Last Wednesday, March 20th, the Big East that is to be starting this summer made an announcement with details of this new conference. It didn’t get much publicity at the time as most of the country was in full throttle mode of gearing up for the NCAA Tournament to start the next day, and I opted to delay a post on it for that some reason.
But here is what we now know as we have a minute to breathe:
As expected – Butler, Creighton and Xavier will be joining the so-called ‘Catholic 7’ (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova) to comprise the new conference that will still be called the Big East. Same name, half of the same teams, a few new additions, slightly smaller overall (going from 15 to 10 teams), but still packing a major punch on the national front.
Also, and equally important, it was made known that an agreement was reached that Madison Square Garden will continue to host the Big East Tournament through 2026. This is good news as MSG has become a staple of the Big East over the last 30 or so years.
And finally, the conference also has a TV deal lined up. “FOX Sports and its new national cable network, FOX Sports 1, will acquire television rights to all Big East game action, as part of a 12-year contract,” according to a release. “Under the broadcast partnership, FOX Sports will have television rights to a wide range of marquee Big East basketball games, including the annual Big East conference tournament.”
So there you have it – a 10 team Big East that will play its games on FOX Sports, and will still have its conference tournament in the Garden.
I, for one, am excited for this new league. There is no doubt that the loss of Syracuse, UConn, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame and Cincinnati will hurt at first, but this is still going to be a very good league with some high quality programs in it – Butler has gone to two national championships in the last five years, Xavier always puts out a quality product, and Creighton has begun to garner legitimate national attention in the past few years.
And I’m looking forward to the league being 10 teams (at least for one year anyway), as it will allow them to play a true round robin format in the 18-game conference schedule so that each team plays each other twice – once home and once away. This really is the best measure to determine an accurate regular season conference champion come the end of the season.
This ‘new’ Big East will likely take some getting used to next fall and we will never forget what it once was, but I have a feeling it won’t take long to embrace.