Monday, December 17, 2012
3-point shot: UConn to honor Newtown
By Andy Katz
1. UConn president Susan Herbst struck the right tone over the weekend, not getting into the ridiculousness of conference alignment during such a tragic time for the state after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. She said there would be time to address the issue, but not this weekend and early this week with the grieving still enduring. The Huskies were working on a season-long patch to honor the victims of this horrible tragedy that will be worn by the two highest-profile teams in the men’s and women’s basketball. There isn’t anything Herbst could have said that would change a thing this weekend. The Huskies need to make the best of their current situation until a call comes from the ACC, if it ever does. The Huskies handled the weekend appropriately.
2. Xavier is the obvious team to be coveted by the departing seven Catholic schools. The A-10 can’t afford to lose its marquee program. But the league certainly can’t stand to lose Butler, either. The Bulldogs were a major coup for the A-10 and losing Xavier and Butler would be a crushing blow to the A-10’s future. Saving one will be critical for the conference. VCU could end up being just as important but it doesn’t seem to be as obvious a choice for the Big East departures. The one school that stands to benefit from these moves is Richmond. If the Spiders aren’t seen as a viable choice for the seven and Xavier and/or Butler are poached, Richmond could emerge as the A-10’s elite team with a natural rival contender in VCU. Having a VCU-Richmond anchor in the A-10 would be good theater, and would add a built-in rivalry to the market.
3. The old Big East should make a move to add UMass as an all-sports member. The Minutemen are upgrading football and would fit in the footprint for all sports quite nicely. UConn and Temple are suddenly going to be a bit lonely in the Northeast and could use another team for all sports. The A-10 can afford to lose the Minutemen as long as it doesn’t see the all of the others depart, too. The Minutemen are improving in basketball and can definitely compete with what the Big East would look like in 2015. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin finally blew off some steam over the weekend in discussing the failings of re-alignment. But if this were to stay as currently projected in 2015, the Bearcats could/should be the premier program in the new Big East.