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Conference Expansion and Basketball

This is a basketball school

With all this talk of conference expansion, the focus is placed on how these new, potential schools will fit into the football landscape of the SEC. That makes sense because the majority of money generated from college athletics is done so through the football program. The biggest television deals, the biggest postseason payoffs and the largest single school revenues are made through football. However, we are proud members of a basketball school. UK does Our football program is a big deal, but it has nowhere near the excitement surrounding it that the basketball program has and it probably never will. So how does SEC expansion affect basketball?

The short answer is that expansion can only help the conference as a whole. Of the teams most often discussed as candidates for expansion – Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Florida State and Clemson – only Virginia Tech had a lower RPI than Alabama (the team with the highest RPI in the SEC West) and that was only by a tiny margin. The addition of any of these schools would serve to boost the overall RPI of the league. With just the addition of Texas A&M from last season, the SEC’s RPI jumps ahead of the Mountain West for fifth overall. With the addition of TAMU, Florida State, Clemson and Missouri (the teams listed in Doug Gottlieb’s initial rumor this morning) the SEC overtakes the ACC for fourth overall and greatly closes the gap between it and the Big East, Big Ten and Big XII. With the embarrassment that was the SEC West last season, the addition of any team that can say they were on the bubble at the end of the season is an improvement.

Another bonus the inclusion of new teams brings is the opening of previously untapped recruiting pipelines into the SEC. For John Calipari, this isn’t really an issue because he can easily recruit all across the country, but for other schools in the league, a team in Texas and Virgina opens up new recruiting ground for SEC coaches to pursue with greater legitimacy. Consider this: in the Rivals top 150 for the class for 2012 and the top 100 for the class of 2013 list a total of 36 players from Texas and Virgina (23 Texas, 13 Virginia) and 12 of those players are in the top 25 of their class (8 Texas, 4 Virginia). With the SEC being able to lay some claim to Texas and Virginia, every team in the league will have greater access to recruits previously committed to play in the Big XII or ACC. So, overall, recruiting should have the potential to improve in an expanded conference.

However, without the addition of a marquee name in basketball, the SEC will never be able to consider itself an elite basketball league, and I think most people outside of Kentucky are fine with that. Oscar Combs (@wildcatnews) has been musing on Twitter about the potential for basketball in the SEC if a team like North Carolina were added. Certainly a program like North Carolina could catapult the SEC into the upper echelon of basketball powers, especially with teams Vanderbilt, Florida and Alabama putting themselves in the national spotlight. Playing UNC twice a year would also alleviate another potential problem that Oscar raised: the increased number of in conference games. The addition of teams like TAMU and VT into the fold would expand the conference schedule to accommodate playing every team at least once and some teams twice. The casualty due to this increased slate would most likely be a rivalry game, probably that of either Indiana or UNC.

Despite the potential loss of a rivalry match up, the good of conference expansion for basketball seems to outweigh the bad. The SEC West has been terrible the past few seasons and it has only served to pull the rest of the league down. The addition of some new blood could rejuvenate the league as a whole and put the SEC on the path to relevancy in basketball and not just football.

Article written by Matthew Hays

29 Comments for Conference Expansion and Basketball

  1. Mr Schwump
    7:34 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    Football, football, football…..get used to it.

  2. jason
    7:50 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    When i see all these teams being talked about to join the SEC, in terms of basketball all i think is that they’ll all be average teams who only care about the game where Kentucky plays them at their place. It’ll be crazed and loud like a game at Ms state, but outside of that, none of their fans care.

  3. Really?
    8:10 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    “…and put the SEC on the path to relevancy in basketball and not just football.”
    When the hell did the SEC stop being relevant in basketball? I must have fallen asleep and missed that era. A&M, and all the other teams talked about for expansion, don’t have anywhere near the b-ball pedigree that we have (of course)–or even that of Florida, Vandy, Tenn, or Miss. State (much as I hate giving a compliment to any of them). This move is all about football perks for all sides. But the SEC would be doing A&M and the others a favor basketball-wise by bringing them aboard, not vice-versa.

  4. Calipari'sInYourEar
    8:30 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    UK does my balls need to be trimmed.

  5. catnuts
    8:32 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    Last 20 years- NCAA Championships:
    ACC 7
    SEC 5
    Big East 4
    I don’t think the SEC is irrelevant in anything. Three different SEC schools have won a basketball championship in the last 20 years. Same as the ACC.

  6. Calipari'sInYourEar
    8:34 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    “Our football program is a big deal, but it has nowhere near the excitement surrounding it that the basketball program has and it probably never will.”

