Will the Catholic 7 or the Big East leftovers keep the relationship with Madison Square Garden? Or could the ACC swoop in and play its conference tournament in the World's Most Famous Arena?
Buried at the bottom of Andy Katz, Brett McMurphy and Dana O'Neil's initial report on the Catholic 7 leaving the Big East was this juicy morsel of information.
Meanwhile, a source with knowledge of the Big East's deal with Madison Square Garden told ESPN.com that MSG is "covered" and can get out of the contract if the league continues to change its membership.
Change in membership, you say? Well, with DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova all taking their backyard shootyhoops set and going home, Big East basketball will be left with ...
So, uhh, yeah. With the prospects of first round tournament games between Tulane-South Florida and SMU-UCF, Madison Square Garden might want to start looking into ways of getting out of its contract with the Big East that goes through 2026.
One has to think that MSG would want to fill its arena with some college basketball instead of no college basketball. Should the Catholic 7 leave the conference without the relationship with the Garden, I can think of another power hoops conference that would be willing to swoop in here -- if only for a year or two here and there.
The boys over at Cardiac Hill, who have been banging the ACC Tournament at MSG drum for some time now, are on board.
The Barclays hitched its wagon to the A-10 (likely because they'd rather have them tied in for several years than the chance to win the ACC bid for a year or two), but I can't imagine that MSG would rather have no basketball than ACC basketball - and with the direction the Big East is headed, it's possible that the league could even fold before the ACC Tournament's deal with Greensboro for the next three years expires.
I can get behind this idea, but not if it's going to be an annual affair. The Big East Tournament was one of the best things about BC's former home, but the tournament as we knew it is dead -- and has been for some time now. Once the Providence brass started inviting everyone to the party (even DePaul), the tournament, particularly the first two rounds, lost a lot of its luster.
My issue is there's nothing really ACC about New York City, other than Brother Jimmy's BBQ and the fact that New York's (Conveniently Located Only 4+ Hours From Midtown Manhattan) College Team is joining the conference next season and shares a state with MSG. Putting the ACC Tournament in NYC every year just seems forced and not true to the conference's identity. Plus you know the schools on Tobacco Road and south would complain about it ad nauseum so why even bother?
So go ahead and throw Madison Square Garden in the rotation if you want, ACC; one that should include Washington D.C. (LOL Twerps), Charlotte and Atlanta -- and never again Greensboro -- in heavy rotation. But let's not make this an every year sort of thing. The Big East Tournament as Boston College, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville (Miami and Virginia Tech too, I guess) is dead and gone and nothing the ACC will do can bring it back.