We weren't big fans of ACC expansion, although we understood the arguments
for it. But post-expansion, and post-Big East expansion, we're intrigued
by how the conferences are doing. The Big East, in our opinion, got a bit
cocky, without even a season under their belt as a bloated modern
conference. And bragging about basketball (i.e., "almost all our
teams have been to Final Fours, even if some of them were thirty years
ago") helps to overlook the tension between the purely basketball schools
and those with football ambitions.
In other words, the seeds of a potential split are there.
But enough football. As far as basketball goes, how are they stacking
up? According to Jeff Sagarin, both are behind the Big Ten, but the Big
East is in third place. How about the individual breakdowns? Here's
what Sagarin sees and we sorted the tables by his ratings:
As you can see, the ACC stacks up reasonably well. The Big East has two
teams in the Top Ten; the ACC counters with #1 Duke. The ACC has five in
the Top 25; the Big East has four.
We'd argue that you can already safely rule out some teams from both
conferences when it comes to NCAA play. From the ACC, Virginia will not make
it. Miami most likely won't. Florida State and Georgia Tech have no
From the Big East, South Florida likely won't see any post-season play, and
St. John's, Seton Hall, and Providence will probably not go either. West
Virginia, DePaul, Rutgers, and Notre Dame may or may not go. The
Mountaineers went last year, and made a big splash, but you'll recall that it
was a close shave.
Certainly, at this point, there is no particular evidence that the Big East
is an uberconference.
ESPN's bracketology projects the following teams as NCAA-worthy:
ACC: Duke, Maryland, UNC, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Boston College.
Big East: Pitt, Villanova, Cincinnati, Syracuse, UConn, Louisville,
So if you go by sheer numbers, by this projection, the Big East has the advantage. But percentage-wise, the ACC is ahead.
The debate continues!