As August draws to a close that means coaches and their teams will soon be hitting the floor for another season. However gone are the days when the most important part of the off season for a college basketball fan was the team and conference previews and coaching changes that took place since the nets were cut down.
We find ourselves in a period where the fans first must figure out which teams are playing where in the upcoming season. Much like last season this season’s realignment changes has the look of a road map that would give Rand McNally a popsicle headache.
Here is a rundown of who is where for the 2013-14 season:
ACC: The ACC welcomes a trio of former Big East teams; Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame for the upcoming season before defending National Champ Louisville joins next year replacing Maryland who will leave for the Big Ten.
AMERICA EAST: The small conference loses long-time contender Boston University but adds UMass-Lowell from Division 2. The Riverhawks are beginning the process of transitioning to division 1.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: This is the new conference that formed when the Catholic 7 split away and took the Big East name with them. Big East castoffs UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida will be joined by a mish mash of teams. Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and SMU all join from Conference USA. Temple jumps ranks from the Atlantic 10, while Louisville and Rutgers are the equivalent of lame duck coaches having already accepted invitations to the ACC and Big Ten respectively. Replacing them in the AAC will be Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina in 2014.
ATLANTIC 10: The A-10 was one of the hardest hit conferences in the country with realignment defections. Temple bolted for the AAC, Butler and Xavier join the newly formed Big East and Charlotte goes to Conference USA. Former Colonial Athletic Association stalwart George Mason joins the league and another mid major boulder, Davidson will do so in 2014-15.
BIG EAST: While it may not be the same conference we all grew so fond of in the 1980s and 90s, the new version should still have some darn good basketball. The Catholic 7 DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova are joined by Butler and Xavier from the Atlantic 10 and Creighton from the Missouri Valley.
COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: In addition to losing George Mason to the A-10 and Old Dominion to Conference USA they also lose Georgia State to the Sun Belt while welcoming the College of Charleston from the Southern Conference.
CONFERENCE USA: Bare with me this one may take a while. Teams still in the conference include; Alabama-Birmingham, Marshall, Rice, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, East Carolina, Tulsa and Tulane (with the last 3 leaving for the AAC in 2014.)
Memphis, SMU and Central Florida all leave for the AAC this season but are replaced by eight teams from all over; Charlotte (A-10), Old Dominion (Colonial), Louisiana Tech and Texas-San Antonio (WAC) and Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas all from the Sun Belt.
HORIZON LEAGUE: Lost Loyola-Chicago to the Missouri Valley and replaces them with the Summit League’s Oakland Grizzlies.
METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: They lose Loyola (MD) to the Patriot League but add Monmouth and Quinnipiac from the Northeast Conference.
MISSOURI VALLEY: The MVC loses its marquee program in Creighton to the Big East but was able to grab Loyola-Chicago from the Horizon to replace them.
MOUNTAIN WEST: For most of the early summer it seemed as though the MWC would lose Boise State and San Diego State to the Big East, and then the split happened and the two programs decided to stay. Then the conference went out and added Stew Morril’s Utah State and San Jose State from the WAC.
PATRIOT LEAGUE: Adds two more strong program to their conference, Boston University (America East) and Loyola (MD) (MAAC).
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE: In the next couple of years the conference will be losing its top two schools College of Charleston to the CAA this year and Davidson to the A-10 next season. East Tennessee State, Mercer and VMI will be joining the ranks for the 2014 season.
SOUTHLAND: The Southland has added a quartet of teams for the upcoming season, Houston Baptist from the Great West, New Orleans who competed last year as an independent and a couple of schools making the move to Division 1 Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian.
SUMMIT LEAGUE: The Summit loses Oakland to the Horizon and Missouri-Kansas City to the WAC while taking Denver away from the WAC.
SUN BELT: Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas have all bolted for Conference USA. Georgia State, Texas-Arlington and Texas State all enter as replacements.
WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: By far the conference hardest hit by realignment has been the WAC. Only New Mexico State, Seattle and Idaho (who leaves for the Big Sky next year) remain. Saving the nearly defunct hoops conference will be Utah Valley, Texas-Pan American and Chicago State from the now extinct Great West. Missouri-Kansas City joins from the Summit as well as Cal-State Bakersfield who was an independent last season and Grand Canyon University up from the Division 2 ranks.
WEST COAST: The WCC will add Pacific from the Big West this season.
NOTE: New Jersey Institute of Technology who played in the Great West last season was unable to find a home and will compete as the country’s lone independent this season.
There you have it, 19 conferences and 49 teams and we haven’t even begun to talk about players, coaches or what to expect in the upcoming season. Buckle Up!