Hello, college basketball fans!
This is Part 2 of my article to realign college conferences to make it more geographically friendly and more competitive from a college basketball standpoint (as opposed to college football calling all the shots). Here is Part 1. Part 2 will consist of conferences mainly in the South and West.
The Best of the West
Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa
In: Arkansas, LSU, Tulsa
Out: Iowa State
Iowa State was a bit far north and fit in better with Iowa, Minnesota and others from my Great Midwest Conference. I wanted to upgrade Conference USA members Memphis, UAB and Tulsa to higher conferences. Rather than just add the three C-USA members to the Big 12, I decided to draw the line between the SEC and Big 12 along the Mississippi River, moving Arkansas and LSU to the Big 12 and Memphis and UAB to the SEC. The result adds two teams that previously made the Final Four (Arkansas and LSU) to the Big 12. No matter who the Big 12 adds, they win by losing Colorado and Nebraska, two teams that have combined for one NCAA win since 1985.
Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State
I'm just going to leave the Pac-12 as is, allowing the two new teams to stay. Colorado hasn't done much in college basketball but neither has Oregon State. Maybe the Pac-12 should get rid of Colorado and Oregon State but where would they go (and I'm sure Oregon would object to Oregon State getting kicked out)?
Air Force, Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming
In: BYU (staying in MWC as opposed to leaving for WCC), Gonzaga, Utah State
This year, the two best teams west of the Mississippi River are from the MWC. Gonzaga clearly needs an upgrade over the WCC and Utah State would be a great addition to the league. If the MWC adds Gonzaga and Utah State and keeps BYU, I think the MWC could be as good as or even better than the Pac-12 in most years (although Utah could help the Pac-12.
The Raided (Conferences that lost significant members)
Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Memphis, Miami, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UAB, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech
In: Memphis, Miami, UAB, Virginia Tech
Out: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, LSU
Yeah, who wants college basketball to get in the way of college football? So I did the SEC a favor and upgraded all the SEC teams that actually once had success in college basketball to the ACC and Big 12 and gave the SEC two ACC college basketball dead weights who would probably fit into the SEC's football first basketball second philosophy. Only two teams from this conference have made the Final Four since 1985 (Mississippi State and Memphis, who is new).
Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Rice, SMU, South Florida, Southern Mississippi, TCU, Texas El Paso, Tulane
In: Louisiana Tech, South Florida, TCU
Out: Memphis, Tulsa, UAB
Another conference that gets a downgrade as the top basketball schools leave for greener pastures. South Florida and TCU can fit in with their in state rivals rather than have to travel to the cold weather for most if not all of their road games. I also did Louisiana Tech a favor by getting them out of the WAC.
Denver, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Seattle, St. Mary’s
In: Denver, Seattle
Out: BYU (not coming), Gonzaga
Obviously the conference hurt the worst from teams leaving (or never coming in the case of BYU). This is a private school league and the only other private schools I could find in the west are Pacific (who I think is comfortable in the Big West), Denver, and Seattle. At least the good news for the WCC is that they won't have to compete with Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament anymore. Four of the seven WCC teams (not counting Gonzaga) have not made the NCAA tournament since 2000. Maybe they have a chance now.
Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Hawaii, Long Beach State, Pacific, Sacramento State, San Jose State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara
In: Sacramento State, San Jose State
Hawaii coming in adds a lot of credibility to the Big West. San Jose State has to go somewhere and fits in well here. Sacramento State can't enjoy being in the Big Sky, traveling to Montana and Idaho all the time and would love to be here in the Big West.
Eastern Washington, Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, New Mexico State, North Dakota, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Southern Utah, Weber State
In: Idaho, New Mexico State
I have nowhere else to put Idaho and New Mexico State and Idaho and Idaho State can renew their in state rivalry.
Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, South Alabama, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, Troy
In: Texas-San Antonio, Texas State
Out: Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky moves up to the Great Midwest and the two proposed new members of the WAC move here instead (still an FBS conference and they can fit in with North Texas).
Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Southeast Missouri State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Tennessee Martin
Out: Eastern Illinois, Murray State, SIU-Edwardsville
Just thought the Illinois schools fit in better with a more northern conference (Missouri Valley) and for Murray State it is an upgrade to the MVC (Murray State has been by far the dominant team in the OVC.
Summit/Great West (Merge):
Chicago State, Houston Baptist, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Missouri-Kansas City, North Dakota State, Oral Roberts, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Texas-Pan American, Utah Valley
Eventually my hope is that NJIT moves to an Eastern conference but they remain here for now. Chicago State could probably afford to move as well.
No changes:Atlantic Sun, Big South,Southern, Southland (UT-San Antonio and Texas State are leaving), SWAC
WAC: RIP (what's the point keeping them around?)
With the new Great Midwest Conference, the WAC disbanding, and the Great West merging into the Summit, there will still be 31 automatic bids if all of these changes are made.