Mike Aresco

The Big East’s new TV deal could include a name change

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Well, everything else about the conference is about to change, why not the name?

That’s a possibility for the Big East Conference, which just got a new — albeit, low paying — television deal from ESPN, according to a story by CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler.

It was possibly part of the plan in the conference’s failed TV deal with NBC, in which they could sell the name to the seven catholic schools that will break away from the conference to form their own league. The provision would provide the Big East (or what is currently the Big East) $2 million NBC could’ve used to market a new conference name.

That deal could be included in the deal with ESPN. A document was sent to the Catholic Seven in December, with a section of that document asking if they’d like to retain the conference’s name.

Let’s be honest, it’d no longer be the Big “East”, anyway. Even without Boise State and San Diego State, there’s still Tulane, Memphis and SMU coming into the conference. Even though it hasn’t really been “east” since the inclusion of Louisville, Marquette, Cincinnati and DePaul in 2005.

As Fowler points out, the name change probably holds more meaning to the basketball schools, who shaped the culture of the old Big East Conference. Though, when you think about it, the only team sticking around in the “new” Big East that will care about the name is Connecticut. They helped make the Big East into what it was in the 80s and 90s. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and, at least from a more modern standpoint, Louisville — who helped up the conference’s stature in the 00s — are all bolting for the ACC.

The article also brings up the issue of how much money selling the conference name could bring in. If it does bring in a high-dollar amount, say around eight digits, this is a viable option. And honestly, it’s a good one. Conference’s have been changing names forever, there’s just more money in realignment and it’s more high-profile now. Names aren’t as sacred as they used to be.

So why not sell off the name? To traditionalists who value the memories of a great conference in its prime, it’s better to look back at the Big East Conference and remember the good times, rather than know that there is still a Big East Conference that isn’t even a shell of its former self, it’s a total genetic mutation.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown:

Niang, Morris lead No. 14 Iowa State past No. 24 Texas

Iowa State forward Georges Niang drives past Texas guard Tevin Mack, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After falling at Texas Tech for the second straight season midweek, No. 14 Iowa State needed to bounce back with No. 24 Texas visiting Hilton Coliseum. The return of Jameel McKay, who was suspended for two games, certainly helped the Cyclones and the play of Georges Niang and Monte Morris was key as well. But the biggest difference on this night was the fact that Iowa State was able to limit the effectiveness of Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor.

 

Taylor scored just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field, and with Morris and Niang scoring 24 points apiece the Cyclones won by the final score of 85-75.

Taylor had multiple opportunities to make plays around the basket thanks to his ability to beat defenders off the bounce, but he struggled to finish. Add in a 0-for-4 night from three, and Texas’ most dangerous offensive option was unable to duplicate his performance in the first meeting between the two teams. In Texas’ 94-91 overtime win over the Cyclones January 12, Taylor scored 28 points and dished out six assists with just one turnover, shooting 11-for-17 from the field.

Four Longhorns finished in double figures, with Tevin Mack and Javan Felix scoring 18 apiece, but with Morris decisively winning the point guard matchup Texas was unable to pick up the win on the road.

For Iowa State the aforementioned tandem of Morris and Niang performed as they did in the first meeting, which should come as no surprise. What helped them, especially when it came to Texas attacking the basket, was the presence of McKay. McKay finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes of action, and to have their best interior defender back on the floor certainly helped the Cyclones on this night.

With their lack of depth Iowa State’s margin for error is small, especially when it comes to foul trouble, injuries and disciplinary reasons. Even with Texas’ size advantage Iowa State outscored them in the paint 48-34, and McKay’s defensive ability factored into that. The Cyclones can put points on the board with the best of them, but at some point they’ll need to string together stops as the games get even bigger.

Iowa State managed to do that down the stretch, with Morris and Niang running the show offensively. And that’s a good formula to be able to rely upon as the season approaches its most important month.