The Big East coaches and athletic directors are in Florida right now, and according to every single report from the meetings, it appears likely that they will push through an all-inclusive Big East tournament once realignment has finished turning the league into a barely recognizable, watered-down extension of Conference USA.
That last sentence was a bit vague. Let me be more specific: they want all 18 teams to be invited, which would turn the tournament into a six-day event.
And you wonder why the Big East was run into the ground?
The bottom-line is that this move would simply make no sense. For starters, the first round of the event — which would take place on a Monday, exactly one day after the end of the Big East’s regular season — would involve four teams with absolutely no shot of a) bringing any kind of fan base into the arena or b) making any postseason event outside of the Big East’s.
Are there really going to be DePaul fans making the trek from Chicago to see the Blue Demons partake in a Big East play-in game against SMU for the right to play South Florida in the second round? Ignoring the fact that bringing an entire basketball program — band, cheerleaders and training staff included — to New York City is not a financially responsible undertaking for an athletic department that, most likely, is operating in the red, does it really make sense to spend the money to rent out Madison Square Garden when you couldn’t get 500 New Yorkers to attend Monday’s games by giving away tickets and offering $1 beers served by chicks in bikinis and dudes in speedos?
What’s crazier is that the money would be spent on people that may not actually want to partake in the event.
Believe me — a losing season in sports is not fun. Knowing that you are playing out your final games for nothing more than pride and scholarship money is not exactly a great way to motivate. As much as a trip to the Big East tournament is a memory for the best teams in the league, there are times where it is a burden for the bottom-feeders. After a grueling season, five month season that includes very few off days, how many of those players are actually going to want to go all the way to New York to play in a game against another crappy team with no one in the stands and no one watching on TV?
“We played at the Garden in front of as many people as they get for the Chelsea Piers over-40 men’s league title game.”
That sure is a great memory to make.
Bigger is not always better.