FanPost

Will The TBA 2013-14 Conference Really Hurt Louisville Basketball?

USA TODAY Sports

One of the most common complaints I've heard from my fellow UofL fans about moving to the ACC in 2014 is that basketball is going to suffer immensely if it has to play a season with the remnants of what use to be the Big East (I'll refer to it as the To Be Announced conference from this point). The basic premise of the argument is that the loss of the Catholic schools combined with the addition of schools like Houston, SMU, and UCF will cause our RPI, SOS, and attendance. This lead me to ask the simple question of whether this view was actually true or not.

To answer this, I'll make two assumptions. First, I'll use the current RPI, Kempom, and Massey composite numbers for this season's version of the Big East and then compare it to the current RPI, Kempom, and Massey composite numbers for next season's version of the TBA conference. A lot can change in one season but because the 2013-2014 season hasn't been played yet, this is really the only way to make a comparison. Second, the conference will have 10 members for 2013-2014 so I'll assume that the TBA conference will schedule an 18 game, double round robin conference slate (i.e. every team plays every other team home and away).

So how do the numbers stack up between the two conferences?

*****3-12-13 numbers for Louisville's opponents in this season's version of the Big East*****



Massey

RPI

Kempom


Providence

64

84

56

at

Seton Hall

122

139

115

South Florida

130

136

141

at

Connecticut

44

45

53

Syracuse

14

17

12

at

Villanova

53

51

49

at

Georgetown

7

9

13

Pittsburgh

13

40

6

Marquette

15

11

24

at

Rutgers

107

109

113

at

Notre Dame

28

44

32

St. John's

86

80

98

at

South Florida

130

136

141

Seton Hall

122

139

115

at

DePaul

180

199

154

at

Syracuse

14

17

12

Cincinnati

36

49

40

Notre Dame

28

44

32







Average

39

75

56

*****3-12-13 numbers for Louisville's opponents in next season's TBA conference*****



Massey

RPI

Kempom

at

Memphis

22

16

38


Temple

45

38

66

at

Connecticut

44

45

53


Cincinnati

36

49

40

at

UCF

109

101

135


Rutgers

107

109

113

at

USF

130

136

141


Houston

164

195

171

at

SMU

189

213

182


Memphis

22

16

38

at

Temple

45

38

66


Connecticut

44

45

53

at

Cincinnati

36

49

40


UCF

109

101

135

at

Rutgers

107

109

113


USF

130

136

141

at

Houston

164

195

171


SMU

189

213

182







Average

106

100

118

The bad news is that when you use this season's numbers to project next year's conference slate, things aren't exactly rosy. Even with repeat games against Memphis, UConn, Temple, and UC, the Cards are most likely going to take a massive hit in the quality of their conference play. That isn't all that surprising when you consider that 6 of the schools that finished in the top half of the conference this season won't be here next year.

The good news is that this doesn't spell absolute doom for UofL. First, UofL can alleviate the drop in conference quality by improving its OOC schedule. For example, UofL could schedule 1-and-done games against schools like Ohio (RPI: 74), Indiana St (RPI: 73), and Saint Mary's (RPI: 30) instead of Samford (RPI: 291), Miami(OH) (RPI: 265), and UMKC (RPI: 283). It isn't always possible to predict which OOC teams will be great before the season is even played, but coaching staffs generally have a pretty good idea of who can be expected to be decent RPI wise. Another possible fix is to set up one or two home-and-home series with some of the departing catholic schools (e.g. Marquette, Saint John's Nova, etc) or some of the bigger names in college hoops. Both of these options would help alleviate some of the drop in conference quality Louisville can expect in 2013-2014.

Second, we should all remember that UofL fans were packing basketball games long before the Big East. Louisville has ranked in the top 10 attendance every year since 1980. One year of a less-than-stellar conference slate isn't going to suddenly kill attendance or cause our fan base to stay home. Cardinals fans will keep packing the Yum Center just like they have done all this year.

Third and most importantly, UofL doesn't need a strong conference to succeed. UofL has 2 national titles, 9 final fours (6th all-time), 12 elite eights, and 38 NCAA tournament appearances (5th all-time) on its resume. Of those, only 1 final four, 3 elite eights, and 6 tournament appearances were earned as a Big East school. The bulk of our tradition was built in the Missouri Valley and Metro conferences respectively and while both of those conferences were good, neither was an elite level basketball conference. If UofL could build a top 10 all-time program in the MVC, Metro, and C-USA, it can survive a one year transition in the TBA conference.

So things probably aren't as bleak as some of our fans are making them out to be. Is it ideal? No. Is it what we want? Hell no. But we need to keep in mind that this will only be for a single season and we at least have a light at the end of the tunnel (ACC hoops) to help see us through next season.

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