With Connecticut joining Big East Basketball, there could be additional expansion for the conference. Let’s take a look at what other teams they could look to add in the future.
Dominating the recent college basketball news cycle is the announcement that Connecticut will return to Big East Basketball in 2020 after spending seven years in the AAC. For some, the news does not come as a great surprise, returning the Huskies to the league where Jim Calhoun built a national power in the early 2000’s. While this move seems to disregard the Huskies football program, it does mean good news for the Big East and the school as a whole.
The news of expansion brings the number of Big East Schools up to 11 while taking one of the most historically talented programs out of the AAC. There is not expected to be another announcement about expansion, and the Big East could propose a 20-game round robin conference schedule, bringing balance to the conference. However, there definitely remains the potential for the Big East to add another member, bringing them to an even 12 teams.
Expansion for the Big East is tricky these days, since the conference no longer sponsors football. Connecticut’s regard for their football program notwithstanding, it’s very unlikely that new Big East programs have a football team. Schools like Cincinnati or Memphis that would seem to be great basketball fits would not work, since they’d be abandoning the AAC but have nowhere for their football programs to move.
Despite this, there remains a pretty decent group of schools that would make a fine addition to the Big East. Obviously, the conference could stay at 11 teams and still be an extremely talented conference. They already add Connecticut to a group that includes Villanova, Marquette, and Butler, perennial postseason stalwarts. We’re going to isolate five potential additions to the Big East, looking at positives and negatives to each of their inclusions. There may be no perfect answer, but there’s certainly some good choices out there.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five potential Big East additions.