Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Can anyone still keep track of the conferences in college basketball?

Tonight my Richmond Spiders travel to St. Louis to face the Billikens in an "Atlantic 10" college basketball matchup.  It doesn't seem that weird because they have both been in the A-10 for a while; unless you start wondering what Missouri has to do with "Atlantic," or how the number 10 represents the 13 teams in the conference.

Tomorrow Houston visits UConn in an "American Athletic Conference" clash (and don't worry if you've never heard of the American Athletic Conference, it's new and includes parts of what was the new Big East two years ago).  Last week Notre Dame made the trip to Florida State for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown (there we go again with the word Atlantic applying to the middle of the country), and in mid February Florida Atlantic University will fly to Texas to take on the University of Texas El Paso and UT San Antonio in a pair of riveting "Conference USA" tilts.

Memo to the NCAA: This is stupid.  Blow it up next year.  Start over from scratch.  Or just jump in a time machine back to 1990 when the conferences actually represented geography and rivalries.  I know both those plans are impossible pending some sort of Die Hard 3/Fight Club terrorist attack where all the money in the country is destroyed and the economy resets itself, but hey, I can dream...


  1. My favorite is the late and lamented Great West Conference, which came to include Texas-Pan American, Houston Baptist, Chicago State (now in the WAC) and best of all, the prestigious New Jersey Institute of Technology (in ATLANTIC City, perhaps?)

  2. The conference dissolved last year.
    It began about 15 years ago as a legitimately West Coast league. As the major conferences began to really expand (to 15 or 16), the originals moved up. The scramble for interested parties resulted in quite a mish-mash -- Utah Valley, a couple of Dakota schools. Think of it as the trickle-down effect.

    Houston Baptist moved up from NAIA to NCAA a few years back and hooked up with this crew, thus the league got a fair bit of "small print" in the Chronicle. There began my amusement!

    1. Wow. I was just looking at the standings for all conferences, and at the bottom there is a category for "Division 1 Independents" that listed one single team: NJIT. Funny stuff.


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