Realignment Conferences 17 Through 13

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

School Former Conference
Pennsylvania Ivy League
Princeton Ivy League
Columbia Ivy League
Brown Ivy League
Cornell Ivy League
Dartmouth Ivy League
Yale Ivy League
Harvard 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

School Former Conference
Wright State Horizon
Bowling Green MAC
Central Michigan MAC
Cleveland St. Horizon
Indiana St. Missouri Valley
Milwaukee Horizon
Oakland Horizon
Toledo MAC
Akron MAC

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

School Former Conference
Idaho Big Sky
Weber St. Big Sky
Idaho St. Big Sky
North Dakota Big Sky
Eastern Washington Big Sky
Utah State Mountain West
Utah Valley WAC
South Dakota St. Summit
Nevada Mountain West
Boise St. Mountain West
Montana Big Sky
Montana St. Big Sky
Northern Colorado Big Sky
South Dakota Summit
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

School Former Conference
High Point Big South
Elon Colonial
Rice Conference USA
Davidson Atlantic 10
Samford Southern
Belmont Ohio Valley
The Citadel Southern
William & Mary Colonial
Charleston Colonial
UNC Wilmington Colonial
Tulane American
Appalachian State Sun Belt
Evansville Missouri Valley
Stetson Atlantic Sun

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

School Former Conference
Northern Iowa Missouri Valley
Stony Brook America East
Vermont America East
St. Bonaventure Atlantic 10
Loyola (IL) Missouri Valley
Binghamton America East
La Salle Atlantic 10
Detroit Horizon

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

  1. 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.


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