For Funsies: Conference Reallignment/Creation

DickLawRam

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"There aren't attractive options for the Indiana market under any available criteria" for any type of thing- save for executing federal prisoners, and running one 500 mile race on Memorial Day weekend.

I would rather this team return to outlaw status and barnstorm from November to March than be paired with conference mates that are beneath our dignity.

Any man who espouses the benefits of Bellarmine as a conference foe is cursed with an ill tongue or diseased mind-- and could certainly do with a tongue cropping!

I suppose opinions are like @ssholes. Most of them stink and should be covered at all times, lest ye be seen as uncouth/ foul.

I can certainly think of nothing more foul in society than the headline, 'VCU plays Bellarmine tonight in Conference Tilt.' My delicate sensibilities could barely allow myself to type it.
 

DickLawRam

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Bellarmine to the Big East confirmed
My delicate sensibilities cannot see such things! To even imagine a premier basketball conference reducing itself to such lows, even in jest, is a sin. Basketball at this level should be meritocracy. When they establish themselves over a generation through winning, conference championships, 20-win seasons, NCAA births, etc., we can revisit it. To even speak their name with regard to placement into a higher conference is impertinent, at best.
 

VCU Heel

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Am I too late to get into this? :?

So here's how I'd go about doing this: I'm trying to put together a conference that could get a major TV deal done and consistently have three to five teams in the mix for at-large consideration. I'm also looking for programs that can boast strong fan support for basketball through thick and thin, which will usually mean no FBS football.

So I'll start out with VCU (because, you know, this is VCU Ram Nation). We have a big student body, a big endowment, strong fan support, and a history of success. We could absolutely be the keystone member of a strong conference, as could Dayton, a school with a history of success in a decent-sized metro area. And since it would suck to not be in a conference with either of our rivals, we'll drag Richmond along out of pity so they don't end up in the SoCon.

From there, I'm looking to add schools in big markets with lots of potential for growth. Despite being somewhat of a geographic outlier, UIC (University of Illinois Chicago) gives our conference a foothold in the Midwest and a presence in the third-largest city and media market in the country. This is the first "outlying" team I'm going to pick, but I have my reasons. They have a big student body (30k) and a big endowment ($2.28b), an on-campus arena that can seat about 8,000 fans, and most noteworthy, no football to overshadow the rest of the athletic department. Everything is working in their favor to be able to sustain success once they find a coach that can get them to the next step. That potential for continued excellence is what gives them the nod over Loyola-Chicago, and being in a stronger conference top-to-bottom should allow them to attract a good coach who could build that program into a consistent competitor.

Drexel also gives us a foothold in a huge market (Philadelphia) that loves its college basketball. They boast a large student body and a sizeable endowment, and although they lack the NCAA Tournament pedigree of their city siblings, I feel they have the most to offer of the schools that would be available to us (Temple has FBS football and plays in the American, so they're not eligible). Saint Joseph's is comparably small and La Salle's sketchy finances make them a risky addition.

I'm going to go a bit more southwards for my second "outlying" pick. Louisville, KY is the single biggest market in the country for college basketball, and even though Kentucky and Louisville are off the table, Bellarmine is not. They have a long history of success in Division II and are located in between two states that are absolutely fanatical about college hoops; between UIC and Bellarmine, this conference would have a pretty strong presence in the state of Indiana. The small enrollment and small endowment might turn some heads, but the location would more than make up for it.

Staying with the theme of growing markets, we'll probably want a school or two in the Carolinas. Davidson seems like an obvious choice, but I'd also add College of Charleston to give Davidson a travel partner and really put strong roots into a fertile recruiting territory. Washington, DC is also a huge and growing market, so we'll go ahead and add George Washington, a school that has shown flashes of brilliance over the years.

Heading South again, we'll add Belmont to give us a presence in Nashville. The Bruins always seem to be able to put a competitive squad on the floor, and I'm willing to bet they'd welcome the step up in competition.

There's a reason Fordham is in the A10, and that reason is the same reason I'm adding them here. New York is a huge market, they have the resources to spend on athletics, and their alumni have deep pockets. They haven't been particularly competitive in Men's Basketball, but if they're willing to stay in our conference, we get far more out of their addition from the market presence and recruiting access than they take away from generally being non-competitive in hoops.

The 12th member was a challenge, but I'd like to put another member in the Ohio Valley region, so we'll round it out with NKU (Northern Kentucky). No football for the Norse, who are located just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. A rising program that made the NCAAs their first year eligible after transitioning from D2, they already have a gym that seats 9,400 and a growing student body.

