Georgetown and Butler, Villanova and Xavier, the Catholic 7 wooing process isn't necessarily taking place behind the scenes.
When Butler's bulldogs came to Washington D.C., they didn't just come for their game against Atlantic-10 conference foes George Washington University, there was another George on their itinerary -- Georgetown. The two mascots stopped by to meet the Hoyas' own bulldog mascots, touring the Catholic-7 school's campus and posing for pictures with their counterparts.
It was part of the "Big Dawgs Tour," which has been bringing the two adorable Butler Bulldogs to every city they play in this season. When the tour was conceived, the idea was to introduce the mascots and the school to the Atlantic-10 markets and fanbases that they joined this season.
Adding Georgetown as a stop was more of a recent decision, when the Butler dogs' owner and caretaker reached out to his Hoya counterpart. The warm and fuzzy feelings that were generated by the pictures of Butler's Blue II and Blue III alongside Georgetown's Jack and Jack, Jr., may be carrying over to the basketball court soon too.
Butler is a leading candidate to join up with the seven Catholic schools that are forming a new conference after announcing a departure from the Big East. At least three schools would be added to the seven initial members, and possibly as many as five.
Another top candidate is Xavier University, located in Cincinnati, and the Musketeers have also been subjected to some friendly visits recently.
According to Cincinnati.com, Jay Wright and an assistant stopped at the Musketeers' Cintas Center before the Wildcats' game at Fifth Third Arena to play the University of Cincinnati. The purpose of the visit wasn't very clear, though the report claims he was there to "check out" the "digs" at Cintas; taking a tour of the facility.
The Villanova contingent reportedly had a quick and casual chat with some Xavier basketball staffers about the landscape of college basketball as well.
It seems that the Catholic 7 powers are starting to build their bridges to the Indianapolis-based Butler and Cincinnati-based Xavier Universities -- and they aren't being shy about it. With both schools likely to top the list of candidates for inclusion in the new league, it's time to build some connections to their academic and athletic administrations.