Friday, March 1, 2013
3-point shot: Realignment nuts and bolts
By Andy Katz
1. The Catholic 7 plus two or three to form the old/new Big East (you following?) needs to apply for new-conference status by June 1 and the NCAA board of directors has to vote the new league in by Sept. 1 so it could get an automatic qualifying spot in the 2014 NCAA tournament. All of that is doable. The remaining Big East would be eligible to keep its automatic-qualifier status since it would have at least seven members (even if it dropped below that number, since there is a two-year grace period). The teams don't have to have a history of playing together. If the split occurs -- as expected -- with Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall and Providence joining Butler and Xavier out of the Atlantic 10 and likely Creighton from the Missouri Valley to form a new league, the remaining Big East would have eight members. Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Memphis and Temple would populate the new league in 2014. The league is expecting Tulane in 2014 and possibly East Carolina for all sports (though just football for now). There is a chance those moves could be expedited. If the AQs go through, in 2014 there would be 32 automatic bids and one less at-large than now, at 36, for a 68-team NCAA tournament bracket.
2. If the Georgetown-Connecticut game was the last one between the two schools, the series ended with a bang. The Huskies are the big loser in fading rivalries with the Big East split after seeing quality games over the past 10-plus years with Pitt, Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, Providence and St. John's. The ACC has always said it can take schools early, and that's why I wouldn't be surprised to see Notre Dame in the ACC in 2013-14 if this split occurs. Louisville and Rutgers are stuck in the Big East and Maryland in the ACC because it's too late to change for this fall. Louisville would have to play Connecticut, Cincinnati and Memphis in 2013-14 to at least keep those rivalries going for another year before they could get split up once the Cardinals move to the ACC.
3. UCLA coach Ben Howland said he's confident that the Pac-12 can become a destination conference tournament with the move to Las Vegas, much like the Big East was in New York. There is a chance. The Pac-10/12 was never a draw at Staples Center in Los Angeles; the league has a chance with the games in Las Vegas. The Big East had something unique in New York with the players wanting to play at Madison Square Garden. The ACC missed that opportunity by playing in Greensboro, N.C., (home to an arena and not much else for a destination) and not Charlotte or another major city in the region. The SEC should probably stick to Atlanta or New Orleans. The Big Ten should have made Chicago its tournament home annually (the event is there this season) and the Big 12 makes most sense in Kansas City, Mo. If the ACC were smart and thinking long-term, it should try to get into MSG with Syracuse, Pitt, North Carolina, Notre Dame and, of course, Duke as draws every year.