That gives our conference 12 members and a maximum driving distance of just under 14 hours (UIC to CoC); hopefully that fits the standards of geographic consideration. We have members in DC, NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, the Carolinas, Louisville, Nashville, and metro Cincinnati. Any TV network worth their salt would definitely take notice of a conference comprised of these schools.

TL; DR: VCU, Dayton, Richmond, UIC, Drexel, Bellarmine, Davidson, CoCharleston, GW, Belmont, Fordham, NKU - schools that have the resources to compete at a higher level, the location to draw a large, consistent following, the track record of success on which to build a brand, or all of the above.

(edit: a word)
You put a lot of work into that and it was fun to read...

but I have no interest in being in a conference with UIC, Drexel, Bellarmine, CoCharleston, Belmont, Fordham, or NKU. That’s 7 programs that aren’t in our league. A few of those are crap programs.

If we want a Philly team, then Drexel isn’t it. That’s worse than LaSalle. And St. Joe’s is a much better it option.

If we wanted a Chicago team, Loyola is a better option.

There is no need to get an Indiana team just to say we have one. Honestly, high school talent there isn’t that great anymore.

NKU isn’t drawing any talent in that region... or TV views. Neither is Belmont.
 
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You put a lot of work into that and it was fun to read...

but I have no interest in being in a conference with UIC, Drexel, Bellarmine, CoCharleston, Belmont, Fordham, or NKU. That’s 7 programs that aren’t in our league. A few of those are crap programs.

If we want a Philly team, then Drexel isn’t it. That’s worse than LaSalle. And St. Joe’s is a much better it option.

If we wanted a Chicago team, Loyola is a better option.

There is no need to get an Indiana team just to say we have one. Honestly, high school talent there isn’t that great anymore.

NKU isn’t drawing any talent in that region... or TV views. Neither is Belmont.
Honestly, given the restrictions outlined in the OP, who else were we going to add? Wichita State is in the AAC (and too far). Northern Iowa is too far for geographic consistency. Gonzaga... nope. ODU and Charlotte chose (G5) FBS football over decent basketball years ago, and they have too much sunk cost to abandon it now. I'm approaching this exercise from a position where the A10 is untenable (otherwise the answer would be "just the A10, but better in some undefined, inexplicable way", and that's not very interesting).

La Salle's finances are truly perilous, to the point where there's actual talk of them dropping to the CAA, MAAC or Patriot League - or out of D1 altogether. Saint Joseph's might have the more accomplished body of work in the NCAA Tournament, but they've also fallen much further from their highs from the early 2000s. I'm looking for a program that, once they start to compete at a higher level, they can sustain it, and for the reasons I mentioned I believe Drexel would be able to do that more than SJU.

Recency bias says Loyola is the better program, but prior to their unlikely F4 run in 2018 and their S16 run this past season, they hadn't made a NCAA Tournament since 1985. Porter Moser is gone, and time will tell if they'll be able to get a coach who can sustain that level of success. I'd wager, though, that UIC's deep pockets would be able to match any P6 offer to a coach who had just taken the program to new heights.

Indiana is to basketball what Texas is to football. It's not about having recruiting access as much as it is having exposure in a market where basketball won't get overshadowed by football.

NKU has literally been in D1 for less than a decade. They have the facilities to compete at a higher level than they are at now, and any school in the state of Kentucky that is halfway decent in basketball will enjoy a steady, dedicated following.

I kept the conference geographic footprint intentionally small because there are fans here who already complain about road trips to St. Louis. That's why I didn't add Vermont or UW-Milwaukee. And I also figured there would be more complaints for adding any more former CAA schools, like Northeastern, Hofstra or UNC-Wilmington.

The other thing to consider (which might seem somewhat obvious) is that someone will have to finish at the bottom of a conference in any given season, and that there will always be schools that are more likely to finish towards the bottom of the standings than towards the top of them. My thought is that even if teams finish towards the bottom of the conference, they should still be able to provide the conference as a whole value, if not with results on the court, than in other ways (academics, fan support, TV market, etc.) I at least tried to keep that much in mind when assembling my list.
 

