These are your major conference teams in college basketball. The realignment process makes for some strange bedfellows, but also some of the best possible basketball you could ever imagine.
The National Basketball Conference (NBC)
|St. John’s||Big East|
|Saint Louis||Atlantic 10|
|New Mexico||Mountain West|
|Seton Hall||Big East|
The naming rights for this conference might be tricky, but this would be the premiere conference with a plethora of basketball-only institutions. The VCU, Richmond and St. John’s, Seton Hall rivalries add some good rivalry juice. It’s no surprise that this team is ranked seventh nationally, since that’s exactly where the American finished in KenPom and those teams make up the backbone of this conference.
The Ocean and Plains Conference (OPC)
|North Carolina State||ACC|
|Iowa State||Big 12|
This feels a bit like a conference with teams who are not quite as good as their reputation. There are some great rivalries. Putting Iowa and Iowa State in the same conference could make things much more interesting in the Hawkeye state. BYU, with its independent football program, spends quite a bit on athletics and thus is popped all the way up to this conference.
The South Central Conference (SCC)
|West Virginia||Big 12|
|Oklahoma State||Big 12|
|San Diego State||Mountain West|
|Kansas State||Big 12|
|Texas Tech||Big 12|
This nine-team conference is centered around an excellent base in central part of the American south. The Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State trifecta would make for some excellent basketball (and football). West Virginia is a big of an outlier, but the Mountaineers already travel to schools like Oklahoma State and Texas Tech during the regular season, so it’s not that unreasonable. I was most surprised by San Diego State’s inclusion in this conference. The Aztecs are not as strong a spender as some of these other clubs, but have strong basketball attendance and academics that fit in with the rest of these schools.
Football Powers Conference (FPC)
|Penn State||Big Ten|
|Texas A&M||Big 12|
What if I told you this would only be the second best football conference in the country? (I’m not kidding.) Most of these schools are joined together by their love of football and strong academics (Auburn is a bit below the standard in the second one). All of these schools (with the exception of UCLA) seem to like football a little more than basketball, which is how they end up getting grouped together. But not even the Bruins can compete with the attendance that the schools in the next conference receive.
The Cash Conference
|Ohio State||Big Ten|
Alright, the name probably wouldn’t fly, but that’s why these schools are grouped together. These are the schools that spend most aggressively in college athletics, but maybe not quite as much on men’s basketball. For instance, Texas is the biggest spending athletic department in the country according to the Equities in Athletics data, but the Longhorns only spent 54% of what Kentucky spent on men’s basketball in 2015-16. This would obviously be an amazing football conference. So I think the fans would deal.
The Basketball Way Conference
Elite academics along with a strong focus on basketball programs epitomize this conference, the second best in college basketball. Yes, the second best conference in college basketball in this realignment scenario includes Northwestern. (I can’t believe I typed those words.) For most of these schools not making the NCAA Tournament is a season worthy of kickstarting a rebuild. It would be extremely competitive. These schools possess five of the past 10 national title winners.
The Blue Bloods Conference
|Michigan State||Big Ten|
This is the creme de la creme of college basketball (except what happened to Duke?). If you were making the ideal college basketball conference this would be it. These schools have won the other five of the past 10 national titles. Can every team in a conference earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament? That might be the biggest issue with the conference ever coming to pass. Because it would truly be something to behold.