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Report: ‘Catholic 7’ to split following current academic year, keep Big East name

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In the eyes of many this season is essentially the “last hurrah” for the Big East Conference, as television dollars brought about by the importance of college football and the goal of non-FBS schools to control their own destiny has led to a permanent shredding of the fabric that made the conference what it once was.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse will move to the ACC at the end of the current season, and based on reports those two won’t be the only schools leaving.

According to a report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com the “Catholic 7” and the artists formerly known as the Big East have come to an agreement on both a split and the rights to the Big East name. The seven schools will be the “Big East” following the current season.

The questions now are: when do Notre Dame, Louisville and Rutgers get to leave; and which schools will join the “new” Big East?

According to McMurphy’s report there’s a chance Notre Dame moves to the ACC in 2013. But what about Louisville and Rutgers, with the latter committed to join the Big Ten?

If unable to join the ACC in 2013-14, the Fighting Irish would consider spending one season in the Catholic 7 league before moving to the ACC in 2014, a source said.

It’s unknown if the ACC could still add Notre Dame in 2013-14. However, Louisville, which also is leaving the Big East for the ACC, must wait until 2014 because it would disrupt the ACC’s football divisions and schedules, a source said. Rutgers also would not leave the Big East for the Big Ten until 2014.

As for the “new” Big East, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported on Thursday that the league may stop at nine teams, with Butler and Xavier the favorites to be approached for next season. According to ESPN the league would  look to add Creighton, Dayton and Saint Louis in 2014, moving to 12 members.

How many members will the Big East have? It’s a fluid situation at this point.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

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: