ACC now nation's best CBB conference

Updated: September 18, 2011, 7:09 PM ET
By Jay Bilas

The Big East has been the best basketball conference in the country over the past five years, and it isn't really a close call. But for the past 40 years, the ACC has been the premier basketball conference in the country -- and that hasn't been a close call. Now, with the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the ACC has signaled that it will overtake the Big East again and become the nation's best basketball league.

The move to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh is a zero-sum game for the ACC and the Big East. The ACC adds two perennial top 10 basketball programs (and major media markets) while the Big East loses the same. It makes the ACC more attractive and stable for new members, and makes the Big East one big question mark.

Clearly, the ACC isn't finished adding schools. It will drive hard toward a 16-team league that is competitive in big markets in football and basketball. Whether the ACC decides to accept Connecticut and Rutgers to further gut the Big East or take Texas and its Longhorn Network baggage out of the crumbling Big 12 isn't yet clear. And, while the Big Ten is the better option, I wouldn't discount the notion of Notre Dame becoming a member of the ACC. The Irish are trying to remain independent in football, but that isn't feasible in the long run. Whether it is the Big Ten or the ACC, Notre Dame is likely to be a member of a superconference in the not-so-distant future.

The Big East has been through shifts in the landscape before now, driving some and reacting to others. But this one is different. This one doesn't mean the end of the Big East, but it does mean the end of the raw power of the Big East in basketball.