The Big East’s loss—seven big ones, in fact—is the ACC’s gain.
The seven Catholic schools remaining in the Big East have agreed to leave the flagging conference, according to an ESPN report, freeing two other outbound members from a looming lame duck season.
ACC-bound schools Notre Dame and Louisville, whom the Big East has been holding in limbo, will be able to bypass the mandatory 27-month waiting period and tip-toe to their new league as their old one lays in ruin. The two brand-name universities will join fellow renegades Syracuse and Pittsburgh in the ACC next fall.
While officials from DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova sort out a makeshift, basketball-centric league that will become their new dwelling, ACC reps can raise their glasses and toast to the newest beast of college basketball beginning a year ahead of schedule.
All four schools headed to the ACC were tabbed as preseason top-five teams in the Big East. Depending upon the ACC’s willingness to add one more member, a fifth Big East mainstay—be it a renewed Connecticut program under Kevin Ollie or a steadily rising Cincinnati program under Mick Cronin—could be next.
John Swofford isn’t getting the unwanted leftovers of Mike Aresco’s soon-defunct conference. He’s getting more core entrees, adding to a table that already displays Duke, North Carolina, Florida State and an N.C. State program on the rise. With the Big East’s buffet turning to mush, Swofford can even hand-select any of the remaining leftovers that catch his eye. Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida, take your pick.
The seven basketball-oriented schools fleeing the Big East will have their moment in due time, but Thursday’s watershed news was another feather in the ACC’s cap. College basketball’s newest Roman Empire just accelerated its rise to power by a full year.