may be the offseason for men’s college basketball, but there are always a few
interesting news stories impacting a particular team’s chances to win their conference next season or
affecting their current odds to make a run at a national title.
following is a look at this week’s most interesting news and notes from the
world of college basketball.
The future of the Big East conference tournament
recent movement of schools in both the major and mid-major conferences has
sparked a debate as to what the Big East should do with its season-ending
tournament once it balloons to 18 schools in 2014. The current configuration
consists of 16 schools, which is already a handful when it comes to trying to
conduct a tournament in the span of less than a week. The departure of West
Virginia and the one-year postseason ban of Connecticut solves the problem for
next season, but the big question is what to do from that point moving forward.
of the coaches in the Big East have already stated that they would like to see
all 18 teams have a chance to compete, with the four teams at the bottom of the
standings competing in a play-in game on Monday night before the traditional
start of the actual 16-team tournament on Tuesday. The problem is, the Big East
is already becoming watered down talent-wise when it comes to major conferences
and you have to question how competitive even Tuesday’s first round will be.
solution that would make the regular season even more competitive would be to
stage a tournament of the top eight teams. However, if that were the case now,
UConn would have never had a chance to go on that magical run that led all the
way to a national title in 2011.
The here and now in the Big East
ever-changing Big East may continue to experience some additional departures as
the Big 12 looks to actually get back to 12 teams or possibly the ACC and/or
the SEC decide to expand, but the burning question on the table right now, is
which of the remaining 14 eligible teams will win the conference in the
is the obvious first choice considering that Bovada has the Cardinals as
second-favorites to win the 2013 national title at 8/1. The lowest odds for the
next team in the conference would be Syracuse at 20/1 followed by St. Johns and
30/1 and Georgetown at 40/1. Everyone knows that Rick Pitino has a wealth of
returning talent from last season’s Final Four squad as well as some strong
recruits, but is the disparity between his team and the rest of the top teams
in the conference really that wide? The top choice to give Louisville a serious
run for its money is Syracuse, but it has to be able to put the whole Bernie
Fine situation behind. St. John’s is loaded with some young talent and in a
position to make some serious noise. Georgetown has two very productive bigs in
Otto Porter and Nate Lubrick and Marquette is quietly reloading after losing
most of its starting five from a year ago. Look for Trent Lockett to have a
breakout season for the Musketeers.
Another basketball power exits the
Colonial Athletic Association
over a week after VCU informed the CAA it was leaving the conference for
greener pastures in the Atlantic 10, another solid basketball program in Old
Dominion decided to jump ship to join Conference-USA. The motive for ODU’s move
was primarily for the opportunity to move its football program up to the
Division I-A level.
Ever since George Mason made its historic run to
the Final Four in 2006, the CAA has gained more and more clout with the NCAA
Tournament selection committee’s eyes as evidence of VCU’s at-large big in 2011
that led to the Rams’ own Final Four appearance. The loss of both VCU and ODU
is surely a major step backwards for this once up-and-coming Mid-Major