There are so many reports about the demise of the Big East. Not only is that is false, but the Big East won’t lose a step!
I want to reiterate losing Syracuse is a major blow to the Big East. I had the privilege of working there for Jim Boeheim his first two years as head coach. Please don’t tell me they fit better with the research universities of the ACC. Syracuse is a charter member of the Big East plain and simple. I can’t wait for my next recruiting trip to New York to find out the Yankees are moving to Chapel Hill.
Pitt is a different story, their style of basketball is all Big East but their administration views could be elsewhere. We will have them both for the next two years.
For years, outside of St. John’s , northeast basketball was the pro game. New England had Holy Cross, Providence, and UMass. The ACC was the premier conference in college basketball and that is where hoop passion was at a fervor pitch. UCLA was dominating under the great John Wooden. Kentucky and Indiana was the hotbed for their states with high school and college basketball.
ESPN and the vision of Dave Gavitt. ESPN brought college basketball to television and the fans. It sky rocketed in ratings and exposure. It made New England schools with regional reputations nationally famous.
UConn, not long ago a Yankee conference school, has now won 10 national championships in women’s (7) and men’s college basketball (3). Both coaches have entered the Naismith Hall of Fame. The ninth ranked basketball team in the Big East accomplished the unthinkable, winning it all last year. Don’t think the ACC didn’t take note as they watched for a second year with only a limited number of their teams reaching the NCAA Tournament -- four to be exact, compared to the Big East’s 11. Let’s get one thing clear: Syracuse and Pitt leaving the Big East is not about research or football. It is the ACC desire to return to the top conference in college basketball.
As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friends.” The SEC will make a strong comeback, the Pac 12 will be as strong as ever, and after our president’s meeting on Sunday we won’t miss a beat. And here is why….
Rutgers and Seton Hall have two outstanding young coaches who will turn things around and make great strides.
DePaul will press their way back into competitiveness .
Marquette is a team you should be concerned about when you get off the bus.
Georgetown, Villanova, Cincinnati, St. Johns, West Virginia, UConn, and Louisville will always be some of the strongest teams in college basketball.
USF and TCU are a unique situation, but with two or three great additions to their rosters anything can happen.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most important things in my personal life, which was the start for all of us (Joe Mullaney, Dave Gavitt, Mike Tranghese, John Marinatto, Billy Donovan, and myself) for our love of basketball: Providence College.
Should we add Temple to the mix, we will still be as strong as ever.
Now if we can just get some state governors to concern themselves with job creation, deficits, and foreclosures…..Lookout!!!
The Big Food for Thought
The big question for those who concern themselves with the future: Who will play in more football BCS bowl games? UConn, TCU, USF, or Louisville compared to Big East defections BC, Virginia Tech, Miami, and now Pitt and Syracuse.
Only time will tell…..