Big Ten Basketball Ramifications

Yesterday, I discussed my reasoning for Pitt to NOT join the Big Ten. My rambling focused mostly on the football side of things, so I'd like to weigh in on the basketball side.

Basketball coach Jamie Dixon let his thoughts be known:
"I can't see how any team would improve where they're at by movement," Dixon said.

"To me, every situation you have to look at why you're doing it — to improve yourself — and I can't see how moving from the best conference in college basketball history would be a good thing for anybody.
Of course Dixon didn't get it ALL right:
"I know football and all the other sports factor in, as well, but that has to be of utmost consideration. We've got bowl tie-ins greater than any other conference, as far as percentages. What do we have to change for, any team in our conference? This thing just keeps getting better.
Seriously, did you have to say THAT? Percentages maybe, but the league bowl tie-ins are 'ghastly' as Simon Cowell would put it. The Big Ten bowl lineup would be one of the better things to happen to Pitt if they joined the conference.

Anyway. Dixon had more than just a passing comment about it, too.

Basketball is another reason why I think Pitt should stay put. On top of the reasons I outlined yesterday, Dixon got part of it right. Pitt is in the best basketball league in college basketball. And no, this isn't a contradiction over what I said yesterday. It doesn't matter that Pitt is in a tough basketball conference because there's actually a playoff system in college basketball. Losing one or even a handful of games doesn't throw you out of the championship picture as it can in football. It is to their benefit to be in the Big East for basketball for recruiting, image, etc. Yes, you can say the same about football, but as I pointed out, Pitt would have a much harder time trying to compete for a championship in the Big Ten for football.

Another thing - I've seen/heard a lot of comments saying that Pitt has to go to the Big Ten because if they don't, Rutgers or Syracuse will. I'm sorry, but when exactly did Rutgers or Syracuse football ever become a national football power? Losing Rutgers or Syracuse would be a loss as they're in a major market, but really, how would that significantly affect the Big East? The conference would still have one or the other along with St. John's and Seton Hall basketball in that market. Yes, losing Syracuse basketball would be a significant loss from a competitive standpoint, but with UCONN, Pitt, Georgetown, Louisville, Nova, and others, the Big East would still be considered as one of the best, if not the best, basketball conference in the country.

Losing either of those two schools won't threaten the Big East's automatic BCS birth the way the ACC defections nearly did. Pitt will replace one of those teams with a school that might not fit quite as well, but will be adequate.

Let me be clear about one thing, however. If Pitt is invited to the Big Ten, I think they WILL go. Money speaks louder than even competing for championships and there would certainly be more money for Pitt in the Big Ten. All I'm saying is that from a COMPETITIVE standpoint, Pitt would be making a mistake in my opinion.

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