Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jay Bilas on Expansion

Jay Bilas gave an extensive interview to ACC Sports Journal touching on a variety of topics. One of them was expansion. Jay isn't a fan.

This summer was the five-year anniversary of ACC expansion. From a basketball standpoint, how did you feel about it then, and how do you feel about it now?

I thought it was a mistake when they did it. I still think it’s a mistake. I think the early results have borne that out.

You can make an argument that expansion has hurt ACC basketball. I’m not sure it’s done anything for ACC football, frankly. The Big East has come out the big winner in this. The Big East is the best basketball conference in the country this year, in my opinion, even though the ACC is very strong. I think the Big East has more quality teams top to bottom.

The thing I don’t like about it is, the elimination of the round-robin — playing everybody twice — I think was a big mistake. If money was the deciding factor or football was the deciding factor, then fine. But from a basketball perspective, I don’t think it has helped in any way.

Let's take a look at the records of the expansion teams in ACC basketball conference play before I tackle the really dumb part of Bilas' statement:

2004-05: 15-17 (.469 VT & UM only)
2005-06: 22-26 (.458)
2006-07: 24-24 (.500)
2007-08: 21-27 (.438)
2008-09: 15-13 (.536 through Feb. 9)
TOTAL: 97-107 (.475)

Does the guy have a point that it hasn't helped ACC hoops? Maybe. Looking at the standings since BC joined for the 2005-06 season, there have been two good teams and one craptacular team out of the expansion teams.

Until an expansion team contends for a regular season crown, wins the ACC tournament or makes a run in The Tournament, people like Bilas who pine for the salad days of ACC basketball will be able to make the argument that ACC basketball just isn't the same with the Hokies, 'Canes and Eagles included.

However, I'll disagree that the Big East is currently the best basketball conference. Sure, everything looked good when Notre Dame and Georgetown were highly ranked, but those two schools are solidly in the tank with big losses against UCLA and Duke, respectively, on its resumes.

What I really take issue with is that Bilas said he doesn't think expansion has done anything for ACC football. He doesn't elaborate on that part, probably because he realized just how stupid that statement was. I'm sorry, but which two teams have played each other in the ACC title game the last two years?

The point can be made that basketball isn't as exciting for the blowhards like Bilas who want all the Tobacco Road teams to play each other twice a year, but I don't think the league has been hurt by the three expansion teams. But football without Tech, Miami and BC would be just plain ugly.


Brian said...

Perhaps Bilas has already blocked out of his small, Blue Devil brain the fact that Boston College came within a bucket of knocking off Duke in the 2005 ACC Tournament (the Eagles first year in the league ...)

Just sayin'

Brian said...

ACC Tournament championship game, that is.

ebj said...

how awful would acc football be without vt and bc?

pretty damn bad, way, way worse than the mountain west.

acc purists still don't fsu in the conference. this isn't going to change. the issue is does he want some small cute lil league or does want a potential powerhouse. he wants the former, but following the money the latter is the only way to go.