Football and the television money it earns have changed the landscape of college athletics. As the major conferences continue to rise, some of their counterparts have tumbled into the shadows. Big East basketball in its current state teeters on the brink of surviving with great success or squeaking along in mediocrity. The new Big East is good almost across the board. From Villanova to Providence and everyone in between, eight of the teams through one month of this season are in a position to at least be on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Despite how much some things change in college athletics, you can still count on DePaul and Seton Hall being terrible. What the league lacks is a signature elite team this season. Villanova is the closest to earning that distinction as the Wildcats remain undefeated. A Wildcats’ win at Syracuse in two weeks would give the league that much-needed premier team it lacks. All that said, it’s a fun exercise to look at what this conference could have been in 2013-14 had conference realignment only existed in the sweet dreams of of athletic directors. Here’s what the league lost:
- Syracuse: 9-0, #7 KenPom, #2/#3 in the polls, wins vs. Indiana, Baylor.
- Pittsburgh: 9-0, #4 KenPom, unranked in both polls, wins vs. Penn State, Stanford.
- Notre Dame: 7-2, #50 KenPom, unranked in both polls, no quality wins.
- Louisville: 8-1, #1 KenPom, #6/#4 in the polls, win vs. Southern Miss.
- Connecticut: 9-0, #22 KenPom, #9/#12 in the polls, wins vs. Indiana, Florida, Maryland.
- Cincinnati: 7-1, #31 KenPom, unranked in both polls, win vs. North Carolina State.
- South Florida: 6-2, #120 KenPom, unranked in both polls, win vs. Alabama.
- Rutgers: 4-6, #198 KenPom, unranked in both polls, no quality wins.