Big East stronger than ever

For those of you who haven't picked up a Syracuse newspaper this week and flipped through the sports section, here's an update on what happened at Friday's basketball media day.

Jim Boeheim, in typical form, dived into a rant when asked about the ACC – Big East fiasco.

"I've heard about the death of the Big East for a lot of years. I can't remember because I'm not thinking about it, but who won the f---ing national championship last year? I think someone won it from the Big East. Let's not give up the ship yet."

From the football side, Boeheim's obviously off point. The two best teams in the Big East right now are Virginia Tech and Miami. Undoubtedly, the Big East will have a problem getting a BCS bid a few years down the line.

But Boeheim is a basketball coach and if you're looking strictly in terms of a basketball standpoint, Boeheim's got a point. For Big East basketball, the defections of Miami and Virginia Tech don't have a tremendous impact on the fate of the basketball side of the Big East.

Miami and Virginia Tech finished dead last in the Big East east division. Out of the three teams leaving, Boston College, the winner of the east division will leave the biggest hole.

The conference still has yearly powerhouse Connecticut along with rising program Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. St. Johns and Georgetown were each in the finals of the NIT postseason tournament while Seton Hall and Providence finished with better than .500 records.

As for Rutgers and West Virginia? Well, the Big East needs someone to be in the cellar.

The strange thing is, from the basketball side, a newly formatted Big East actually means a stronger conference.

Out of the potential candidates for a newly formatted conference, talks of bringing in Louisville and Cincinnati have surfaced.

Just a few years ago, Cincinnati was the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Just last year, Rick Pitino and his Cardinals were ranked No. 2 before tapering off at the end of the year. And as an added bonus of the Cardinals potentially coming to the Big East, Pitino recently signed high school star Sebastian Telfair, one of the most heavily recruited guards in the nation.

"The bottom line is we'll end up with a good conference," Boeheim said. We'll have a better basketball conference I convinced."

"People forget a few years ago that Miami was coming off a 2-10 season and Virginia Tech when they came into our league they were coming off a 2-9 season. Leagues can help make programs. Not the other way around. I think we have to be mindful of that."

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