Friday, March 8, 2013

Big East Separation is Official

It's official: The Catholic 7 is officially splitting from the Big East. Formal Board approval is expected on Tuesday.

Here are a few answers to questions people have been asking about the split:

*** What will be the name of the "old" Big East (since the Catholic 7 and their new friends will be taking the Big East name with them)?

It has been reported that the America 12 is the leader in the clubhouse, since that name has been registered with a branding firm by the league's attorneys. But that was one of a list of names the firm was given, and the league "is not necessarily married to anything," according to a Big East source. In fact, the league is planning on possibly reaching out to fans for suggestions on a new name and "having some fun with it."

Here's what Big East commish Mike Aresco said in a release: “We have not chosen a new conference name at this time and there are no favorites. We are going through a thoughtful evaluation of potential names for our conference, and will select a name in a timely manner through a comprehensive and deliberate process that involves our presidents and athletic directors as well as constituents from inside and outside the conference. We are excited about the prospect of re-branding and look forward to working with our institutions and our fans as we engage in this process.”

*** Who will be in this new league -- the one that UConn is in?

Well, for next year, anyway, it'll be UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida, Temple, Memphis, Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Rutgers, Louisville and (possibly) Notre Dame. Louisville and Notre Dame, you ask? Aren't they off to the ACC? Well, yes, but not until 2014-15. The new conference's football schedule is already out, and Lousville is on it, so even though Louisville's separation date has yet to be officially determined, it would be extremely problematic if it tried to jump ship now.

As for Notre Dame, since it obviously doesn't play football in the league, an earlier separation is far more feasible. Of course, it will cost them a good chunk of money, but it's feasible. In fact, the ACC reportedly has said it would accept Notre Dame for next season. It's hard to believe Notre Dame would stay with the new Big East (Catholic 7) for a year in limbo.

Oh yeah, and Rutgers isn't supposed to move to the Big 10 until 2014-15, but who really cares? It's Rutgers.

*** With the "new" Big East holding on to Madison Square Garden for its conference championship, where will the new conference championship tournament be?

Unknown at this point. Reports have stated perhaps Memphis, Houston, Orlando, Hartford, or a revolving door (as the Big East did in its infancy). Memphis would make a lot of sense to me, as it's a great basketball town. And I know that UConn is insisting that Hartford is kept in consideration. (And Orlando's got Disney World).

*** Why the hell is all this happening?


*** Where will the "old" Big East headquarters be?

They'll likely stay in Providence, even though PC is leaving the conference with the Catholic 7, since the league has a lease on its current building for seven more years. Hard to believe the league will stay in Providence for all seven of those years, however.

Mike Aresco will remain commissioner of the conference, but it remains to be seen where other employees of the current Big East will end up. The "new" Big East will be looking for employees, after all, and could certainly take current Big East employees with it.

*** So which conference is better: the new Big East (Catholic 7) or the old one (America 12, or whatever)?

Let's take a look:




St. John’s
Seton Hall


Notre Dame (maybe)
Central Florida
South Florida

If you go by this year's results, by my count, the Catholic 7 has four NCAA tourney locks and three bubble teams. The America 12 has three locks and four bubbles (if UConn had been eligible. I'm saying the Huskies would be on the bubble right now, but maybe they'd be more of a lock than I'm giving them credit for). And that's assuming Notre Dame stays for next year.

That's about a wash, though top-to-bottom, I'd go with the Catholic 7. It's only got two awful teams, while the America 12 has three or four.

Of course, Providence could be real good next year, and Marquette should be really, really good. Then again, UConn has the chance to be really, really good next year, too. Overall, for next year, I'd give the Catholic 7 a slight edge, but for 2014-15 ...


Central Florida
South Florida
East Carolina

... the Catholic 7 wins in a landslide. It'll also be adding St. Louis and Dayton. Of course, by then, maybe UConn or Cincy or both will be en route to the ACC or elsewhere. Who knows these days?



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