Posted on: November 1, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 4:13 pm

Big East hoops: Where UCF at SMU happens

By Gary Parrish

The Big East presidents have decided to rebuild their league by inviting Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football-only members, and SMU, UCF and Houston as all-sports members. So Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia will be replaced by Mustangs, Knights and Cougars -- three basketball programs that finished seventh, ninth and 11th in Conference USA last season.

Rick Pitino must be pissed.

Yes, I know basketball doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. But there was some thought that the sport I cover might matter some to the Big East because it's a brand most closely associated with hoops. Turns out, that thought was wrong. The league could've gone with UCF, Temple and Memphis for all sports and at least added two quality basketball programs to go with Connecticut, Louisville, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and Notre Dame. Instead, the Big East went with three schools that bring nothing to the basketball table, meaning the league will now be worse in football and way worse in basketball than it was a year ago.

I guess the Big East could still add Temple and Memphis at some point.

That's possible, I'm told.

But for now, yeah, Rick Pitino must be pissed.
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 12:53 pm

Example No. 396 of why basketball doesn't matter

By Gary Parrish

It's not like we needed a reminder that basketball is largely irrelevant in the world of conference realignment, but we got one Sunday when ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported that the Big East is considering offering SMU an invitation to join its BCS-affiliated league. That's the same SMU that is barely above .500 (1,169-1,115) in its basketball program's 94-year history. The same SMU that is 21-57 the past five seasons in Conference USA. And the same SMU that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 1993, i.e., back when Guns N' Roses still featured Axl and Slash, and before Prince had ever even considered calling himself anything other than, you know, Prince.

The Big East wants that SMU?

Answer: Maybe -- because that SMU would help in the Dallas television market, and because that SMU is suddenly relevant again in football (thanks to June Jones and the school's commitment to June Jones). Those two things -- notable television markets and respectable football programs -- are the two most important things in conference realignment. Great basketball won't really help anybody's cause. Traditionally terrible basketball doesn't seem to hurt.

Consequently, Matt Doherty just might end up back in the Big East.

He started there (at Notre Dame) and could finish there (at SMU), too.

It's the circle of life, I guess.

It's also kind of crazy.
Category: NCAAB
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