- Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider
Realignment. We all know it was football-driven, but it had plenty of impact on college hoops. The Big East, as we knew it, is gone. The American Athletic Conference was born from realignment and looks fairly strong -- for now. (Louisville will leave in 2014.)
The new, all-powerful ACC can raise its hand as the clear-cut victor of realignment, adding Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame this season and Louisville next season.
But who are the losers?
With college basketball around the corner -- practice begins in less than a month -- it’s time to take a look at the conferences that took the biggest hit via realignment.
1. Big East
Just two seasons ago, the league sent a record 11 teams to the NCAA tournament. It had eight teams in the field in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Now it’ll be lucky to get a handful. The new-look Big East has 10 members, and it’s a basketball-centric conference. Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame left for the ACC, and Louisville, UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida and Rutgers will also head into the American Athletic Conference.
The good news is that there isn’t much disparity from the top team, whatever it may be this season, and the seventh or eighth team in the league. Xavier, Creighton and Butler were added, but the Bulldogs will take a significant hit with the departure of Brad Stevens to the NBA and the loss of key player Roosevelt Jones. The Bluejays have a chance to win the league this season, but will they remain contenders in the post-Doug McDermott era?
Realignment. We all know it was football-driven, but it had plenty of impact on college hoops. The Big East, as we knew it, is gone. The American Athletic Conference was born from realignment and looks fairly strong -- for now.