Top college basketball story lines to watch
by Jack Carey, USA TODAY Sports
The steady drumbeat of conference realignment, accomplished primarily for football-related reasons, has affected basketball and will continue to do so.
Get used to new looks in several leagues now and in seasons to come.
A year after Nebraska joined the Big Ten and the old Pacific-10 became the Pac-12 by adding Utah and Colorado, the Southeastern Conference will tip off with 14 teams, thanks to the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri from the Big 12.
The Aggies and Tigers are being replaced in the Big 12 by West Virginia, which left the Big East, and TCU. The Horned Frogs move over from the Mountain West Conference; they were supposed to join the Big East this year but changed plans when they were invited to the Big 12.
Mizzou’s move to the SEC means the end, at least for now, of its Border War rivalry with Big 12 heavyweight Kansas, which dates to the 1906-07 season.
“It is certainly over for the foreseeable future,” Kansas associate athletics director Jim Marchiony said. “KU will continue to evaluate the issue. If and when we believe it’s in our best interest to renew the rivalry, we’ll consider it at that time.”
The Texas-Texas A&M series is also at least on hiatus, and the same is true of the West Virginia-Pittsburgh rivalry. Those teams, which met for decades before joining the Big East, will not play each other this season.
The Panthers, as part of the continuing conference jumble, will leave the Big East, along with Syracuse, next season to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
In mid-September, Notre Dame announced that it, too, will join the ACC for all sports except football and hockey, after a tenure in the Big East that dates to 1995.
The ACC thus will become a 15-team basketball league, although it is unclear when Notre Dame will join its new conference. The Big East has a 27-month waiting period in place for schools that want to leave the league. However, West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse made financial arrangements to depart earlier than that.
“Under the current arrangement it would be the ’15-16 season, but we’ll meet our obligations to … [For more on Top college basketball story lines to watch, click here.]