Blog Entry

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:45 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 3:03 pm

By Matt Norlander

You don't need reminders or jokes or pithy comments about how basketball doesn't mean jack in conference realignment. We all know it now, have known it too well for too long.

But the Big East's conference rejiggering today means Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF will join the Big East Conference in 2013. The latter three will be the only ones hopping over for hoops and football. Boise State and SDSU will be finding homes in basketball in some other conference, either bloating another league or kicking over a smaller pile of dominoes on the way to the latest infrastructure shakedown.

It's incredibly stupid. Again, look at this and tell me it makes sense. Of course it doesn't. And naturally I'm annoyed as hell by it. The country's best basketball league has been bastardized, and it's had an active hand in doing so. Essentially, the Big East has just swapped out Jim Boeheim for Donnie Jones. Bob Huggins for Matt Doherty. Jamie Dixon for James Dickey! No slight on the men of Conference USA, but that's a serious, serious downgrade in coach and program.

I think a divide is coming in major college basketball. We've got 345 teams in Division I. It's a competitive model that's not truly competitive -- only about 250 teams are really worthy of the D-I distinction, and half of those schools don't bring real money to the table. Eventually, the hoops programs are going to figure out how to split off and create their own country of sorts. They'll have ways of keeping TV revenues to themselves, and so a new coup gets brewed. We'll have tiers of D-I schools, a real, thick, black line of distinction.

The Big East will make the cut above said line, but it will be blurred into the group of lesser conferences that it's now on its way to joining at the small-kids table. Right now, the league still has to worry about UConn bailing to the ACC. If that happens, all's truly lost. The Big East will still have good teams and good games, but it's shaping up to be defined as the true shell of what it once was. We're now seeing what can happen to a prestigious basketball conference when it gets desperate and has no sense of anything except a smell for any money, anywhere.

Twenty years from now, I think we'll look back at today, the days the news broke, as one of the critical notches in the timeline of the downfall of the Big East. It may not have been responsible for losing its place in the pecking order in the first place (re: the ACC taking Syracuse and Pitt), but it's woefully out-thought itself by expanding across the country. It's undeniably spreading itself too thin for the sake of trying to keep up in the football race, and even that's clear to see it can't do. You can make the argument Boise State's already peaked as a program -- and it's sure as hell not a major TV market.

The Big East was never supreme in football. It was never going to be. But it could've always been near or at the top in basketball. I just don't see how that's the case going forward.


Get College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Category: NCAAB

Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:32 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

What a terribly thought out article. I suppose adding Louisville and Cincy from Conf. USA forever ruined the Big East for football too. Oh, that's right, they were just co-champs of the league and Cincy ruled when BK was there. The same will happen with SMU, Houston, and CFU in BB. By joining the Big East their recruiting will get better, they will make more money and will thus be able to improve their facilities, and that in turn will lead to even better recruiting. And let's not forget that Houston was once a BB power, CFU is a rising sports program, and SMU has been in a top conference before the scandal of yesteryear hit. Not to mention the game is now about money and Orlando, Houston, and Dallas are big markets.

I do think in the future, once the FB side has a couple of years of stability, it would be wise to maybe add Temple and Memphis for all sports to help out the BB side of things. Also, this would be 2 more big markets for FB. I am personally for doing this now so BB doesn't take a hit in the short term, but maybe the timing for this will be better in the future once Syr., Pitt, and WV leave. I would rather have these 2 schools than Navy and AF, but I think the BE is trying for a national strategy along with a competitive one. I think Navy and AF are being courted more to pressure the BCS to keep the BE automatic bid, but rumors for 2014 and beyond seem to be pointing away from the automatic bid. I say add Temple and Memphis now. I don't think it will happen because the FB side seems to be running things and Temple and Memphis are not deemed ready for prime time yet.

The BE can come out of this as strong as ever if the BB and FB can have a common vision. Temple and Memphis are BB ready, and provide big markets for FB. The FB side needs to take a longer term view and stop its obsession with the BCS which seems ready to largely go away anyway.

Just my two cents. Well, it got a bit long. There is my nickel.

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:04 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

Here's a thought, maybe some of these one dimensional/sport Colleges are hoping to develop a couple good sports programs. Think before you start vomiting an obviously uneducated opinion and perspective. . . . .  Do they really pay to write this stuff? Shame really . . . . cuz you kinda suck. 

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:32 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

I'm not saying UCF's basketball program is comparable to Pitt, SU or WVU, but nobody has mentioned that UCF (who is supposed to be a major downgrade) has beaten 2 Big East teams (including the mighty UConn), SEC (a top 25 ranked Florida) and ACC (Miami)teams between last year and this year. I don't believe UCF will be the doormat people might think. And this is only DJ's second season, which is basically a rebuilding period for UCF.

Since: Jan 30, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:32 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

Good point, .  Here's another great example: a team from Jersey (NJ Tech) playing in the "Great West" Conference (which I didn't even know existed).

Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:28 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

I am sure you meant to say the most over rated conference in college basketball , not the best , Never has been the best and mabye never will be , Lets see last year a Big East team did win , but 10 teams didn't make it past the second round in the tourney . The great quote from last year was the Big East teams beat up on each other most of the year , duh , so do all conferences .

Since: Nov 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:14 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

Agreed - the blame lies with Pitt, Syracuse (and Boston College before them) for jumping ship on the conference.  The Big EAST is simply doing what it needs to do to survive although long-term there is certainly some concern.   Notre Dame can save the whole thing although and I think it would even be worth doing a deal to give ND a home game exemption on television revenue (allowing them to keep the NBC deal) while any road games would be televised.  If Navy were to join the Big EAST on a football-only capacity it could allow enough non-conference games for ND to maintain its other traditional rivalries with Michigan, USC, and the likes of Mich St., Purdue, and Stanford.   

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:05 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

Hey Novahoops.  If you care so much for basketball, why did your school blackball Temple from joining the Big East? They would have been a logical fit for football  and a hell of a lot better for basketball than what's being added.  Also, I don't see how adding Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC puts basketball on the backburner there.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:02 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

What a blowhard...if Louisiana Tech can be in the WESTERN athletic conference, than San Diego State and Boise State can be in the WESTERN division of the Big East...get a life...

Since: Oct 31, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:53 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

Well, these founding schools of Big East should wake up and smell some coffee instead of smelling the coffin of the football schools.

Since: Oct 29, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:50 pm

Big East hoops forever changed for the worse

Wait til you see run-down Moody's Coliseum on the SMU campus. You'll swear you're watching a replay of "Hoosiers."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or