Big East to get even more unwieldy

November, 29, 2010
11/29/10
11:18
AM ET
Of all the things you expected to read today, I'm betting this wasn't one of them. From ESPN Dallas:
TCU has accepted a bid to the Big East Conference, which will take effect July 1, 2012, according to sources familiar with the deal. The school has set a news conference for 1 p.m. on campus to make "a major announcement involving the TCU athletics program."

The move makes sense from a football standpoint. TCU will get more exposure, but more importantly they'll join a conference with an automatic BCS bid. When you're as good at football as TCU and you can't crack your sport's postseason thanks to conference affiliation, it's probably time to make a move. (Even if the notion of Texas Christian in the Big East strikes one as profoundly weird. Because it is that, too.)

But this is a college hoops blog. So how does the move affect the Big East in hoops -- which is without question the league's marquee sport?

Not all that much, actually. According to our own Mr. Katz, the Big East has had a plan to add a 17th and 18th team to its hoops slate for a while now. The move will cause some slight adjustments in scheduling -- repeat games will be the main bugaboo, and the conference tournament could get a little tricky -- but it's nothing the big brains at Big East league headquarters can't handle.

Nor will the addition do much to remake the Big East hoops landscape on a year-to-year basis. The Horned Frogs aren't exactly a basketball school: TCU has just one WAC conference title, in 1998, when coach Billy Tubbs -- the program's most successful head man since its genesis in the 1908-09 season -- led TCU to a 14-0 WAC record and a 27-6 overall mark. TCU has made just seven NCAA tournament appearances in its history, has bounced from one mid-major conference (Conference USA) to another (the Mountain West) and in six appearances has never made it to even the semifinal round of the NIT.

There's no question TCU will get a boost in hoops profile to go along with its big-six conference affiliation, and maybe the program will be able to parlay that boost into a more successful program overall. But whatever generalized boost TCU gets is likely to be outweighed by this simple fact: The Big East is pretty awesome at basketball. The Horned Frogs are not.

In other words, the Big East is -- somehow -- about to get even bigger. But when it does, I'm doubting many fans, players, and coaches will notice. Would you?

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