Thursday, March 14, 2013
3-point shot: Big East breakup details
By Andy Katz
1. Notre Dame was fully prepared to stick out the next year in the old Big East as per its requirement. But Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said once the seven Catholic-based schools decided to leave, the Irish were likely gone as well. As late as a month ago, however, Swarbrick had informed all his coaches to prepare to play in the old Big East. Now, they are all off to the ACC, and Swarbrick and Irish men's basketball coach Mike Brey were pleased to at least know they can move forward in their new home. Brey has been sentimental about this being the final Big East tournament for the Irish. The players didn't know until Tuesday -- and Eric Atkins said prior to Wednesday's victory over Rutgers that he fully anticipated playing next season at Madison Square Garden. Once he knew this was it, he said it made this tournament even more special. The Irish will get Boston College and Georgia Tech as home-and-home rivals next season. Notre Dame and the other 14 ACC schools will get two other teams they'll play twice, for eight double-up games. The other 10 league games will be singles, either home or road.
2. Rutgers has a lame-duck season in the soon-to-be-named conference, and that's actually OK with the Scarlet Knights administration and coach Mike Rice. There is no rush to race to the Big Ten when there is still so much to do. Rice, who has two seasons left on his contract, probably didn't need to be in the Big Ten next season. He has 90 percent of his team returning and, in the to-be-named conference, has a chance to be a factor and show improvement. Rutgers hasn't been party to the decision-making of the schools that will remain -- including decisions on what the league will be called and where its conference tournament will be next season. Rutgers is recruiting for the Big Ten, not this league, so it doesn't matter. Rice expects the conference to play a true round-robin schedule of 18 league games with a 10-team league in 2013-14.
3. Employees of the splitting Big East still don't know if they're working for the old or new league. Since the break just occurred, there haven't been requests by the new league to bring any of the staffers along. For now, the staffers remain committed to the old Big East and have work to do on putting the 2014 conference tournament out for bidding. The key will be which facility has the dates available, since arenas are typically booked for specific dates a year out. The favorites remain an existing facility that has hosted similar events, such as those in Memphis (Conference USA) and Hartford, Conn. (Big East's women tournament).