Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino talked about the future of the Big East Conference on Thursday at “SiriuxXm’s Inside College Basketball” with Jeff Goodman and Bruce Pearl.
Pitino talked about Memphis joining the conference for all sports beginning in 2013-14. He also said Temple would be a good addition to the league.
Here’s some of what he told Goodman and Pearl:
On Memphis joining the conference:
John Marinatto, the commissioner, is a good buddy of mine and every two days I would text him, ‘Where the hell is Memphis?’ … Finally he called me yesterday and said, ‘Are you happy now?’ You know, it was so crucial for us because everybody thinks about football, everybody’s concerns about football. Well, here is this conference that was just taking off, it had everything going for themselves. You know, we’re going to survive losing a Pitt [and] we’re going to survive losing a West Virginia just like you survived losing Boston College or Virginia Tech. They are great additions, super programs but to survive with Syracuse being out of the Big east, which makes no sense to anybody, it was really a tremendous blow to us.”
On the culture of Big East basketball:
“In terms of the culture of Big East basketball, we needed an inner city school, a Top 20 program, and right now we get Memphis who would automatically now become the second largest crowd. They average 16,500. They’ll average 18,000 now being in the Big East. This is going to sound shocking to you but their APR would be second in the Big East. Their facilities would rank them in the top 5 in the Big East. So we needed this, a big shot in the arm for us. I think we’re going to probably still add one more team.”
On who Pitino would like to see added basketball-wise:
“Me personally, it’s Temple. But, you know, I’m not the commissioner and I’m not the presidents. People say that Villanova is fighting it. I don’t understand because South Florida had to say, ‘Look, we don’t like it but we’ll take Central Florida. If that’s in the best interests of the conference, we’ll do it.’ And Villanova’s going to have to say, ‘If it’s in the best interests of the conference, we’ll do it.’ So everybody’s gotta start thinking, the only agenda is how can the Big East be strong? Now, Temple, I think, is the logical, again, it’s an inner city school, Philadelphia, great coach, great tradition. I think it’s a natural. Good football program. But I don’t know if some other people would agree with that. I’ve always said that Memphis and Temple make the most sense.”
Click here to listen to the interview.