The Big (b)East: The Best College Basketball Conference, Ever

I know, I know. Just two days ago I was advocating for merging with the Mountain West. But I have changed my mind.  What a beast for a basketball conference. The football divisions would be good enough. Here’s an outline for the most powerful conference in college basketball, ever!

Big East Basketball - Four Divisions of Five Teams

Eastern Division

Pod 1                 Pod 2

Syracuse        Providence

U. Conn          Villanova

Rutgers           Pitt

St. Johns         W. Virginia

Georgetown    S. Florida

Western Division

Pod 3                 Pod 4

Louisville            KU

Cincy                   KSU

Notre Dame      Mizzou

Seton Hall          Depaul

TCU                     Marquette

The scheduling rules:

1. You play on a home-and-home basis each team in your pod (eight games).

2. You play each team from the other pod in your division on a home-away basis (just like we did for opposite division teams in the old Big 12 (five games).

3. Each team in a pod plays on a home and away basis all other teams from one of the pods from the opposite division. For instance, in 2013-14, all the teams in pod 4 would play all the teams in pod 2 on a rotating home and away basis. In 2015, all the teams in pod 4 would play all the teams in Pod 1 on a rotating home and away basis. (five games per year).

This provides an 18 game regular season. There is no "Regular Season" champion. Rather, championships of each division are determined with two end-of-season tournaments, one in Kansas City, the other in Madison Square Garden, on a yearly basis.

Each of the top three seeded teams in each pod receives a bye at the division championship tournament. The divisional championship tournaments would take place the week before most of the major conferences play their tournaments, provided a tv rating’s bonanza. Then the Conference Champion is decided with the East Champion meeting the West Champion on Selection Sunday, rotating between Madison Square Garden and Chicago and Kansas City.

I believe this format has extraordinary benefits as a basketball league. First, winning your division’s championship would provide a fan base with the same satisfaction as winning your conference under old fashioned ten and twelve team per league formats. Can you imagine getting, once every four years, Syracuse and Georgetown on the court in Bramlage? Under this format we will, and that will never happen under any other scheduling scenario.  It maintains important regional rivalries. It allows for the development of new rivalries.  It is reasonably balanced.

The football divisions would be strong enough. I understand all this may be a dream if Baylor’s threatened lawsuit derails Aggie’s entry to the SEC. And to solve that, why not swap S. Florida to the SEC for Baylor to the Big East? But what a dream it would be! And Longhorn can take about $10 million from that $300 million TLN money and donate it to Iowa State’s endowment to keep the political jackals happy (I really feel sorry for Cyclone, they don’t deserve any of this.

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