Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
TCU-Texas A&M Could Highlight Expanded Big East/SEC
Texas Christian and Texas A&M scrimmage each other every year in basketball.
But with A&M poised to join the Southeastern Conference for 2012, and TCU already set to enter the Big East next year, the two Lone Star State schools located about 175 miles apart could meet up in a revised Big East/SEC Challenge beginning next year.
“I think it would be great,” TCU basketball coach Jim Christian told SNY.tv.
“Obviously, if all this goes through and both teams play their inaugural season in a great non-conference matchup, both schools would be excited about it. It goes back to the days of the Southwest Conference when both schools were in it and competing [until 1996]. The rivalry is tremendous.
“Whenever TCU and Texas A&M compete, it’s always great crowds. It’s always a great event.”
If the SEC adds A&M, Florida State, Missouri and Clemson, as has been reported it is trying to do, the super-conference would expand to 16 teams.
The Big East currently has 16, with TCU becoming No. 17 next year.
As presently constituted, the Big East/SEC Challenge features all 12 SEC teams against three quarters of the Big East. Four Big East outfits must sit out the dance each year.
But if the SEC expands to 16 teams, 32 teams in the two leagues could play, with one Big East team left standing against the wall with no dance partner.
As things stand now, there are a few interesting matchups in this year’s Big East/SEC Challenge.
St. John’s-Kentucky, Florida-Syracuse, Vanderbilt-Louisville and Pitt-Tennessee come to mind.
It’s not clear how much interest there would be for, say, Clemson-DePaul or Missouri-Seton Hall.
But TCU against A&M could be a big hit.
“It’s a natural rivalry,” Christian said. “There’s no question about it.”
BIG EAST TIE GIVES TCU RECRUITING EDGE
TCU has already landed Newark NIA Prep forward Ryan Rhoomes, the first New York area product to commit to the Texas school since it was announced it was joining the Big East.
But Christian says the school’s tie-in with the Big East is paying dividends with the Class of 2013 and beyond.
“We’ve been really, really impressed with the reaction we’re getting from kids because of our association with the Big East,” Christian said.
“We’ve had many, many kids come to campus and express a great amount of interest. [They are] the type of kids that we would need to have join us and be competitive in the Big East.”
2011 BIG EAST/SEC Challenge schedule:Date Time (ET) Game NetworkThu, Dec 1
7 p.m. Providence at South Carolina ESPNU
7:30 p.m. St. John’s at No. 2 Kentucky ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
9 p.m. Mississippi at DePaul ESPNU
9:30 p.m. Georgetown at No. 14 Alabama ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Fri, Dec 2
6:30 p.m. No. 12 Florida at No. 4 Syracuse ESPN / ESPN3.com
7 p.m. No. 19 Cincinnati at Georgia ESPNU
8:30 p.m. No. 7 Vanderbilt at No. 9 Louisville ESPN / ESPN3.com
9 p.m. Auburn at Seton Hall ESPNU
Sat, Dec 3
3:15 p.m. Arkansas at No. 6 Connecticut ESPN / ESPN3.com
5:15 p.m. No. 17 Pittsburgh at Tennessee ESPN / ESPN3.com
7 p.m. LSU at Rutgers ESPNU
9 p.m. West Virginia at Mississippi State ESPNU
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.