Friday, April 6, 2007

Big East/SEC Challenge = Vanderbilt Snub

Personally, I'm pissed Vanderbilt was not included in the Big East/SEC Challenge. There are only 2 NCAA teams (Georgetown and Villanova) participating in these 4 games, both from the Big East mind you, automatically makes you question the quality of the invitational. The SEC had 5 NCAA teams, but one in the invitational for godness sakes. From a homer's perspective, a national television audience would be great for Vanderbilt (and the SEC), and probably ensure that there was at least one quality SEC team participating.

What really annoys me about this is that it was my understanding that Vanderbilt was doing a "solid" for ESPN by opening up their football last year at Michigan. In exchange, ESPN (I thought) said they would try and get Vanderbilt more games on their family of networks. In an "invitational" that is made strictly for television, would it have been that hard to include Vanderbilt? Wouldn't a re-match of the Georgetown/Vanderbilt classic be worth putting on TV, particularly when compared to South Carolina/Providence? Vanderbilt basketball is truly on the cusp, and including them in this tournament is not sports welfare (the same way some might consider putting a VU football game on). In the case of this invitational, it would actually improve the quality of the overall field.

Also, wouldn't it make more sense to have 2 teams from each division, rather than 3 from the West and South Carolina? Call me crazy, but national television exposure is a big deal for a program like Vanderbilt and it would have been nice had we gotten a piece of this pie.


Bobby O'Shea said...

Where'e the outrage?
Am I the only one on this?

Anonymous said...

Here is the schedule:

December 5 (Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center; Birmingham, Ala.)
7:00 p.m. West Virginia vs. Auburn – ESPN2
9:30 p.m. Georgetown vs. Alabama – ESPN

December 6 (The Wachovia Center; Philadelphia, Pa.)
7:00 p.m. South Carolina vs. Providence – ESPN2
9:30 p.m. LSU vs. Villanova – ESPN

I'm sure in 2008 or 2009 part of the event will be hosted in Tennessee, with Vandy and UT playing someone from the Big East.

Seamus O'Toole said...

ESPN has never shown much affection for SEC basketball as a general matter. If they were looking for something to rival the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, this definitely doesn't fit the bill.

How they come up with this stuff I'll never know. If it's a pilot project, maybe they based the sampling of teams on a judgment of TV markets in order to gauge audience interest in the different regions. If they're trying to jump in and make this a regular thing, they need to get more teams involved. Every team in the Big Ten and all but one in the ACC (on a rotating basis I think) participate in their series every year.

Douglas James said...

When i heard they were thinking about a Big East/ SEC challenge i was super pumped figuring i could finally get some recognition for SEC b-Ball (and Vandy in particular) in NYC ammongst the Big East crowd. But this is severely dissapointing effort by both conferences. In a weird way i'm glas they didn't pick us because it looks like they scraped the bottom of each conference....I mean PROVIDENCE! the GAMECOCKS? Are you kidding me? No Cuse, No Uconn, no KY, no Gators???? Obviously neither conference really wants this to succeed? Or no schools want to give up the valuable home games? But isn't national tv exposure for programs worth it? Very dissapointing across the board.

Bobby O'Shea said...


Being rational is overrated.

This is clearly a pilot project, and what better way to make this a regular thing than by getting crappy teams to participate?

Anonymous said...

I apologize.

I'm furious, outraged, more pissed than Stanimal after I pin his shot against the backboard. They should have UK-UL, Vandy-Gtown, LSU-Uconn, Providence-Florida, Alabma-Notre Dame, Arkansas-West Virginia, and Auburn-Pittsburgh. Wait...all of those teams played each other last season...

I agree that an official SEC-Big East event should have better teams, but there are likely already profitable home-home deals that the big boys don't want to give up.

Anonymous said...

Eh, I share the outrage. I'm just not surprised. Basketball has always been an orphan in the SEC scheme of things and I don't see why that would change now. Minnesota - Wake Forest or whatever ACC/BT matchup they come up with will probably get more exposure than Gtown-Bama.

As a salute to Vanderbilt's "intramural" sports program, I think "Straight Outta Lupton" should take on a Georgetown intramural team in Game 5 of the Challenge.

Bobby O'Shea said...

If they have the home-home's set up already, then just make that the Big East/SEC Challenge and have the games played over a 3 night period. For those teams without a game scheduled, schedule one. These games don't have to be played on a neutral site, in fact, I think it's better if they're not.

Anonymous said...

Wait...all of those teams played each other last season...

Well, that's a fine point. But all the more reason to package those games as part of the "Challenge", no? Heck, make the UK-UL rivalry the crowning glory of this event if you want (as disgusting as that would be -- it would probably be good for ratings).

I don't think Auburn - Pitt and games like that were on TV, and that's the real point. Our conferences can challenge each other all day long, but ESPN has no inclination to give them any exposure.

Stanimal said...

I do get pissed when you block my shots Chad. This is true.

But its so few and far between that I luckily don't get mad often.