Some well-meaning soul on Twitter recently floated the idea of bringing UConn back into the Big East, apparently in an attempt to ruin only one of the good and pure things this world has to offer. Here’s why that’s a bad idea.
- A double round robin is perfect. There is no chance that one team will gain an advantage by playing a weaker conference schedule or never having to visit the toughest arenas. Everyone visits everyone, everyone hosts everyone, everything is decided on the court.
- An 18-game conference schedule is ideal. This is already not a cake walk; Coach Mack has talked about how long it is until X gets a conference date off and how he’s giving rest days already. The league schedule begins (ideally) with the NYE blowout and runs up to the Big East tournament (see below). Adding to that would truncate the non-conference or compress the league schedule needlessly.
- A 10-team conference tournament makes sense. The worst four teams get dinged by having to play in, and the best two are rewarded by getting the winners of the plug-in games. After that, it’s three games in three days to determine who gets the crown. Adding to that formula either dilutes the contextual value of the conference season or makes the tournament a bloated, week-long monstrosity.
- UConn might not add value. If you take away things Jim Calhoun won or things won with players he recruited, it’s not clear that adding UConn is a boon to the league. There was a time VCU and Saint Louis were popular names thrown about for expansion. Exit Shaka Smart and Rick Majerus, and those are sliding towards obscurity and steamed garbage, respectively. Is UConn a power program on a bad coach, or was Jim Calhoun a great coach elevating a mediocre program?
- UConn has football, and football sucks. I know Nova has it too, and probably some other Big East schools, but the less the conference is beholden to the gridiron, the better. It’s bad for kids and bad for a basketball-focused conference.
We’ve made the Big East great again. Let’s keep it that way.