We all know the Big East was most likely evaluating several different options when it announced it intended to expand. TCU was recently added, mostly the strength of its football team and the opportunity to break into a new market. Villanova also reportedly has a standing invitation, but they haven't yet decided.
We also know there are schools that would love to get into the conference. According to the Boston Globe, it looks like UMass was one such school, but unsurprisingly, they were snubbed.
The Globe reports that UMass essentially made itself available, but the Big East was not interested:
Overtures were made on behalf of UMass to the Big East when the conference announced last month that it was adding two teams. The answer was a polite "not really interested.’’
It, of course, makes perfect sense for the Big East to have little interest. UMass, which is an FCS (I-AA) football school, unlike Villanova, has had some football success in the past, but most recently has only been a middle-of-the-road program. While they've had some decent basketball teams, the Big East absolutely has no need to add even good basketball programs at this point.
Obviously, Villanova is a good quick fix. They're already in the conference for basketball. But UMass, other than being a good geographic fit, really would add very little.