fighting muskie wrote:
It's always fun to talk Big East alignment because they have ample opportunity to expand but have not yet done so. If I'm their media partner FOX I'm all for growing and expanding the content. But seriously, the conference only has value if they have winning programs that are making deep tournament runs. Look at some of their members:
St John's-- 2 tourney appearances since 2005 (2011, 2015)
Seton Hall-- 1 tourney appearance since 2005 (2006)
Providence-- 2 tourney appearances since 2005 (2014, 2015)
DePaul-- 0 tourney appearances since 2005
In the past 10 years those four have gone dancing a collective 5 times and three of those occurrences happened after the Catholic 7 departed the deep 16 member Big East with programs like UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville, and Notre Dame to the much more shallow new Big East. In all of those appearances the Big East team lost their first game.
The Big East can't keep relying on Villanova, Georgetown and Marquette to carry them. Sooner or later they are going to need to invest in new programs that are successful NOW not ones leaning on their glory years decades ago.
And with all due respect, that points out the flaw in logic I'm talking about.
You're right, that to be a strong conference, you need two things: #1 - Lots of good teams and #2 - teams making DEEP RUNS. That requires things like Money, Recruiting War winning things, coaches, etc. The list of teams that usually make deep runs in the NCAAs are teams like Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina, Wisconsin, etc -- teams that aren't joining them.
The Big East has more than enough good teams:
Butler had no problem trouncing the entire Horizon to make the dance all the time.
Xavier had no problem trouncing the bottom half of the A-10 to make the dance all the time.
DePaul had no problem trouncing the bottom half of Conference USA 1.0 to make the dance routinely.
St. John's, Providence and Seton Hall had no problem taking turns making the dance out of the smaller Big East 1.0 before they added Notre Dame, Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, etc.
If you make a conference of:
Duke, UNC, Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Maryland, UConn, Villanova and Xavier you have 10 of the top 30 programs in the country.... and they won't get 10 bids. Three teams are finishing 8-9-10 and not having a shot at the NCAA Tournament because they have 13+ conference losses.
The Big East's "problem" isn't that DePaul, Providence, Hall and St. John's aren't good enough. It's that everyone in that league is SO FREAKING SIMILAR, and teams 4-9 are so evenly matched that the bottom third of the league gets TOO MANY SPLITS of the season series with the at-large contenders.
Here's the Big East last season:
NOVA 32-2 16-2 3-0 BET = NCAA
GTWN 21-10 12-6 1-1 BET = NCAA
BUTL 22-10 12-6 0-1 BET = NCAA
PROV 22-11 11-7 1-1 BET = NCAA
STJN 20-11 10-8 0-1 BET = NCAA
XAVR 21-13 9-9 2-1 BET = NCAA
(70-62 in Big East play)
HALL 16-15 6-12 0-1 BET
DEPL 12-20 6-12 0-1 BET
MARQ 13-19 4-14 1-1 BET
CREI 14-19 4-14 1-1 BET
(20-38 in Big East Play)
Now, let's, for the sake of argument, say that St. Bonaventure and Siena got invites to the Big East and joined for 2014-15.
Those are obviously "crazy" choices, since they "bring nothing to the table" in terms of NCAA success/deep runs.
Now, the schedule would be unbalanced, but let's ignore that for a second. Outside of the Bonnies, Siena hasn't beaten a member of their new league since at least 2002. So let's say they go 1-17 in the Big East, beating Bona at home.
Bona's better than Siena, and could win some home games against the bottom four -- not that they'd get all of them at home. (And they did have THREE top 50 RPI wins last year, including one on the road. So they're a little frisky. Let's say they go 3-15 in Big East play.
That's 4-32. The actual Big East went 90-90 against itself last season, which adds up to 94-122. That’s impossible. It has to be 108-108. So the Top 10 of the 12-team Big East would win 14 more games. Setting up a quick unbalanced schedule (Bona in the “west” and Siena in the “East,” creating fake travel partners and picking ONE cross-over to play twice)… you get new conference standings.
Nova, Prov, GT, Butler would basically be replacing replacing wins with wins.
But Xavier, St. John’s, Hall, Marquette are replacing 1-3 with 3-1 or 2-2.
You also get a bigger conference tournament, 5 vs 12, 6 vs 11 get extra wins. Seton Hall and Marquette are the big winner because Hall lost six games to Butler, Xavier, DePaul, Marquette and Creighton; And Marquette lost six to SJU, PROV, GT, Hall. Instead they get three wins over Siena/Bona.
The conference’s total SOS would go down slightly, because Siena and Bona have bad overall records. But that’s assuming the same OOC schedule (I added a win for Bona instead of losing at Siena; and I added two OOC wins to Siena for losing two MAAC conference games). But one extra win in this format negates the loss.
The new Big East would have been this:
NOVA 29-2 16-2 3-0 BET = NCAA (#8 RPI, -6
GTWN 22-9 13-5 1-1 BET = NCAA (#16 RPI, +9)
BUTL 23-9 13-5 0-1 BET = NCAA (#31 RPI, NC)
PROV 23-10 12-6 1-1 BET = NCAA (#22 RPI, NC)
STJN 22-10 11-7 1-1 BET = NCAA (#36 RPI, +8)
XAVR 24-11 11-7 3-1 BET = NCAA (#33 RPI, -4)
HALL 20-12 9-9 1-1 BET = NCAA/Bubble (#38 RPI, +47)
MARQ 18-13 9-9 1-1 BET = NIT (#77 RPI, +70)
CREI 14-18 5-13 0-1 BET (#124 RPI, +27)
DEPL 12-20 5-13 0-1 BET (#192 RPI, +5)
BONA 12-17 3-15 0-1 BET (#165 RPI)
SIENA 9-21 1-17 0-1 BET (#172 RPI)
And again, that’s with Bona/Siena’s OOC schedules from the A-10/MAAC. With money to play with and knowing their Big East slate awaits, they could schedule the weakest OOC imaginable and try and go 12-0 / 11-1 OOC.