I’m just as sick of talking about realignment as you are.
That’s why this is really the only post that I’ve written on the subject since Maryland and Rutgers decided to set this entire process back in motion.
At this point, however, it’s worthless to bemoan the fact that rivalries have been destroyed, the Big East has been turned into a pile of Conference USA’s ashes and we’ll now have SMU-Providence and Rutgers-Nebraska as intraconference rivalries.
What we should be doing is figuring out a way to make the Big East’s basketball schools salvageable and nationally relevant. And Pete Thamel of SI.com floated an interesting idea in a column this afternoon:
There has been preliminary and very informal discussion about whether a national basketball-only league could be formed if the Big East dissolves, according to a television executive.
Specific teams have not been talked about, but the thought would be to create a power basketball league that spans the country — think Georgetown to Gonzaga — that could maximize visibility, profitability and exposure, though it may continue to pale in comparison to football.
“I think there’s been chatter about, ‘Can that exist?'” said one television executive. “It’s going to be hard to justify rights fees for the Big East putting Providence and Central Florida on. There has to be some sort of chatter: ‘Is there anything out there better?'”
The executive added: “I think that would be attractive. It would be naive of me to say that no one has thought of that.”
Big East schools resisted adding San Diego State in basketball because of travel cost and a lack of desire to go that far. But could desperate times open up the door for a national hoops league?
Is that ideal? San Diego State and Georgetown inhabiting the same conference?
But it’s a sign that at least one person is thinking about college hoops as they lay waste to collegiate athletics as we know it.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.