And today it's official. UConn is back in the Big East. They are out of the American and their fans can stop bitching and moaning that playing in the AAC was the reason they were fairly irrelevant. To be fair, UConn won a title in the AAC, BUT, they only had 2 NCAA Tournament bids and barely finished above .500 in a conference with some real dogshit teams.
But the fact is, yes, when you think of Big East basketball you think of UConn. They are one of those programs that just scream Big East, even with this 'new' Big East. Of course we all miss Big Monday's with Raft and Bilas and Syracuse, Pitt, UConn, Nova, etc. Those were awesome.
But let's focus on UConn here, this is your day after all. We've heard for years how you just needed to get out of the American. How the AAC was holding you back in recruiting and success. Well, there's literally no excuse now. You have the 21st ranked class coming in according to 247, led by Andre Jackson and Adama Sonogo. So while the Big East didn't 'need' UConn - we've seen the success with a couple championships from Nova, Xavier making an Elite 8 and the conference consistently in KenPom's top-3 - there is a chance for benefits from both. Remember, Seton Hall would use UConn in the AAC to recruit against them:
If UConn gets back to being UConn, the Big East now gets more loaded up top. Now while I don't think we see UConn back to that sort of program, they should be a great middle of the conference team every year with some seasons in the top-2/3. That's big for the conference. They add a little more depth. They get more chances for quality wins.
But the real loser here? There’s no bigger loser in conference realignment than Cincinnati. They got stuck in the AAC with Memphis and UConn both down. They’ve become the flag-bearer for the conference. But, now with UConn expected to be on the rise with Danny Hurley, you lose what many think will be a consistent top-4 program. That means Penny better work out at Memphis. Aaron McKie needs to make Temple more consistent. Wichita needs to bounce back from a rebuilding year. Houston needs to stay how they’ve been. If that happens then UC is okay.
Welcome back to the Big East, UConn.