There is a lot of buzz surrounding the new Big East that will retain the core private Catholic schools (St. John's, Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul, Marquette) while welcoming new blood from the Atlantic-10 and the Missouri Valley in Xavier, Butler and Creighton.
Some have questioned why these teams would leave situations that allowed them to achieve steady post season success and join a league that has such a higher level of competition. However, these programs do not harbor any uneasiness regarding the big switch; they're excited about being a part of the league.
Earlier this week, I had the chance to speak with the coaches of the first-year Big East members. One major takeaway was that they all shared the same feeling that the Big East offered their programs something big: exposure.
Chris Mack, head coach of the Xavier Musketeers, said "this league offers a ton of exposure for our program." He added that "playing on a stage like this can only be a good thing [for the Musketeers]."
Mack went on to say that "playing for your conference championship in the Mecca is an amazing opportunity for Xavier fans and players." Obviously, Xavier doesn't feel any regret about this move.
Fellow first-time Big East coach Greg McDermott, from Creighton, agreed with Mack's evaluation. McDermott said that "[Creighton's] fans have longed for this for awhile." McDermott went on to say that "with Fox [Sports] 1, it's very exciting for the program...there'll be a lot of new ideas with how [Creighton's] product is shown nationally."
St. John's head coach Steve Lavin said that "the new teams, obviously, will bring a lot of competition...Xavier, Butler and Creighton are great programs and now that they will be part of a bigger platform the nation will get to see."
It's clear that these new teams are being given a pretty big opportunity in the Big East to create national names for themselves. Now it will be up to them to capitalize on the opportunity, making the Big East a must-watch league that is focused on its core sport, basketball.
More from Rumble In The Garden:
- Roundup: media notes + links from Big East Media Day: Johnnies talented, need to prove it on the court
- Live stream of Big East Media Day
- St. John's reports from Big East Media Day
- Kevin Willard loves MSG, but okay with playing St. John's in Queens
- Big East Coaches' Poll and Preseason Honors: St. John's picked 5th, Rysheed Jordan top rookie