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.
If you think a 16-team basketball conference in the Big East is big, just wait until the 2013-14 season.
There could potentially be an 18- or 19-team Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden in March 2014.
“We have a 16-team tournament now,” Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said Wednesday on a conference call. “Anything is possible.”
With the additions of Central Florida, Houston and SMU, the league will jump to 19 basketball teams in 2013.
Marinatto has been steadfast in maintaining that Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia — all of which are leaving for other conferences — will be held to the 27-month exit period, meaning they would not be permitted to leave until June 2014.
West Virginia could potentially be let out earlier depending upon the outcome of its lawsuit against the Big East.
But Marinatto said he expects all three schools to remain until 2014.
“The bylaws are the bylaws are the bylaws,” he said.
Syracuse AD Dr. Daryl Gross said his school was prepared to wait out the 27-month exit period.
“Yeah,” he said, according to The Star-Ledger. “I would think that things could possibly change, and of course I’m not in the Big East meetings so I don’t know. I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to move on as soon as possible because you’re trying to create structures and new cultures and those types of things.”
Thus, the 2013-14 basketball season could potentially feature 19 teams playing an 18-game conference schedule, with everybody playing everybody else once.
“I think if that is the case then that would probably be a model that we would employ where everybody would play everybody once, but we haven’t got into the specifics of it,” Marinatto said.
“I’m just looking at the numbers as you’ve outlined them but that would make sense.”
Marinatto also said that Big East basketball schools could play football-only members Boise State and San Diego State in non-conference basketball action beginning in 2013, although nothing specific has been drawn up in terms of a rotating schedule.
“We haven’t gotten into details of all of that,” Marinatto said.
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.