Midwestern state basketball teams have a unique opportunity to join the Big 12 and NBA in 2020, with a conference that is not as geographically diverse as the Pac-12 and Big Ten.
The Big East has grown its membership from eight to 19 schools in the past decade, and the conference’s new league commissioner, Maryland athletic director Chris Hill, said on Monday that the conference plans to join an association of the 15 schools that make up the ACC and Big 12 in 2020.
“It’s going to be the largest basketball conference in the country and it’s going be the biggest basketball conference that I can think of,” Hill said.
“The opportunity to play in the Big Ten and the Pac 12 is really what’s driving the expansion of the conference.
When the Big 10 expands to 10 members and the Big Eight to eight members, it becomes the largest conference that doesn’t have an affiliation with an individual conference.
We’re going to have more than 30 schools and we’re going do that at a time when we have more teams than ever before.”
Hill said the conference would not be playing games in its new league during the 2021-22 season, though it will host its first exhibition game in 2019-20.
That means teams will not be traveling to games in the new league.
The Big Ten is the largest of the 12 member conferences, but is geographically divided by about 1,300 miles.
It has an eight-team conference and seven schools that are affiliated with its two leagues.
The Big East is the only other major sports league with more than four members.
The other five major conferences are the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the NBA and Major League Baseball.
The new Big East-based conference has a chance to join one of the six other expansion candidates that are scheduled to participate in the 2021 Big Ten Basketball Championship.
Those four teams are the University of Maryland, Temple University, Georgetown University, Michigan State University and Rutgers University.
The league also has a potential rival in the SEC.