How Catholic 7 should get on with lives
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
The divorce is imminent, and the Catholic 7 can get on with the rest of their lives. They’ll need a few things now, but not a new name, since they’re being awarded full custody of the Big East title in the settlement.
They’ll need some new family members.
Reports abound that those will be, in approximate order, Xavier, Butler, Dayton, Saint Louis and Creighton. Nothing wrong with any of those coming along. Good fits, all. The Deity Dozen, though Butler will be the one school not holding Mass.
They’ll need strong performances in March and April.
The Big East is trying to swim upstream as if this were a salmon run, hoping to show that basketball can be a dominant and profitable centerpiece in a football-first age. To pull that off, an annual show of force in the NCAA tournament is absolutely essential.
But here’s the thing about the Catholic 7. Big names, big traditions, but not much in the way of tournament fireworks lately. Connecticut, a school left behind, has done most of the heavy lifting. The Catholic 7 haven’t produced a national champion in 26 years. They have accounted for only three appearances in the Final Four in the past 23 springs — or five fewer than Duke.
It is rather shocking to think the new Big East would increase its total number of Final Fours this century by 67% if Butler were added.
They’ll need a keener appreciation for the world west of the Appalachians.
The new Big East will still be Big, but much less East. If the above schools all join as expected, that means seven of the 12 members — 58% of the league — will be closer to Chicago than New York City.
Time to think a little bit outside the box, not to mention outside the Eastern seaboard. The conference tournament, for example. Madison Square Garden every year? Not necessarily, even with its timeless glamour. They might want to look at United Center in Chicago or Bankers … [For more on Lopresti: How the Catholic 7 should get on with their lives, click here.]