By Vin Parise
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Memphis is officially joining the Big East in 2013. That’s been the obvious buzz in college athletics today. Here were some tidbits from Big East Commissioner John Marinatto’s conference call with the media….
Loving the Land of Elvis
Marinatto talked a lot about the geographic layout of Memphis and all the positives that go along with it. Referred to as the “Heartland of America” more than once during the conference call, it is obvious the Big East likes that the fact that another team is added to balance out a possible West Division for basketball….as in Louisville, Houston, Cincinnati and DePaul, etc. The Big East also praised Memphis for their committment to improving football, their last 32 years of successful basketball tradition and the exceptional upgrades to their facilities.
17 Teams in New York
Marinatto acknowledged that 17 teams in the Big East Tournament will indeed one day be a challenge for him and his staff to figure out. He did not seem overly concerned about figuring it out and did not have a possible 17 team tournament option he felt like discussing right now.
Houston vs Memphis Rivalry
When asked if a possible Big East Tourney match-up can also be a pretty recent Conference USA match-up, Marinatto dismissed the weirdness of it. “Change happens all the time, eventually we will get used to something like that…..just like we did with Miami and Boston College leaving,” Marinatto said.
No Rick Influence
Rick Pitino has been very vocal recently about wanting Memphis in the Big East…..especially for basketball. One reporter questioned how much juice Pitino had when it came to conference talks recently with Memphis….
“As much as I love Rick, he had nothing to do with the negotiating or influence of this partnership with the Big East and Memphis.”