Might we see Mercer vs. a quality Big East team soon?
I like the idea; although, I agree with Steve that the Big 12 makes better sense. Something is better than nothing, and the Big East offers more teams for the SEC to pick from. However, I worry about the Big East wanting to structure the challenge as a Top 8 vs. Top 8 instead of 12 vs. 12 or 12 vs. 16.
Steve proposed his matchups, and I've got my list below. We agree on some and not on others.
Big TV Games:
UK vs. Cincy
- Great regional proximity. UK played Cincy regularly until the late 1940s. Then they went 40 years without playing each other. The schools are located about 90 miles apart. UK already plays Lville so I don't think that would be part of the Challenge. Syracuse would also make sense here as a rematch of the 1996 national title game.
UF vs. UConn
- These teams have combined for 4 appearances in the Final Four over the past 8 years
- Great regional proximity. They've played a couple of times recently, but I don't think it's a long term deal.
Bama vs. Pitt
- Have played several times recently in the regular season.
LSU vs. Villanova
- Contrasts of styles can make interesting games.
Arkansas vs. Syracuse
- Two historically strong programs that I don't remember matching up very often.
Decent TV Games:
Vandy vs. Notre Dame
- Rematch of this year's NIT game. Decent regional matchup.
SC vs. St. Johns
- Nobody knows the way to NYC like the Gamecocks. I think they've been to Madison Square Garden 3 times in the past 4 years for the NIT.
MSU vs. West Virginia
- Miss State has been strong the past few years. This year was hopefully an exception. These guys have already scheduled each other in football starting in 2006. Why not add a basketball series?
Bad TV Games:
- They would have us job out a road game. Felton would love this game. He would be in earth tone gray jersey heaven. St. Johns would also make sense for Georgia as a rematch of the 1983 Sweet 16 game. Plus, Sundiata Gaines is an NYC kid.
AU at Marquette
- Really, any old Big East team would do for this jobber game.
Ole Miss at Seton Hall
- Another Jobber game for the SEC team.
UGA is in such dire need of a scheduling upgrade that I wouldn't care which Big East team we got. Just get us somebody.