Big East/Big 12 Challenge
The Big East and Big 12 may be on the verge of starting an ongoing challenge for the 2019-2020 season. Reports coming from Jon Rothstein came out on Monday that has the college basketball world buzzing.
Source: The Big East and Big 12 have officially agreed to an annual "challenge" between the two conferences, starting during the 19-20 season. Official announcement expected soon.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 15, 2018
Looking into it neither the Big East or the Big 12 has yet to confirm or deny this and many believe that there will be official press releases within a month as the conferences look to finalize their agreement.
What could this do to the widely known conferences? Will it benefit them? Or will it hurt them? With the deal more than likely happening it will too be known but for now speculating will never hurt.
Both the Big East and Big 12 are 10 team conferences that play a true round robin where they play each other team at home and on the road and are the only Major conferences where a true round robin occurs. The Big East currently participates in the Gavitt Tipoff Games against the Big Ten. The Challenge between the two conferences began in 2015 and will continue through the 2022 season as the Big East and Big Ten play eight games against one another. The Gavitt Games are great for both conferences and for college basketball however not every team gets to play.
The Big 12 currently participates in the Big12/SEC challenge where the Big 12 places all 10 conference members against 10 SEC teams. The challenge has been in place since the 2013-2014 season and is usually played in January and brings some excitement to college basketball as it breaks up conference play.
Both challenges are great for all conferences involved and can be especially important for strength of schedule and NET (formally RPI) which both play extremely important roles come March for selection and seeding implications. With this new challenge, Both the Big East and Big 12 will be guaranteed a second high major opponent in their non-conference schedule, which is huge. Over the last five seasons the Big East has sent 28 teams to the NCAA tournament and had nine of those teams seeded in the top four along with a number one seed on four different occasions. While doing this they sent 56%, the second most, of conference members to participate in the Big Dance. The Big 12 has sent 34 teams, 15 of them seeded as at least a four, and three times as a number one seed. All while sending 68%, the highest of any conference, of its conference members to the Big Dance.
With this agreement a possibility, two very strong conferences will face one another year in and year out and will only help benefit the both the Big East and Big 12. They will join the Big Ten as the only other major conference to participate in more than one challenge and it will make sure that every member school has the chance to compete. On the other side this may be a sign that the Big 12 SEC challenge as well as the Gavitt Games are coming to an end and their contracts may not be renewed. This is a possibility and for college basketball it is hoped to not be true as these challenges bring so much value to the sport. From here it can only be hoped that the Pac-12 starts getting involved as well as the SEC and ACC bringing on even more in the coming seasons.