Monday, October 27, 2014

Conference realignment recap

More teams changed places this year.  Let's catch everyone up on who changed places, and what it means for your brackets.

Conference #1:  Maryland and Rutgers to the Big 10

Remember when the ACC had 9 teams, and was king of the college basketball world?  Then they went to 11 teams, then 12, then 14 and now 15.  Slowly, they've eroded.  UNC and Duke are still good, but the middle-to-back of the conference got progressively weaker, and the resumes of the bubble teams suffered from the loss of round-robin play.  Teams that could count on 4 chances at signature wins only got 2 or 3.  The more teams, and more mediocre teams there were, the more it hurt the ACC.

This is what will happen to the B1G, unless Maryland rebounds a bit.  With 12 teams, each team played 7 home and homes in conference play.  That's down to 5 with 14 teams.  Less chances at signature wins.  More erosion.  It'll look subtle at first, but it'll be there.

Conference #2:  The ACC trades Maryland for Louisville

And the ACC, after suffering from expansion as described above, get a boost back in the other direction.

Conference #3:  The American changes everywhere.  Louisville and Rutgers out.  Tulsa, Tulane, and East Carolina in.

Last year, the bottom half of the AAC was terribad, and it directly hurt the conference.  SMU missed the tournament, and everyone, including the champs UConn, got underseeded.  All because the rest of the conference dragged them down.

And now, no Louisville, and two more potential albatrosses (Tulane, ECU).  Uh-oh.  Study the numbers for this conference closely.  Tulsa might end up being a decent add, to be fair.

Conference #4:  CUSA with big changes again.  Out are East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa.  In is Western Kentucky

Actually not a bad deal for CUSA.  Got rid of two albatrosses, and Tulsa/WKU is close enough to say that trade is a wash.  CUSA is a sneaky place for an at-large bid to emerge this year, IMO.

Conference #5:  The Sun Belt makes football moves.  In comes Appalachian St and Georgia Southern.  Out goes Western Kentucky.

A massive underachiever of a conference, it just gets 10 times worse now, with no WKU.  This is nowhere near a top 15 conference.

Conference #6:  The A-10 adds Davidson.

This gets the A-10 to 14 teams.  Overall effect on the conference:  neutral.  We'll have to wait and see how Davidson does with the upgrade.

Conference #7:  The SoCon got busy.  Out is Davidson, also loses Elon and Georgia Southern.  In comes East Tennessee St, Mercer, and VMI.

Obviously Davidson is the key here.  They were the one program that could elevate the conference to relevancy.  With them gone, it'll be a battle for them to avoid the 16 line.  Mercer does brings a lot of recent success to the conference.  The new adds show more potential than Elon and GSU ever had, but this conference will have to fight to be a top 20 conference going forward.

Conference #8:  Oral Roberts gives up on the Southland, goes back to the Summit.

Minor blow to the Southland, minor boon to the Summit.  Not a big enough move to warrant major changes to projections in the two conferences.

Conference #9:  The A-Sun loses Mercer and East Tennessee St,a dds...nothing?

This puts them in direct fire of the play-in game.  FGCU should roll this conference this year.

Conference #10:  The Colonial adds Elon.

The CAA has fallen on very hard times recently.  Elon won't change that.

Conference #11:  The Big Sky takes Idaho from the WAC.

No effect on either conference, really.

There you go.  This, at least for the moment, is the end of basketball realignment.

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