Would Xavier fit in Catholic 7?
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
CINCINNATI – The first domino has fallen, as the seven non-football members of the Big East Conference have announced they will withdraw from the conference to create a basketball-centric league with an “emphasis on elite competition,” according to a joint statement released on behalf of all seven school presidents.
The seven schools – dubbed the “Catholic 7″ by the media due to their shared religious ties – are looking to add at least three teams for their new league. Because of their religious affiliations and emphasis on basketball, Xavier, Dayton and Creighton are names that keep popping up as possible additions. (Butler does not have religious ties but could be considered as well.)
Of the group of possible schools for the new conference to add, Xavier seems to fit the mold of what the Catholic 7 want. The Musketeers, who have competed in the Atlantic 10 Conference since 1995, have reached the NCAA tournament in all but four of those seasons. They have also reached the Sweet 16 four of the past five years, which would certainly put them in the “elite competition” world of college basketball.
If Xavier were to join a league with the Catholic 7, coach Chris Mack would be on board.
“Selfishly, I think it’d be great for recruiting,” Mack told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. “It’d be great for our program. But at this point, it’s all speculation. We just keep our head down and worry about today’s practice.”
“The great thing about our program is that for 30 years or so, we’ve done an amazing job of putting ourselves in a great position to be a desired commodity.”
So have the Catholic 7 schools been in touch?
“There hasn’t been any official contact of any sort,” Xavier athletics director Mike Bobinski told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. “We have been mentioned in every story, and that’s sort of a good news/bad news. Obviously, we feel good about that. There’s a reason we’re mentioned. It’s because we’ve had an awful lot of success and we’ve done a lot of things very well for a long period of time here. That part … [For more on How well would Xavier fit in with 'Catholic 7' schools?, click here.]