Thursday, March 28, 2013

Let's Have a BIG EAST Reunion Tournament at MSG Each Year!

So the Big East ... as we knew it ... is dead.  We all will miss that tough conference schedule, but what most people will miss the most is that conference tournament in Madison Square Garden.

As the Sportz Assassin, I'd use my "Commish Of All Sports" power to force a preseason tournament at MSG featuring those current and former Big East teams.  Just like any of those other 8-team preseason dances, let's have one for the former Big East.

It would never happen in real life.  For one, that would mean that this would be their one preseason exempt tournament.  Another would be that these teams are facing 18-game skeds and they are already whining about having less space in their non-conference schedules.  You could schedule one of those double or triple headers at MSG, but that doesn't have the flavor of a true tournament.  Have a three day weekend deal -- maybe the Thursday thru Saturday runs.  And as the "Commish Of All Sports", I'd allow for this to be in addition to any tournaments these teams would want to be in and allow for this to be in addition to any non-con schedule.  We want it; make it happen.

So here would be the 8 teams that I'd want in this tournament every year. 

ONE OF THE CATHOLIC 7 OF THE "NEW" BIG EAST TEAMS:  This is easy.  Have one of those new Big East teams in this.  Georgetown would be nice.  Villanova, St. John's, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence or DePaul.  Not the newer teams like Xavier, Creighton or Butler.  No, one of the originals.  And, really, I'd rather have G'town, Nova, St. John's or Marquette above any of the others. (2014 rep:  Georgetown)

ONE OF THE FORMER BIG EAST TEAMS LEFT BEHIND:  Really that is just UConn, Cincinnati or South Florida.  No one cares about USF there, so UConn or Cincy.  Have them rotate year to year.  Start with UConn in the even seasons (2014 rep:  UConn).

ONE OF THE FORMER BIG EAST TEAMS IN THE ACC:  This one opens up a bit.  Not only would you have access to new ACC schools Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Louisville ... but you could also use Boston College, Miami or Virginia Tech.  If you wanted.  Of course, the Orange would be the big draw but you can rotate at least the other three ready to join (heck, Louisville is defending two-time tournament champ and will probably be favored to win the Old Big East tournament next year before joining the ACC).  There are your three really big dogs in your dance.  (2014 rep: Syracuse)

RUTGERS:  You need teams in here, and you cannot have teams in the same conference in this tournament.  Rutgers will be the lone Big East school in the Big Ten, so they get the nod.  It will help bring that "New York" thunder that the Big Ten thinks they're getting with the Scarlet Knights.  So Rutgers is in each and every year (2014 rep:  Rutgers)

WEST VIRGINIA:  They've been out of the league for a year as they are now a Big 12 school.  But bring them in.  Remember WV had that great run a few years back in the tournament, so they'd belong.  (2014 rep: West Virginia)

Now here is where the wrinkle comes in.  Unless you double up in a couple of leagues, you are out of Big East options.  No other conferences house former or current Big East schools.  So now you have to look to schools that weren't in the Big East.  To me, go for those mid-majors in the northeast.  You could add these teams according to who is hot.  Like maybe get LaSalle next year since they are a Sweet 16 team this year and people are getting familiar with them.  Or Albany since they made the dance this year.  Something like that.

ATLANTIC 10 TEAM:  Really the right thing to do.  Have one of the A-10 teams (hopefully from the northeast) in.  Someone like Fordham, Rhode Island, St Joe's, La Salle, George Washington, UMass.  If they wanted a bigger name, maybe reach down to VCU, Saint Louis or Dayton.  Either way, that would be nice to have a school from there into this tournament. (2014 rep: La Salle)

TWO MID-MAJOR TEAMS:  Again, take teams from the area.  Maybe someone from the Northeast Conference (Long Island U, FDU, Wagner, Monmouth), Patriot League (Army, Navy, Holy Cross), MAAC (Manhattan, Iona, Marist, St. Peter's), America East (Hartford, Stony Brook, Vermont, Albany, Boston).  (2014 rep: Albany and Long Island)

So here are the 8 teams in the first MSG Invitational to be held in the fall/winter of 2014:  Albany, Georgetown, LaSalle, Long Island, Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn, West Virginia 

The bracket will be:

#1-Georgetown vs #8-Long Island
#4-West Virginia vs #5-La Salle
#3-UConn vs #6-Rutgers
#2-Syracuse vs #7-Albany

Maybe 2015's looks like this:

#1-Louisville vs #8-Army
#4-VCU vs #5-West Virginia
#3-Cincinnati vs #6-Rutgers
#2-Villanova vs #7-Manhattan

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