What if College Basketball Ruled Conference Realignment?

Conference realignment has been the talking point all summer in college sports, mostly with football in mind.

As we dwell on the decision-making made by the power conferences and what lies ahead once the dust settles, we take some time to discuss what moves could have been made if college basketball had been at the forefront of the movement.

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Break Up the ACC

If you read this headline to someone six or seven years ago, they’d think you have lost your mind. The ACC was the pinnacle of college basketball, having a back-to-back stretch in 2017 and 2018 where they sent nine teams to the NCAA Tournament. Those days are long gone, and it may be time for some programs to move on. A 15-program conference may not have been the best decision, and perhaps it foreshadows what lies ahead for the Big 12 and SEC.

The Old Big East is Back

If the ACC is broken up, where does everybody go? We’re confident the Big East would gladly welcome back its past members with open arms. Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame can all return to their original home. And as for South Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and West Virginia? Given their current situation, we’re not sure they’d turn down the offer! The old Big East may be a closer proposition than most realize.

Pac-12 Super Conference?

Some terrific basketball has been played out west over the past few seasons. The likes of Gonzaga, San Diego State, Saint Mary’s, and even Utah State are all programs that have represented the West Coast well over the past decade. The problem? None of those teams represent the Conference of Champions! The Pac-12 has been in dire need of reinforcements for some time now, and we believe bringing those programs into the mix would make for a more competitive and successful league. While the other power conferences are strengthening at every turn, the West Coast has enough at the mid-major level to help the Pac-12 keep pace.

Promotion & Relegation Anyone?

While this is our most outlandish idea for college basketball conference realignment, it feels more feasible than football since you have over 300 programs participating on the same level. Having promotion and relegation between geographically aligned conferences would bring another level of excitement to collegiate sports and force programs to put their best foot forward every season. Seeing smaller schools make it up to the SEC or Big Ten would be another aspect of the Cinderella stories that are told yearly on the collegiate hardwood.

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Thumbnail photo via Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

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