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One Division Format
By Alan Tieuli
Hope you enjoy watching Virginia Tech versus Notre Dame on Saturday. There's a possibility you'll be seeing
that match-up every year.
In his weekly media conference call Thursday, Irish head coach Mike Brey acknowledged that talk has reached his
desk about the Big East Conference abolishing its two divisions and going to one division
where all 14 Big East members would play each other during the regular season at least
"With us not playing Virginia Tech in two years, and them being
in the other division, this feels like a non-conference game a little this weekend,"
Brey said. "But with the talk of not being divisions anymore, you worry about them
becoming really good."
The Big East has had two seven-team divisions the past three seasons
and Notre Dame has thrived in the format. The
Irish conference record during that span is 29-14 (.674).
No squad in the Big East has won more games during this stretch. Brey's team won the West Division title in
2001, second in 2002, and is tied in the loss column for first this season.
The Irish have fattened up their division record by feasting on
The primary objective with this move would be insuring that every
team meet during the regular season. Logically,
one would figure the folks in
Within the conversations, however, it has been acknowledged that
there is value to having two separate division races and that rivalries within the West
and East divisions are starting to bud.
"We have discussed the situation. Whatever the conclusion,
any change would have to be approved the conference's Presidents," John Paquette, the
Big East's communications director, told IrishEyes.
There was no indication how the proposed change would affect the
season-ending Big East Tournament. Many people
have been critical of the fact that not every team makes it to the season-ending soiree at
UCLA TALK: Would Brey listen if Westwood came calling?
The Los Angeles Times this week reported that current UCLA coach Steve Lavin – almost certain to be fired at
year end due to the Bruins' 5-16 collapse this season – has named Brey as one of
several potential successors. Among the
What about it coach?
"Frankly, I thought all of that would end when I left
Brey did not indicate whether he has spoken directly to Lavin
recently, but noted that the current Bruin coach probably just floated Brey's name
out of respect.
"He is probably being just a good friend, I talked to him a lot
when we were assistants," said Brey. "I'm focused on what we are doing
here. They can deal with that out there."
LOST LEADS, BUT NO LOST SLEEP: If you are wondering what Brey is doing these
days to figure out why Notre Dame is in the habit of squandering double-digit leads, stop. The coach couldn't care less about the lapses,
as long as things work out in the end.
"Here's how I'm going to look at it," Brey said,
referring directly to his team's loss of a 15-point lead Tuesday night at
Notre Dame has lost significant leads in the second-half versus
"I'm not going to overanalyze what's going on at the
mark," said Brey. "But, man, at two minutes, when it's close, you're
glad you got someone to make a fearless play, like Chris Thomas."
Brey has the answer to all the gnashing of teeth over this.