How Will NCAA Conference Realignment Affect College Hoops?
The rumblings surrounding a massive overhaul of the college football landscape continued today.
With conference meetings being held this week, all eyes have been on the Big 12 and comissioner Dan Beebe following a report that the Pac-10 was preparing to offer membership to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Colorado in the coming days.
As a result of the proposed merger, the new Pac-"16" would feature two eight-team divisions, one comprised of Arizona, Arizona State, and the six Big 12 schools. The other would consist of the remaining Pac-10 schools.
While nothing is set in stone at this point, this appears to be the most valid scenario of all the the rumored configurations.
The Pac-10 hasn't been the only news maker in terms of expansion talks.
Since February, it has been said that the Big Ten has been attempting to court Texas and some of its Big 12 counterparts, though nothing has been confirmed on this front.
While any one of these new formats would greatly affect college football, it seems no one is concerned with another crucial element of college athletic programs: basketball.
There is no arguing that football is king, and in the end, it will likely dictate how the new formatting will pan out due to television contracts and the large amount of money involved.
However, on the basketball front, we could see some major chaos.
Let's examine some of the more likly scenarios:
Pac-10 gets Texas, Oklahoma, and other Big 12 schools
All of a sudden there is a huge power shift to the west coast.
Assuming UCLA returns to prominence and USC dosn't get completely decimated by the forthcoming NCAA report, the Pac-10 could become the ultimate college basketball conference.
Texas, UCLA, A&M, USC, Washington, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Arizona and Stanford are all tournament-capable teams. Texas Tech and Colorado aren't far behind, either.
The potential is there for a whopping NINE tournament bids. That's insane.
With the decimation of the Big 12 conference, you're left with the Pac-10, Big East, Big Ten, and the ACC as the only four relevant conferences in the nation (Kentucky will remain relevant in the SEC of course).
Big Ten grabs Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, and Nebraska
Much like the above scenario, there would be a huge power swing to the north.
Adding the consistently good Longhorns and up-and-comers A&M and Mizzou to a crop of teams that include Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, could make the Big Ten the conference to beat.
There would be some serious primetime action if Texas got together with Ohio State and Michigan State a few times a year. Talk about a ratings boost, and lord knows the Big Ten needs a pick-me-up.
What the heck happens to Kansas, Kansas St, and Baylor?
All this talk about new "super-conferences" isn't without its drawbacks.
While relatively quiet on the football front, Kansas, Kansas St, and more recently Baylor, all make some serious noise on the hardwood.
Bill Self's Kansas team is a good bet to get to the national championship every year, while Kansas St. and Baylor have proved they can play with, and beat, anyone in the country.
How do they get rewarded for their incredible success? Thrown out on their butts while the powerful football programs go wherever they please.
Because of their irrelevance in football, Kansas and company now sit in a lifeless void without a conference should one of the above(or any other) moves take place.
This seems unfair to me, so it likely won't sit well with fans in the state of Kansas and little Waco, Texas.
The ADs should seriously consider all aspects of their programs before they decide to rip the collegiate athletic world apart. Football is the money maker, but there is some serious pride and tradition on the line.
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