Its official: Temple will be joining the Big East. That’s coming from Brett McMurphy, and if Brett McMurphy is saying it, than you can pretty much believe it.
The way it stands right now, Temple’s football program will be added in 2012 while their basketball program won’t leave the Atlantic 10 until 2013. Normally, you have to give notice if you want to leave a conference, but since the Big East would be operating with just seven football teams next season with West Virginia’s departure, they needed to add another member. Basketball can be played with “just” 15 teams; football cannot be played with seven.
You can look at this two-fold. On the one hand, the addition of Temple — which is being made immediately because the Big East needs to add another football member — helps the basketball side of a league that is losing Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia in the very near future. Throw in the addition of Memphis, and Big East hoops may not drop as far as we initially thought.
It is, however, a major blow to the Atlantic 10. Temple, along with Xavier, is probably the best basketball program in that conference right now. Losing the Owls will hurt a lot.
In 2012-2013, Big East hoops will be losing West Virginia and dropping down to just 15 teams. But in 2013-2014, Temple, Memphis, UCF, SMU and Houston will all be added and the league will expand to 20 teams. Right now, Syracuse and Pitt are scheduled to leave for the ACC prior to the 2014-2015 season, dropping the Big East back 18 teams, but that date may end up getting pushed forward.
When all of the shifting and realigning is done, Big East hoops will look like this: Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, South Florida, SMU, Temple, UCF, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova.