By Dennis Berry
On Wednesday morning the next chapter in the conference realignment took place. This time there were no rumors or speculation leading up to the move. It caught everybody by surprise.
Of course we are talking about Notre Dame joining the ACC in all sports – except football. While the Irish are not joining in football, this was mainly a football decision. As part of the agreement to go to the ACC, Notre Dame will play five games a year against ACC teams.
The move allows Notre Dame to remain an independent in football, but still tied to a BCS Conference. It also allows Notre Dame to expand its footprint further into the southeast part of the country. This will help Notre Dame in recruiting.
Of course we here at the Best Basketball Blog are more interested in the basketball aspect of Notre Dame’s move. What does the addition of the Irish mean to ACC Basketball? How will they fare in the ACC?
To put it simply this is a good move for both sides.
For Notre Dame Basketball this is definitely a step up in conference competition. Not to take away anything from the Big East, but the ACC is now a step above the Big East in basketball now.
When you think ACC basketball, Duke and North Carolina come to mind first. Don’t forget that Florida State fought for the ACC title last season. North Carolina State is likely a Top 10 preseason title team next year. Maryland is a team on the rise. Virginia and Miami also won at least 20 games last year.
The ACC is going to get tougher. Along with the Irish coming on the way in, Syracuse and Pittsburgh are joining the ACC next summer. Those additions will make the ACC the best basketball conference in the nation.
While Notre Dame basketball may not be on the level that Syracuse, Duke, or North Carolina, it is just below that level. They are a solid basketball program. In 12 years under Mike Brey the Irish have gone 259-130 and have made the NCAA Tournament eight times. That includes five of which were in the last six years.
While the Irish may not come in and compete for the ACC title in year one, they will not be a pushover. They will be a tough opponent for most of the ACC and will add another NCAA Tournament team to the mix.
From the ACC point of view it was a no brainer. This move raises the profile of the ACC. They add a great academic institution like Notre Dame to the conference. In addition to that, they have a tie to Notre Dame Football and add all the Irish’s sports programs to the ACC.
The only question is when will Notre Dame make the move to the ACC? It appears that Notre Dame would like to make the move next summer. Will they be able to do that? Will the Big East hold Notre Dame to the $5 million buyout and 27 months notice before it allows the Irish to leave? Or will the Irish be able to do like West Virginia, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh and come to an agreement that will allow them to leave next summer?
Of course the big loser in the matter is the Big East. What was one time the best basketball conference in the nation is slowly morphing into the Conference USA, where many of its current members came from.
Sure they still have Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, Georgetown, and Connecticut to hang their hat. The question with that is how long before one of those programs jump ship? Connecticut has flirted with the ACC before. There has been talk, though, that Louisville may join West Virginia in the Big 12.
If another conference looks to expand, they will likely look at the Big East.
For the ACC though, they have claimed the throne of having the best basketball conference in the nation.
We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.