East.

Born and raised in Connecticut, my teenage years consisted of living and breathing with every games the UConn Huskies played. My first “real” sports memory is watching the 1996 Big East final with my father, bargaining with him to be able to watch the final three minutes despite the fact that Allen Iverson and the Hoyas were up 11. I won, and UConn came back to win. It’s one of my most cherished memories, and not just because of the male bonding moment I shared with my Pops.

Big East basketball is my first true love, and that’s why it hurts to see it come to this: the Catholic 7 — the seven basketball-only schools — leaving the carcass of the league that they built, all because they couldn’t contribute to the TV dollars generated by the network they helped build.

The Big East, as I grew up on it, is officially dead and gone. That sucks, and I say that as not only a journalist, but as one of the biggest fans of the sport as well. I know the Big East has been on life support for months, but it’s akin to losing a loved one with terminal cancer: just because you’ve made your peace and said your goodbyes doesn’t mean it feels good when they’re gone.

But the isn’t all bad news, and I’d go as far as to say that this could end up being a good thing for college basketball.

Let’s says that the seven schools that left join forces with five other programs that aren’t at a University with FBS football. Spitballing here, but: Xavier, Butler, VCU, Creighton and St. Louis. Couple them with Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, St. John’s, Providence, DePaul and Seton Hall, and you have yourself a pretty good basketball league. This year alone, that could produce five or six NCAA tournament teams, and that’s with Xavier and Villanova is down years.

Now let’s fast-forward 10 years into the future. You don’t think that this can consistently be a league that has eight or nine teams capable of making the tournament? You don’t think that a decade of conference battles will spawn some heated rivalries? Xavier and Butler already have a pretty glorious feud budding. What happens the first time a tough Marquette team gets in a tussle with an aggressive VCU program? Or Creighton plays three straight great games against Georgetown?

The Big East became great over time.

The same can happen when a new hoops league.

It will at least be better than seeing Georgetown try to build a rivalry with Central Florida, SMU and Tulane.

  1. mrlaloosh - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Dream on fanboy. This is a terrible move.

  2. ksctychiefs - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    the money grubbing ncaa would approve a new catholic league overnight…….why?….tv,ratings and of course the money……this Catholic 7 group has been a large nucleus of the march madnness tourney for a long time so their conference champion would have an immediate automatic seeding due to tv money alone….but to leave i think the 7 are going to have to vote to dissolve the big east as their ( the 7’s) best exit strategy (to save exit fees),and the leagues assets would be divided…..

    • ksctychiefs - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:15 PM

      plus i think the 7 have already formed an alliance with xavier,creighton,possibly even gonzaga,st marys…..either way,a catholic 10 or 12 woud be a premier basketball conference….i’m sure the ncaa home office is already drooling!!….

  3. bradygazelle - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Major mistake. They should have waited around until the ACC implodes and they would be in a conference with Duke, Wake, Louisville, Syracuse, etc.

  4. sdelmonte - Dec 14, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    This is all good. The basketball schools finally get away from the thoroughly corrupt monsters of college football and get back to what I care about. If only they could take the name “Big East” with them. Because when you say “Big East,” no one thinks football.

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