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Thamel: Comprehensive Look At The Big East Split

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If you are feeling a bit behind on the most recent realignment talks, SI's Pete Thamel does an incredible job giving a complete 360-degree look at what it means on multiple levels. re is an excerpt from the piece which is a must read:

Who will be added?

The realignment gold rush will start again. One thing is certain, the seven breakaway Catholic schools will not join the Atlantic-10 as ESPN reported as a possibility earlier this week.

Instead, they will likely use their brands and leverage to poach the Atlantic-10. Many of the schools in that conference fit the religious bend of the league and have strong attendance, infrastructure and brand names. (The A-10 schools would be leaving behind a lot of money in NCAA units.) There are others schools being bandied about, however. George Mason and perhaps VCU will be considered, and Gonzaga is a curious option, though its biggest disadvantage is geography. (The league plans to be an all-sports league, which would make travel expensive.)

The seven schools will have to decide whether they want to consider UConn and Cincinnati, two powerhouse hoops programs. The downside to those is that the Catholic schools have been disappointed in how they've publicly lobbied to leave the Big East. And their inclusion likely wouldn't last long, as they'd jump at the first offer of another conference in order to improve their lot in football. Simply put, inviting those schools would be inviting the problems the conference is attempting to leave.

Temple could be a different story if the Big East breaks up and it ends up in another league for football. Perhaps the league would consider the Owls on a dual-membership basis, although Villanova would likely object.

For now, the Xavier, Butler, Dayton, St. Louis and Creighton are the leaders in the clubhouse. But that's far from settled, and there's plenty more options to discuss.