It would be real easy for me to sit down and pen a column about the fact that the Big East has sent to ACC teams, Syracuse (who leaves after the season) and Louisville (who will spend one more year in the league before bouncing) to the Final Four.
I could write that in my sleep.
I’ve done it already, right before the Big East tournament.
But the more I think about it, the happier that I am that the Big East finally blew up, because what it had become was a bloated, watered down disaster. Georgetown and SMU? Providence and Central Florida? Seton Hall and Houston? Who has any desire to see those teams play?
Hell, I wouldn’t be all that upset if they traded DePaul for someone like St. Joseph’s or La Salle or VCU.
The bottom line is that this season’s version of the conference — the one that still counted Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville and Rutgers as members — still isn’t what the Big East was in it’s glory days. Not when UConn plays Syracuse, Pitt, Villanova and Georgetown once in a season while drawing home-and-homes with South Florida and DePaul. That’s the Big East basketball we all reminisce about? St. John’s looking to get revenge for an early-season loss at home to Tulsa?
But that’s the beauty of Louisville and Syracuse both making the Final Four this season.
You see, one day, I think the new Big East will eventually have a chance to be as relevant as the Big East was in its glory days. It’s loaded with schools that value and invest money in basketball. Butler, Xavier, Georgetown, St. Louis, Creighton, Marquette, Villanova. Those are all really good basketball programs that will make annual pushes deep into the tournament. And, once they start playing each other two or three times in a season, rivalries will emerge. Butler and Marquette already seem to have a healthy dislike for each other after playing a couple of classics recently. You don’t think Georgetown and Xavier or St. Louis and Villanova can do the same? All it takes is one shoving match or one hard foul or one buzzer-beater.
Hell, the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry, one of the best in college basketball, grew out of John Thompson Jr. saying “Manley Fieldhouse is now closed.”
So I don’t think Big East basketball is dead. It’s going to be different, but it’s not dead.
But Syracuse and Louisville playing on the season’s final weekend is a not-so-subtle reminder that we screwed up an awesome thing with realignment.
I, for one, take a bit of happiness out of that.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.