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.
How the New & Old Big Easts Will Look in 2013-14 & 2014-15 (UPDATED)
Based on the news that the Catholic 7 will break away and keep the Big East name starting in 2013-14, here’s a quick look at how the New and Old Big Easts will look in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Notre Dame is considering going into the New Big East for next season, remaining in the Old Big East or paying to head to the ACC, Irish coach Mike Brey confirmed on his radio show.
“All options are open,” he told SNY.tv.
Brey said Thursday the school “investigated” the possibility of joining the Catholic 7 before the breakaway became official.
“They would’ve loved to have us and keep our football independent,” he said. “And I think we thought about it.”
Meantime, Louisville coach Rick Pitino and his club are headed to the ACC in 2014, the same year Rutgers departs for the Big Ten.
Pitino told SNY.tv he expects that the Old Big East will have 10 teams next season (see chart below.)
“We go with 10 teams, that would be my guess,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Pitino told USA Today he felt that the Catholic 7 deserved the Big East name.
“I think they should (get the name),” Pitino told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview Thursday. “I think without question, the Catholic 7 deserves the Big East name. They should have, in my estimation, broken away from the football schools three years ago. I think they waited way too long. They should have been fed up a long time ago.
“You have some of the great, great traditions in college basketball. They should have gotten together, made their strong basketball league, sell their own deal and they should be the Big East. They should be playing in Madison Square Garden.”
As things now stand, Cincinnati will remain in the Old Big East, along with UConn and South Florida, with schools like Memphis, Temple, SMU, Houston, UCF and Tulane joining for all sports.
Bearcats coach Mick Cronin played down the importance of keeping the Big East name.
“Originally, you would think it’s a big deal, but I think all these kids know that the Big East when it becomes whatever it’s going to become, when the Catholic league becomes whatever it’s going to become, the kids are going to know it’s not the Big East of Syracuse and Georgetown and The Pearl against Patrick Ewing, so I don’t think it’s that big a deal.
“I think maybe initially people think it’s a big deal, but I don’t think in the long run it will be as big as maybe you would think initially.”
The other big issue, of course, is what will happen to the postseason tournament at Madison Square Garden?
Will the Garden stay with a Big East Tournament that features Houston, SMU and Tulane? Will it host the Catholic 7′s tournament? Will it do both? Will it try to bring in the ACC Tournament on a rotating basis?
All of that seems up in the air at this point.
One thing’s for sure, the coaches all seem united in their sadness about the end of the Big East Tournament as we know it. Syracuse and Pitt will play in their final such event beginning in two weeks.
“The Big East Tournament, you just hate to see that in it’s old form go away,” DePaul’s Purnell said. “Madison Square Garden, the best basketball league in America having its tournament in front of a sold-out crowd over a four-day period of time in New York City. It’s just been unbelievable.”
As for what comes next, that is just about anybody’s guess.
“In 10 years from now there might be four conferences so it could be a heck of a big tournament,” Cincinnati’s Cronin said of a potential future conference tournament. “You could be looking at 20-team leagues 10 years from now. It would be quite interesting how that would happen, to have those kinds of conference tournaments.
“I firmly believe you’re headed toward four or five conferences. Where they’re going to be, who knows?”
CATHOLIC 7/NEW BIG EAST 2013-14 (10 or 11 teams)
OLD BIG EAST 2013-14 (10 or 11 teams)
NEW BIG EAST 2014-15 (12 teams per ESPN)
OLD BIG EAST 2014-15 (10 teams)
*Notre Dame is considering going into the New Big East in 2013-14.
**East Carolina will join as a football-only member in 2014, but could be added for all sports. Tulane joins for all sports in 2014.
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.