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UConn, Big East making expansion eyes at each other

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Rumor has it the Big East and UConn basketball are flirting with getting back together. Would that be a good thing for the league?

"Everybody slow your roll."
"Everybody slow your roll."
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Andy Katz reports that "a source with knowledge" (what the heck does that even mean?) has told him that the Big East would be very interested in taking on UConn for all other sports if UConn football joined the Big 12. Aside from the obvious - why would the Big 12 want UConn football but not their basketball programs? - this is a fun bit of news.

UConn would obviously be a great fit for the Big East just from a competition perspective. Under Kevin Ollie they've had an average finish of 38th in the KenPom rankings and made the tournament twice in the three years they've been eligible. His record of 7-1 in the big dance includes six straight wins in 2014, which is almost always good enough to win the title and indeed was for the Huskies. They play good defense and mediocre offense as a general rule, for whatever that's worth.

Recruiting hasn't been great, but it hasn't been awful. Their last four classes have averaged a #33 ranking according to 24/7 Sports, and that's propped up to an extent by their #8 position for the 2016 class. On the other hand, there's evidence that Ollie just needed to find a stride as a recruiter and is now going to start performing higher on a regular basis. It's also worth noting that the results have been there for UConn even when the recruiting hasn't.

Now the big question: should the Big East expand? Having UConn floating out there is an interesting prospect. One way to go about it would be to add just the Huskies and go to an 11-team league. A double round robin would probably still be possible, but that's stretching the limits of the format. You can't have a knockout tournament with 11 teams, but adding a rule to not invite DePaul the team that finished last in the conference cleans that up nicely.

The other possibility would be to add two teams and go to 12. The double round robin is out at this point, which sucks. I almost don't care what two teams you float; I'm not on board for abandoning that format in conference play. A 12-team league doesn't support two divisions, so you'd end up with some sort of round robin plus system like Xavier had in the A-10. Part of the joy of league play right now is that we have a return leg with everyone. Would you like the idea of playing at Creighton but not getting them at Cintas? I sure wouldn't.

Say for a moment though that we do live in a world where the Big 12 looks at a football team that is on a 21-40 streak since 2011 and says, "Gotta have 'em." Would the juice be worth the squeeze to add UConn basketball to the Big East?