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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Looking like Catholic 7 schools gone after this season

It looks as if we are reaching the end of an era with reports that DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova will be breaking off on their own beginning next season although they aren't exactly leaving the Big East since multiple reports have them keeping the Big East name.

Now it bears watching what Louisville, Notre Dame and Rutgers plan on doing. Originally they were expected to remain in the Big East for next season before heading off to greener pastures (Rutgers to the Big 10, Notre Dame and Louisville to the ACC). However it would not be a shocker to see their departures moved up by a season.

If that were to occur the days of UConn being in arguably the best women's basketball conference would come to an end (unless the ACC were to come calling).

"Every school is committed to making it happen, whether that's on a super-compressed timeline or a little bit less compressed timeline," Marquette athletic director Larry Williams told the Chicago Tribune "Even if it starts next summer, there's still a lot of work to do. If it's going to happen this summer? There are going to be some real, real long days. But I think everybody is committed to doing it."

ESPN is reporting that Butler and Xavier have agreed to join the league, which will keep the Big East name, and Creighton is also expected to join for next season.

If Louisville and Notre Dame bolt for the ACC next season as well and Rutgers leaves a season early for the Big 10 UConn will be left even further behind in the conference realignment game. Big East holdovers Cincinnati and  South Florida will join Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist and Temple with the possibility of bringing in East Carolina and Tulane later this year rather than in 2014.

So with the current version of the Big East on the verge of implosion, Geno Auriemma was asked after Tuesday's Pittsburgh game if it would mean more to win the regular-season and tournament titles in the Big East this year since there is no way of knowing what the makeup of UConn's conference will look like next season.

"I don't know if it would mean anymore or any less," Auriemma said. "Whatever conference you are in you are trying to win the regular season and that is the No. 1 goal you would like to accomplish. The fact that there are a bunch of schools that may or may not (leave), we know who is not going to be here but we don't know who may or may not be here next year. Between the regular season and the tournament, we are still in the same place we were  a couple years ago, we have seven or eight teams that are going to make the NCAA tournament and it is hard to win that thing. It is hard to win the regular season and it is hard to win the tournament. I said a couple years ago when we lost to Villanova and then we lost Boston College in back to back years (in the Big East tournament) and then we won a national championship both of those years that it is a lot easier to win a national championship than it is to win our own tournament. I don't think this year is going to be any different."

So how could it look next year? Well there are seven teams on their way out with RPIs between No. 4-50 (UConn has the second best RPI).

Just for comparison purposes, here is how the Big East stacks up this year in terms of RPI numbers and how it could look if all those teams depart at season's end.

 4 Notre Dame      57 SMU
21 Louisville          58. South Florida
22 Villanova          78 East Carolina
27 DePaul             91 Tulane
37 Syracuse         110 Memphis
40 St. John's        126 Temple
50 Georgetown    146 Central Florida
58. South Florida 163 Houston
61. Marquette      166 Cincinnati
64 Rutgers


Anonymous Abacus Reveals said...

" is a lot easier to win a national championship than it is to win our own tournament."

I'm having trouble getting my mind wrapped around that notion.

There are some different challenges faced in a conference tournament vis-a-vis the national tournament.

Firstly, the formats make the conference tournament more of an endurance contest than the NCAA's. Practice/prep time is drastically reduced or eliminated entirely.

Secondly,there's the phenomenon that familiarity can breed confidence in a "less talented" opponent -- more likely to occur in a league foe encountered regularly.

Also, for half or more teams in powerful leagues, there's no finality ("win or go home") to losing in the conference tournament.

But does not the preponderance of solid experienced (unlike in the men's game)teams make the NCAA's necessarily a "tougher row to hoe" -- after the first weekend, anyways?

P.S. This blog is a wonderfully informative source of information. Thank you, sir.

2:20 PM 

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