- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Last week, on July 1, when a score of schools officially became members of their new leagues, a three-year wave of conference realignment stopped being prospective and started getting real. This week, we explored every nook and cranny of these changes, and what they will mean for college basketball going forward.
In the time-honored ICYMI Internet tradition, then, here's a recap of our series on the new realignment reality. Become a bonafide realignment expert with these easy steps!
Eamonn Brennan (hey, that's me!) assumes you haven't been keeping up with every minute dynamic at work in the past three years, so he compiles a (hopefully enjoyable) FAQ designed to get you up to speed as painlessly as possible.
Dana O'Neil asks the question: "What if we were all wrong?" Could conference realignment actually end up being good for the sport? Or, at the very least, not terrible?
Jason King surveys the landscape and picks the biggest winners, and the biggest losers, from all the changes afoot.
Focusing on the short term, Jason and Myron Medcalf debate which team should enter the new basketball-oriented Big East as the conference title favorite. And Insider Jeff Goodman handicaps the inaugural Big East season.
Dana examines the salad days of the new American Athletic Conference (the American for short), which was formed "not by the wishes and desires of like-minded universities but by the very need to survive."
Andy Katz says there's no need for UConn and Cincinnati, having openly lobbied for spots in the ACC, to beg their way out of the American anytime soon. Likewise, UConn athletic director Warde Manuel says he is done playing the realignment game.
Jason looks at the American and wonders whether anyone can hope to challenge the highly favored Louisville Cardinals before Rick Pitino & Co. depart for the ACC next summer. (Hint: Almost certainly not.)
Yours truly expects the expected from Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, who will bring a much-needed dose of annual consistency to the up-and-down ACC. Insider John Gasaway argued that Syracuse's 2-3 zone should prove just as effective in its new league.
Andy explains why all three ACC newcomers are immensely optimistic about their high-powered new home.
Andy believes that 10 is the magic number for a college hoops league, and the smaller leagues that have scrapped their way toward standings symmetry might actually be better off.
After briefly lamenting the classic rivalries lost to the cycle of consumption that fueled realignment in the first place, yours truly sets out to find some new and reborn rivalries that realignment might yet create.
Last but not least, here's a handy nuts and bolts guide to every conference change taking effect into 2013-14. Enjoy the weekend, everyone.
Last week, on July 1, when a score of schools officially became members of their new leagues, a three-year wave of conference realignment stopped being prospective and started getting real.