    What a poor statement to ever be published on a UK site. For that I have one thing to say…

    Matthew Hays has nowhere near the credibility of the other writers on KSR and probably never will. Retract and apologize (andreturn the game ball) or your the new BTI.

  7. DirtyOldMan
    8:43 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    South Carolina has a Secret pact? Really? South Carolina? How bout we drop those ass holes who bring us nothing and pick up Clemson and pray that Clemson gets a secret pact to keep South Carolina out.

  8. cracka
    8:55 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    randall cobb with 2 kick returns for 58 yards and 3 catches for 60 yards in the first half … nice start!

  9. jason
    8:57 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    I would love to drop SC for clemson.

  10. BoomKentucky
    9:04 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    #8 Go Cobb! Just about to post that.

  11. Lex07
    9:23 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    6.) What part of that statement isn’t true? Have you ever been to Kentucky?

  12. mtpunchout
    9:41 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    What about West Virginia? I haven’t seen them mentioned but it seems like they would be a good fit. They have good football and basketball programs and a strong fan base.

  13. Dream 4
    10:00 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    A&M, Va Tech, Kansas (Finally, add a true b-ball power), Missouri (TV markets)

    Would love to have it happen, but don’t see it ==> A&M, UNC, Duke, Almost anybody else. (The only reason I add Duke is the assumption that UNC wouldn’t go anywhere without them.)

  14. Fropac
    10:21 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    For Christ sake! Can we get rid of that horrible eyesore that is an outdated speaker system? WTF?

  15. Ghostofbearbryant
    10:29 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    KSR: there is nothing in conf expansion that has anything to do with basketball. Nothing. Observe how irrelevant it is in the proceedings.

  16. Jerry Tipton
    10:33 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    #11 – Lex07 – Born and raised less than 2 miles from Commonwealth Stadium, I’m an Alumni, and so are my brother, father, and mother.

    The entire quote I selected is blasphemy. To write that or even accept that statement one takes a position of surrender, a lost fan. It’s not realistic, it’s an individual opinion posted as generally accepted and is nothing more than pure surrender… and Matthew should take his not excited ass and sit it in the parking lot.

  17. Matthew Hays
    10:50 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    6) Ha. I’m a huge UK football fan and get more excited for the season than most. However, the quote you pulled is more fact than opinion. Why don’t you poll all the writers on the site and see if anyone else thinks differently.

  18. Boone Cat
    11:02 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    Just read an ESPN article that says U of L could be 14th SEC team. Thoughts?

  19. RealTalk
    11:14 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink


  20. .
    11:18 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink


  21. Bigbluecatfan
    11:55 pm August 13, 2011 Permalink

    18, Whoever wrote the ESPN article must be high on crack if he believes ul would ever stand a snowballs chance of making it into the SEC…biggest joke I’ve heard this year. UK would have something to say about that and they would never stand for that. Sounds like some ul fans being delusional and trying to promote their own agenda, which is ludicrous.

  22. Mark Liptak
    1:52 am August 14, 2011 Permalink

    #21 The Sporting News tonight is also reporting the Louisville story and quotes a “high placed” SEC official as saying that UL is the most logical choice right now. Their story also quotes the same source as saying UK wouldn’t not have the same objections to adding UL as Florida / Georgia / So. Carolina have with Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson.

    Mark Liptak

  23. Irrelevant
    3:23 am August 14, 2011 Permalink

    Poor choice of words in the last sentence. The SEC is absolutely relevant in basketball. The Horizon League is relevant in basketball just because of Butler. Maybe the SEC isn’t the most prominent basketball conference and should strive to be more prominent. But the conference has produced 4 national champions in the last 15 years = relevant.

  24. HuntsVegas
    3:46 am August 14, 2011 Permalink

    I think it’s funny how people think one school can veto a majority to keep a rival out. Bama and Auburn both do very well in the SEC. Nobody cares about basketball though…………

  25. Jeffc
    6:56 am August 14, 2011 Permalink

    During the last conference expansion Florida State & Miami were considered but the conference Presidents blocked the deal due to their poor academics. Texas A&M and Texas were discussed but they had to also bring Baylor and Rice but this fell apart. We ended up with Arkansas & USC which have turned out to be good additions.

  26. Capnwewo
    9:39 am August 14, 2011 Permalink

    Forget Va Tech and Missouri; get Georgia Tech.

  27. Every UK Fan
    7:25 pm August 14, 2011 Permalink


  28. ..
    7:55 pm August 14, 2011 Permalink


  29. GummyBear
    9:34 am August 15, 2011 Permalink

    THE U!!!