3-point shot: Realigning early tournaments

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
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1. The proposed shifts of Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC and West Virginia to the Big 12 has already caused some switching of years within tournaments. And more could occur if the alignment is sped up for 2012. Duke and Pitt were supposed to be in the 2015 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. But the Gazelle Group, the organizer of the event, moved Pitt to the 2016 event. Syracuse and North Carolina were in the Battle 4 Atlantis in 2014 but Syracuse has moved to the 2015 event so as not to play its new ACC competitor. The Orange then moved to the 2K Sports Classic in 2014. If Pitt is in the ACC in 2012 than it could be playing league member Virginia in the NIT Season Tip-Off since both are in the event. If West Virginia gets in the Big 12 for 2012 then it could have a problem being in the Old Spice Classic with league member Oklahoma. The easy solution is to simply put the league teams on opposite sides of the bracket.

2. The expanded conferences will put even more of a premium on getting into the more exclusive fields. If Duke and North Carolina choose to pursue playing in the Maui Invitational on a four-year rotation then the remaining 12 schools would all be jockeying for only two spots in a four-year cycle. If the ACC were to go to 16 at some point then the odds get even slimmer. Lower level Big East schools have had this problem of wedging out the powers for the elite tournaments. The NCAA doesn’t allow teams from the same league to be in these tournaments unless they are grandfathered in from a previous conference. But the schools don’t want to be in the same event in the oft-chance they would play each other possibly three times in a season if they play twice in conference.

3. Missouri deserved to get plenty of credit for playing at Missouri Southern Sunday night in Joplin, Mo., in a game that benefited the tornado victims. Missouri State should be applauded as well. The Bears are playing a men’s and women’s doubleheader Saturday against Missouri Southern in Joplin. New Missouri State coach Paul Lusk spent three seasons at Missouri Southern (1999-2002), coaching under current head coach Robert Corn. All proceeds from the game will go directly to the Missouri Southern Foundation’s Tornado Emergency Relief Fund. Last Sunday’s Missouri-Missouri Southern game was televised on ESPNU. Missouri and Missouri State were both given waivers by the NCAA to play an exhibition game on the road against a Division II team.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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