Big East Catholic Schools Leaving Could Mean ACC Tourney To NYC, Eventually

Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

The Catholic schools are reportedly considering leaving the Big East. If they do, it could set in motion the dominos that one day bring the ACC Tournament to MSG, at least for one or two years.

Man, Madison Square Garden's re-investment in the Big East Tournament look like a worse decision every few weeks.

The death knell of the Big East Conference, or at least the basketball version, could be coming soon. Brett McMurphy is reporting that the DePaul Blue Demons, Georgetown Hoyas, Marquette Golden Eagles, Providence Friars, St. John's Red Storm, Seton Hall Pirates and Villanova Wildcats are leaning towards leaving the Big East to form their own conference.

So, let's assume that domino falls. What is Big East basketball left with in 2014?

Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane

Oof.

We know that the Big East Tournament and MSG renewed their relationship through 2026, however, within that deal is an escape clause...

Meanwhile, a source with knowledge of the Big East's deal with Madison Square Garden told ESPN.com that MSG is "covered" and can get out of the contract if the league continues to change its membership.

And if the bulk of the core Big East schools do leave MSG saddled with a tournament featuring Houston vs. Tulane and UCF vs. SMU, you can bet your ass they're gonna opt out. And once they do, they're going to want to fill that highly-lucrative slot.

Enter the ACC Tournament.

Certainly the ACC Powers That Be aren't going to move the ACCT away from Greensboro often, but it would be dumb for the conference not to consider moving the tourney to the No. 1 media market in the nation once or twice over the next decade. Especially now that they have familiar MSG faces like Syracuse, Pitt and Louisville in tow.

Cardiac Hill certainly seems to agree.

The Barclays hitched its wagon to the A-10 (likely because they'd rather have them tied in for several years than the chance to win the ACC bid for a year or two), but I can't imagine that MSG would rather have no basketball than ACC basketball - and with the direction the Big East is headed, it's possible that the league could even fold before the ACC Tournament's deal with Greensboro for the next three years expires.

We've got a ways to go on this scenario but, if the Catholic schools jump, Jim Boeheim might actually get his wish after all.

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