Welcome! This is the FOURTH installment of our weekly Twitter mailbag!
Here's a consistent weekly thing where we take YOUR questions on Twitter on a week-to-week basis.
So, let's get cracking, shall we?
@becb_sbn Id be interested in a rank of the 2016 recruiting classes as of now.— Paul Vonluehrte (@pvonluehrte) September 10, 2015
@becb_sbn When or if do you think expansion becomes relevant?— Charlie McDowell (@chilicharlie1) September 10, 2015
Robert O'Neill: I think we're still a couple years away. The conference, in it's current form, really just established itself last season with the six tournament teams. The next step is taking those six, or so, teams every year, and having more than one of them make the second weekend. At the same time, expansion becomes more likely if schools like Dayton, St. Louis, VCU, etc. maintain the level of success they've had the past few years.
Christopher Novak: Gimme 3-5 years, for the reasons above. I actually agree with Rob here, which will change with this next question...
@becb_sbn what are the best non conf opportunities to raise league brand? Brief reasons why would be nice.— Juan L Ramos-Mendez (@jrluis15) September 10, 2015
Robert O'Neill: I'll assume you're not counting the Gavitt Games, because that's already as established thing. To be honest with you, I think what needs to happen is teams like Butler and Xavier need to start scheduling bigger nonconference games. Villanova plays Virginia this season (and next season), Georgetown plays UConn, two of Duke/Wisconsin/VCU, Syracuse, St. John's played Duke last year, they play Syracuse this year. Seton Hall plays Wichita State again this year. So the east coast portion of the Big East is doing a good job with national recognition. Butler schedules a lot of local teams, which is nice, but I firmly believe they could reach out to big schools and gauge interest in doing a home-and-home at Hinkle.
Xavier is almost in the same boat to me. A lot of local teams, which is great, plus Missouri and Auburn, who aren't exactly the cream of the crop in the SEC.
If you're like me and you think that the top four teams in the Big East are Villanova/Georgetown/Butler/Xavier, then I'd love to see the latter two try and get into bigger noncon matchups.
Christopher Novak: I'm going to completely disagree with my colleague up here.
This isn't about Butler or Xavier at all.
They might just "schedule local teams" but their nonconference schedules are typically pretty good. The 'Dawgs, at the very least, are afforded a yearly opportunity with the Crossroads Classic to play a team from the power conferences (Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue). Aside from that, why do they get looked over? Because the top schools still don't view them at a high level. It's exactly why Boise State gets passed over often by the big power schools in football, and why it took the NCAA Tournament for Wichita State and Kansas to finally play each other... and also why Ohio State ducks Dayton and, you guessed it, Xavier here. They aren't afforded those opportunities because power schools are still really freaking arrogant when it comes to this kind of stuff, and they know they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Point is: Don't blame Butler and Xavier for the lack of "brand names" on their schedules.
Now... onto the question. It's an interesting one. The Gavitt Games should give 'em a nice boost and I suspect that if things pan out as they are, the more nonconference opportunities that involve matchups of Big East's past should generate bigger things for the conference's brand. Because that's what the conference was known for. Any college basketball fan with a pulse knows, understands and respects the rivalries of the past and knows that they helped turn the conference into what it once was: a dominant force in the realm of college hoops. If we start seeing bridges be mended and see the likes of Georgetown, Villanova, St. John's and even Providence play the Syracuses and Connecticuts of the world, and win those matchups, it will be a big boost for the Big East brand to provide nostalgia-inducing matchups with great rivalries and rich histories and provide results for the conference's benefit as well.
The big thing here is not only having these nonconference matchups, but winning them as well. The fans certainly win out when these teams play but if the Big East wants that ever-annoying "r word" (*cough* respect *cough*) then the results have to play into it as well.
@becb_sbn it's your 1st night at Fight Club & you have to fight a Big East hoops coach. Which one and why? Who do you NOT want to fight?— Anonymous Eagle (@AnonymousEagle) September 10, 2015
Christopher Novak: If this were before he departed for Blacksburg, I'd want nooooooooooooooo part of Buzz Williams, man. No way. Currently, I'd stay far away from John Thompson III and Chris Mullin. I guess... I'd take on Dave Leitao because DePaul? IDK.
Robert O'Neill: Oh man... I don't think i'd wanna tangle with any Big East coach. They all have access to top-notch athletic facilities, and I bet they use them. They're in better shape than I.
@becb_sbn who is the next classic Big East rivalry? My guess: Marquette/Butler. Some great games since Buzz and Brad.— Jack Lundeen (@jlundeen16) September 10, 2015
Christopher Novak: Have to agree there, and I'll give Butler-Xavier the duke there as well.
Robert O'Neill: I'd give Butler/Xavier a slight edge because of geography, but I could see Marquette/Butler too.
@becb_sbn besides cuse, which sju game at msg are you looking most forward to?— C Sherman (@Koreyaaa) September 10, 2015
Christopher Novak: Wednesday, January 13 when St. John's squares off with Georgetown. That one is going to be a doozy, I think.
Robert O'Neill: Absolutely St. John's vs. Georgetown. I love that, whether coincidental or not, it's Mullin's MSG conference debut. Have to assume Lou Carnesecca and John Thompson Jr. will be in the building.