As we got news about the St John's series continuing, and we await the fate of other series with Villanova, Georgetown, and UConn, I was pondering how best to continue these historic rivalries as we move on to the ACC and the others go kick rocks with former C-USA schools.
It's not feasible to play the Jonnies, Nova, UConn, and Georgetown every year. It's against Boeheim's scheduling style. I wouldn't be opposed to it because it would be an MSG game (St. John's) plus at least one good November/December home game a year. I just don't think it would happen, and I think we'd eventually stop playing some of these teams altogether.
So my idea is this: The pre-football* Big East schools hold an annual four-team preseason tournament in Madison Square Garden. Eight teams, single elimination tournament. Just three days. Maybe even play a third-place game. Seedings could be random, to get a variety of matchups, or based on previous year's results or something.
First of all: This would be awesome to watch. Great basketball, nice nostalgia for old-school Big East fans and still a nice tournament with a reliably solid lineup (at least at the top half) for people who don't care about the Big East. Also, it solves the clumsy "How do we keep all these rivalries going?" question for ALL of the schools involved. You'd see every team at least once every few years, and the games wouldn't be one-off home/away games with little at stake. Not that a preseason tournament means anything, but there would still be a trophy to play for.
Flaws with this proposal: What if there were a team that you WANTED to play every single year regardless (e.g., us with Georgetown, presumably)... would you schedule that series on the side and risk playing them twice? How would you deal with conflicts and schools wanting to play in other preseason tournaments? What if the Garden is booked and/or didn't want them? (I'd say Barclays Center, then, because it's still in NYC but only seven blocks from my apartment haha.) How would you handle seeding, and what if the Catholic schools do descend into total irrelevancy, as some of us have predicted here? (Don't see that happening to Villanova or Georgetown, but St. John's, Seton Hall and Providence? Maybe.)
Obviously this is just one guy's idea and would never happen... but I wanted to share because I've spent a couple days absent-mindedly daydreaming about how great this would be to look forward to every November/December/whenever.
* - schools I mean here are SU, UConn, Georgetown, Pitt, Villanova, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall, and BC. That's nine teams but I assume that either a) one or more schools would decline to be associated with this or b) they could just rotate one team off on an annual basis, you'd miss it once every eight years or something.