“I think tomorrow we’ll be in the Big East,” he said. “That’s what I believe. Do I think it will be the same for the next 100 years? Probably not. It’s probably going to change somewhat. We’re going to be in a great situation. Looking at our situation academically, the university where it stands as an AAU institution, as a highly ranked academic university, where our athletic programs are, and our commitment by our administration, I know we’re going to be in a good situation in a good conference, in a power conference, and we’re going to continue to be a power player in the NCAA.Meanwhile, voice of the Panthers, Bill Hillgrove, weighs in:
“I can’t tell you exactly what teams will be on our schedule five years from now, but we’ll be playing some pretty good teams,” he said.
Dixon won’t be leading the campaign to leave the Big East.
“We’re in the best conference in the country for basketball, and our conference in football is getting better and better,” he said. “There’s not a lot of complaints coming from us. If there’s changes, there’s changes. We have the administration in the background to make the adjustments, and we will.”
“They should accept the invitation,” Hillgrove said. “But we don’t know where it’s coming from. Will it come from the Big Ten? Will it come from the ACC? Or will they stay in the Big East and will it survive? I hope they stay, because the Big East this past year proved itself as the best basketball conference ever. And football has proven the fact that it can survive even the escapes of the Miamis, Boston Colleges and Virginia Techs. Can they survive this next earthquake? That’s the question.”So is he saying they should stay or go? Color me confused.
But back to Dixon. I understand Dixon's concerns and I think they're genuine. Pitt, in my opinion, would likely lose at least a little in recruiting and would need to start from scratch to develop new rivalries. Gone would be the games at MSG.
But would it be all bad?
Of course not.
The Big Ten is not the Big East in terms of basketball, but teams like Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, etc. make it a very good league. Now add Pitt and perhaps a Syracuse or Missouri to the mix and it may turn into the best league during some seasons.
Plus, Pitt is far enough east that it could have the best of both worlds to some degree. They have a long history in NYC and the east coast and could still recruit there, while also recruiting in the midwest to kids that would want to play in the Big Ten. Eventually, I think the pipelines to the east may disappear, but Pitt's history should keep them open for at least a bit. If Pitt is able to take that next step and get to a Final Four, then that can only help.
And of course, there's the money. More money doesn't just mean that football will benefit. All programs would. That means more money to pay Dixon and more to pay assistants.
Then to a much lesser degree, you've got the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, which could Pitt in some great matchups against teams such as North Carolina and Duke.
I understand Dixon's concerns, but a move wouldn't be all bad for basketball.