An old friend of the site returns from the realignment ashes and football starts to play an even bigger role as we move into the conferences that would be in the top half of college basketball.
The Ivy League
No amount of futzing with the algorithm can break up the Ivy League. This is the only conference that is completely unchanged based on this process. Why is that? No other school with an athletic budget like the Ivy League also has such a well-regarded academic reputation. (At least when it comes to Division I athletics.) Throw in their tight geographic proximity and it is a no-brainer. Occasionally Fairfield or Rice snuck in during my earlier tests, but the Stags and Owls don’t quite fit here for different reasons. So instead the Ancient Eight trudges on. No need to mess with something that works so well.
The Mid-Continent League
|Indiana St.||Missouri Valley|
This mashup of the MAC and Horizon League obviously has a football problem. Even though Akron’s men’s basketball spending is similar to Milwaukee’s, it’s overall spending is approaching three times as much. From a purely basketball standpoint though it’s not a bad conference.
The Biggest Sky
|Weber St.||Big Sky|
|Idaho St.||Big Sky|
|North Dakota||Big Sky|
|Eastern Washington||Big Sky|
|Utah State||Mountain West|
|South Dakota St.||Summit|
|Boise St.||Mountain West|
|Montana St.||Big Sky|
|Northern Colorado||Big Sky|
|North Dakota St.||Summit|
|Portland St.||Big Sky|
This is basically the Big Sky plus some more members that make the conference that ranked 26th best in college basketball last season 15th. The rivalries would be incredible. Can we do this right now? No, because of FBS and FCS football. Sorting that out seems like the biggest barrier.
The Revolutionary Conference
|High Point||Big South|
|William & Mary||Colonial|
|Appalachian State||Sun Belt|
This is a collection of academically strong regional universities throughout the south and into the midwest. (As another Missouri Valley school gets picked off.) UNCW, which is tied for 16th in Regional Universities South and is “More Selective” according to U.S. News, is rated as the lowest academic school in this conference. It was also be a strong basketball conference, as it takes the best pieces of the Colonial Athletic Association and adds in High Point, Belmont and Davidson. Rice and Tulane find a better fit here than their current homes.
The What Just Happened Conference
|Northern Iowa||Missouri Valley|
|Stony Brook||America East|
|St. Bonaventure||Atlantic 10|
|Loyola (IL)||Missouri Valley|
|La Salle||Atlantic 10|
Somewhere in this process there had to be a real dud. This is it. The conference is flung from Long Island to Cedar Falls, Iowa (with not many stops in between). These schools have reasonably similar academic ratings according to U.S. News. The schools, outside of Vermont and Binghamton, also spend about the same amount on men’s basketball. But Binghamton just makes zero sense. On a basketball level Northern Iowa might seem out of place here, but its overall athletics budget puts it right in line with many of the other teams—and behind SBU and Vermont.
2 thoughts on “Realignment Conferences 17 Through 13”
Biggest problem with the what just happened conference and your write up. You have both SBUs in the same conference; Saint Bonaventure University and Stony Brook University. Which SBU are you grouping with Vermont?
As a Bonnie fan I am disappointed at our landing spot but it is probably justified when looking at it from an analytical perspective.
Not a problem I typically have to deal with! But the SBU in this case was referring to Stony Brook.