The news out of South Bend on Wednesday that Notre Dame has joined the ACC in all sports other than football and hockey means big things for the school's basketball program. Leaving the Big East for their new home was a great move for the Irish, and fans should be celebrating because of it.
Notre Dame was stuck in a bad situation in the Big East. The conference was losing good programs like West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, and could only replace them with teams like Houston, SMU and UCF.
After spending years as a basketball powerhouse, the Big East was left in shambles after conference realignment, and the Irish needed out. Luckily, being a national force in multiple sports has its upsides as the Irish garnered multiple offers from other conferences.
Notre Dame apparently chose the ACC over the Big 12, and I have to agree with that move.
While the Big 12 is also one of the top conferences in the country, they have lost a few good teams to conference realignment, namely Missouri and Texas A&M. The ACC hasn't lost anyone, instead gaining both Syracuse and Pittsburgh, making them college basketball's new premier conference.
While the Big Ten will own college basketball this season, in the future the ACC will rule.
Having national championship contenders like Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Syracuse helps, and having solid Top 25 contenders like Pitt, Florida State, Miami and the Irish will make the ACC tough to beat.
Playing in the best conference in the country has its perks, and Notre Dame will get to enjoy all of them.
Recruiting may be the best thing about playing in a tough conference. The top recruits want to play against the best players in the country to prepare for the NBA. With some of the game's best recruiters in the ACC we will see many recruits flock to the conference as it starts its domination of the college basketball world.
Notre Dame will benefit the most from this since they are unique in being the only team from the Midwest in the conference. Players in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and the rest of the Midwest who want to play ACC ball but don't want to go too far from home will be more than happy to play for the Irish.
Not only will they be getting homegrown recruits, but Notre Dame gains something from this transition that they didn't have in the Big East: a sphere of influence in the south.
A lot of very talented recruits play in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and the like, but Notre Dame struggled to draw them to South Bend. Now that they will play more games in the South during their conference schedule, they can begin to build a reputation there and soon have recruiting pipelines in the southeast as well as the Midwest.
These recruits will help Notre Dame become a national powerhouse once again, but they're not the only reason we could see the program improve over the next few years.
Playing in the nation's best conference also helps when it comes to seeding in the NCAA tournament. If the Irish win the ACC regular crown they will be almost guaranteed a No. 1 seed in March. If they come in second they should still compete for a top seed but will probably get a No. 2 seed.
By remaining competitive in a tough conference, the tournament committee awards teams because of their strength of schedule, and playing with so many elite teams will give the Irish a leg up on teams in weaker conferences like the Big East or Pac-12.
Thanks to their advanced seeding and better recruiting, we will likely see the Irish making deeper runs in the Big Dance. This move to the ACC is highly beneficial for the program, and it was the best thing the team could have done for itself.
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