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.
Big East ‘Open’ to Letting Cuse, Pitt Out in 2013; Big East Tournament Will Have 15 Teams Next Year
NEW YORK — Now that Temple has officially joined the Big East, Commissioner John Marinatto says he’s “open to having the discussions with both Pittsburgh and Syracuse” about them leaving the conference for the ACC in 2013 as opposed to 2014.
Also, the loss of West Virginia this year combined with the addition of Temple for basketball beginning in 2013 means the Big East basketball tournament will have only 15 teams next year.
Asked when he would have those conversations with Syracuse and Pitt, Marinatto told SNY.tv, “Hopefully, soon. Our membership is very pleased with where we’ve landed…so I hope to engage in conversations with both Pittsburgh and Syracuse very soon.”
Marinatto had previously maintained that both schools wouldn’t be able to depart until June 2014, 27 months from when they announced they would leave.
“We really haven’t had detailed conversations [with Syracuse and Pitt] but at this point in time we’re ready to have that conversation,” Marinatto said.
A year from now, the Big East Tournament will have 15 teams because West Virginia will be gone and Temple won’t join until 2013.
That means the No. 9 team (UConn the past two years) would get a bye the first day and would then face No. 8 the second day of the event. The winner of that game would play No. 1 in the quarters on Thursday.
“Off the top of my head, we’ll probably go to a triple-header the first day with five byes,” Marinatto said.
In that scenario, the first day would feature matchups of No. 12-No. 13, No. 10-No. 15 and No. 11-No. 14.
Those three winners would then join the five teams that received a single bye — No. 5-9 — to play the second round Wednesday.
The quarters, semis and final would remain the same from Thursday through Saturday.
By the 2013-14 season, the Big East will likely have 18 teams once Temple, Memphis, Houston, UCF and SMU join.
“Temple will be a great addition to our league,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “They’ve got a tremendous coach, it’s a great city for basketball and I know that it will make an incredible trip there for a lot of folks.”
West Virginia, meantime, is out and moving on to the Big 12.
“Well, it’s been a good run,” Mounties coach Bob Huggins said. “We’ve enjoyed it, most of it anyway. I mean, there’s nothing like coming to the Garden to play in the tournament.”
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.