Hello, college basketball fans!
It seems like most of the changes in conference realignment have been decided primarily due to some other sport (one that can't spell the word playoff). The results of recent realignments have led to larger conferences (17 in the Big East, 14 in the A-10) and geographically spread out conferences (the Big East will stretch from Connecticut to Texas). Some of these moves have have put awful basketball teams into major conferences and diluted the product of these conferences.
So, I decided to make my own realignment. My main goals are to create more geographically friendly conferences which are more competitively balanced from a college basketball standpoint (upgrade teams that belong in stronger conferences and kick out the dead weight teams getting a free ride due to football or other reasons).
Part 1 contains conferences primarily in the East and Midwest. Part 2 will contain conferences primarily in the South and West.
The Beasts of the East:
Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Wake Forest
In: Florida, Kentucky, Louisville
Out: Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech
It's time to return the ACC back to a basketball conference. Obviously, their attempt at becoming a football conference hasn't done so well. The three Big East members most recently added leave (Boston College was competitive from a basketball standpoint but move back to the Big East which makes more sense).
To add to Duke and North Carolina, I add the two Kentucky schools and Florida. Imagine these five schools all in the same conference! The SEC really doesn't care much about college basketball outside of Kentucky and Florida (and maybe Tennessee) so let them join a conference that appreciates good college basketball. OK, having Kentucky and Louisville in an "Atlantic" conference is a stretch, but it's not as bad as some of the other geographical misfits.
Boston College, Connecticut, Georgetown, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Syracuse, Temple, Villanova, West Virginia
In: Boston College, Penn State, Temple
Out: Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Rutgers, South Florida, TCU
No more 17-team conference. No more teams in the Central Time Zone or in Florida. The conference is now entirely a Northeastern conference. They won't have 11 teams in the tournament anymore, but they won't have dead weights DePaul, TCU, Rutgers or South Florida either. The only potential dead weight would probably be Penn State but they have made the Sweet 16 this decade, and if this carries over to football, I'm sure Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia won't mind playing Penn State. And Temple belongs in Big East basketball over the four dead weights (and is a lot closer to the other Big East schools) by a mile.
Butler, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Xavier
In: Butler, Cincinnati, Marquette, Notre Dame, Xavier
Out: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State
This is a personal preference, but I feel the Big Ten should be entirely East of the Mississippi. I hate having Iowa and Minnesota in the Big Ten, and of course, Nebraska is even worse. Nebraska has never won an NCAA Tournament game. And Northwestern? They've never even made the NCAA's! We add Cincinnati, Marquette and Notre Dame from the Big East in exchange for Penn State and give Butler and Xavier their chance.
The Next Level
Great Midwest (New Conference):
Creighton, DePaul, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Northwestern, Southern Illinois, St. Louis, Western Kentucky
This conference takes the dead weights and/or geographic misfit teams from the Big East, Big Ten and Big 12 while giving the opportunity for Missouri Valley Conference teams and Western Kentucky a chance to upgrade (St. Louis is probably a lateral move from the A-10). All 12 teams in this conference preside in the Central Time Zone.
The Raided (Conferences that lost significant members)
Bradley, Drake, Eastern Illinois, Evansville, Illinois State, IUPU-Fort Wayne, IUPU-Indianapolis, Indiana State, Murray State, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Western Illinois, Wichita State
In: Eastern Illinois, Murray State, IUPU-Fort Wayne, IUPU-Indianapolis, SIU-Edwardsville, Western Illinois
Out: Creighton, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois
With four teams upgrading to the Great Midwest, the MVC adds two Indiana and three Illinois teams (three Summit League teams and two Ohio Valley Conference team) and Murray State gets an upgrade from the OVC. The league now has four teams from Indiana and five from Illinois (along with Drake, Wichita State, and Murray State).
Cleveland State, Detroit, Eastern Illinois, Green Bay, Illinois Chicago, Loyola (IL), Milwaukee, Oakland, Wright State, Youngstown State
Obviously this isn't the same conference without Butler. To replace them, I took Oakland from the Summit League to rival with Detroit.
Charlotte, Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, LaSalle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Richmond, Rutgers, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s
Out: St. Louis, Temple, Xavier
Obviously the A-10 lost its two best members in Xavier and Temple, who get upgrades to the big boys. I moved St. Louis out so that will help the conference save a lot of travel miles. But hey, you get Rutgers back. Try to contain your emotions.
America East, Colonial, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Northeast, Patriot
Tune in for Part 2 which features the Southern and Western conferences.