Creighton and Cincinnati tip-off in Philadelphia Thursday in the NCAA tournament, but next year it will be Creighton rather than Cincinnati that makes the trip there to play Villanova in Big East action. Creighton won the $60 million lottery over VCU to replace Cincinnati in the new Big East that landed a reported $600 million contract from Fox Sports.
tips off Thursday in the Big East town of Philadelphia, having beaten out VCU in the $60 million lottery to replace their Thursday opponent, Cincinnati
The Catholic 7 have only been receiving $1-$2 million per year as part of the old Big East, but the new Fox Sports deal for the basketball-only conference gives each school close to $5 million a year for 12 years. When it came to figuring out who else would be brought into the deal, the Big East went 500 miles west of DePaul and Marquette to add Creighton rather than going 100 miles south of Georgetown to pick up VCU. Why?
VCU seems more likely to bring more $1.5 million “units” (the payout the conference gets for every invite and/or NCAA win) once Doug McDermott leaves Creighton, and provided a tighter geography for a the Catholic 7 teams that balked at flying their non-revenue teams to Texas, Louisianna and Florida as part of the configuration that will play with the former Big East football schools of Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida.
But what Creighton did not due was get on any of the Catholic 7s recruiting turf.
Butler out of Indiana and Xavier out of Ohio linked Marquette and DePaul to the eastern schools without stealing the coveted Chicago recruiting-base. Creighton is wedged between Big Ten schools in iowa and a weak basketball school in Nebraska.
The most powerful Big East school is now Georgetown, and Richmond may have been a little too close for comfort. Players from DC Metro and powerhouse Virginia Prep schools just might prefer the in-your-face pressure defense a few miles down I-95 to the brutally effective but low scoring Princeton offense run at Georgetown.
Just as Marquette has recently lured now-NBA star Wesley Matthews and 5-star recruit Vander Blue down I-94 and out of the University of Wisconsin’s home town of Madison with a more up-tempo game, Georgetown may have feared prep stars traveling down I-95.
And now Creighton has won the lottery and will be playing in Madison Square Garden in the Big East tournament and a part of a $600 million, 12-year TV deal that will make the Big East one of the staples after they go head-to-head with ESPN in August.
For the entire AP story on the announcement of the 10 teams, click the AP story here.