And so, the great debate of UConn vs. Louisville is over. The Louisville Cardinals are headed to the ACC and the UConn Huskies will remain in the Big East. At least for now.
Brett McMurphy broke the news last night, noting that Louisville is the sixth team to leave the Big East in the past year. Dan Wetzel then added that the conference also agreed not to go past 14 teams. However in the world of conference realignment, never say never.
Louisville will replace Maryland, who left the ACC to join the Big Ten along with Rutgers.
Originally, I wanted the ACC to take UConn, but I understand why Louisville is the better choice. Whereas the Big East just snatched up Tulane and East Carolina for locational purposes, the ACC chose on-field success as the deciding factor. UConn had better academics and a bigger media market, but the Cardinals will make more of an overall impact on the field right now. And that matters.
I don't think I need to explain to you all why this news warrants a pants-off celebration. But just because it's so fun to talk about, let's look at the biggest reasons why the move to the ACC is such an enormous deal for U of L athletics.
UConn was in the pole position for this bid, but got outmaneuvered by the Cardinals. President Susan Herbst and Athletic Director Warde Manuel will have a lot of explaining to do.
Rick Pitino, who has spent the last year talking about how the Big East is basically better off without Syracuse and Pitt and done everything he can to pump up his conference has done what you expected him to do...a complete about-face:
Men's basketball coach Rick Pitino said in a text to the Louisville Courier-Journal the move was "awesome" and he was "happy for U of L."
And so now we'll wait to find out two things. Can Louisville get out of the Big East sooner than later and where will they fit in the division structure of the ACC?