VCU Heel

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Honestly, given the restrictions outlined in the OP, who else were we going to add? Wichita State is in the AAC (and too far). Northern Iowa is too far for geographic consistency. Gonzaga... nope. ODU and Charlotte chose (G5) FBS football over decent basketball years ago, and they have too much sunk cost to abandon it now. I'm approaching this exercise from a position where the A10 is untenable (otherwise the answer would be "just the A10, but better in some undefined, inexplicable way", and that's not very interesting).

La Salle's finances are truly perilous, to the point where there's actual talk of them dropping to the CAA, MAAC or Patriot League - or out of D1 altogether. Saint Joseph's might have the more accomplished body of work in the NCAA Tournament, but they've also fallen much further from their highs from the early 2000s. I'm looking for a program that, once they start to compete at a higher level, they can sustain it, and for the reasons I mentioned I believe Drexel would be able to do that more than SJU.

Recency bias says Loyola is the better program, but prior to their unlikely F4 run in 2018 and their S16 run this past season, they hadn't made a NCAA Tournament since 1985. Porter Moser is gone, and time will tell if they'll be able to get a coach who can sustain that level of success. I'd wager, though, that UIC's deep pockets would be able to match any P6 offer to a coach who had just taken the program to new heights.

Indiana is to basketball what Texas is to football. It's not about having recruiting access as much as it is having exposure in a market where basketball won't get overshadowed by football.

NKU has literally been in D1 for less than a decade. They have the facilities to compete at a higher level than they are at now, and any school in the state of Kentucky that is halfway decent in basketball will enjoy a steady, dedicated following.

I kept the conference geographic footprint intentionally small because there are fans here who already complain about road trips to St. Louis. That's why I didn't add Vermont or UW-Milwaukee. And I also figured there would be more complaints for adding any more former CAA schools, like Northeastern, Hofstra or UNC-Wilmington.

The other thing to consider (which might seem somewhat obvious) is that someone will have to finish at the bottom of a conference in any given season, and that there will always be schools that are more likely to finish towards the bottom of the standings than towards the top of them. My thought is that even if teams finish towards the bottom of the conference, they should still be able to provide the conference as a whole value, if not with results on the court, than in other ways (academics, fan support, TV market, etc.) I at least tried to keep that much in mind when assembling my list.
Indiana is absolutely not the same to basketball as Texas is to football. Texas is a top 5 state for high school fort all talent. Indiana may not be top 20 for high school basketball talent. Don’t let watching the movie Hoosiers cloud your vision. Virginia is a much better state for both high school football and basketball than Indiana.
 
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Indiana is absolutely not the same to basketball as Texas is to football. Texas is a top 5 state for high school fort all talent. Indiana may not be top 20 for high school basketball talent. Don’t let watching the movie Hoosiers cloud your vision. Virginia is a much better state for both high school football and basketball than Indiana.
I'm talking about culture, not the amount of talent that comes out of the region. Indiana has 11 of the 13 biggest HS gyms in the country. Basketball is part of the fabric of the state.
 

Bluey

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Indiana is absolutely not the same to basketball as Texas is to football. Texas is a top 5 state for high school fort all talent. Indiana may not be top 20 for high school basketball talent. Don’t let watching the movie Hoosiers cloud your vision. Virginia is a much better state for both high school football and basketball than Indiana.
This☝️☝️☝️, Tidewater alone is better than anything Indiana could bring to the table. Being NoVa born and bred, that sentence was difficult to write.
 
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I'm talking about culture, not the amount of talent that comes out of the region. Indiana has 11 of the 13 biggest HS gyms in the country. Basketball is part of the fabric of the state.
most of those gyms were built over 60- 70 (yeah sixty) years ago - when towns in the midwest closed down for HS basketball to see Jimmy Chitwood!! yeah same for football throughout the southern states west to Texas and then throw in Ohio/Pennsylvania etc as two football possessed states in the 50-80's -
quite a few of you also remember Maggie Walker (with Clyde Austin) playing in sold out Richmond Coliseum vs TJay (Fulton and Keith Valentine) , coached by Va union coaching legend, Dave Robbins sp! - point simply was high school athletics in 60s -80s often had large crowds for big games
 
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I didn't want to get into a debate as to whether Indiana or Virginia has the better basketball culture. I wanted to outline my reasons as to why I feel that a conference having a presence in Indiana is better than not having a presence in Indiana. Doubling down on Virginia doesn't grow the conference footprint and I already stated my reasons why I didn't add ODU.
 

BaNgMyPrOgRaM

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If we could reduce the number of conference members, we could increase the chances of winning a conference championship! I say 8 teams max. LOL!
 
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