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Villanova Basketball fans should welcome back UConn with open arms

Nothings perfect, but this is about as close as you could hope for.

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! We’ve been gone for a minute and my oh my has there been some exciting news. Last week Eric Paschall was drafted by the Golden State Warriors and Phil Booth was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Today, Villanova freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl embarks for Greece with USA Basketball’s U19 Team to compete for a gold medal. But possibly the biggest news of the weekend wasn’t even anything official: UConn looks like it’s headed back to the Big East.

That’s right, the UConn Huskies could become the 11th member of the Big East as early as the 2020-21 season. The Big East has been looking for a new member in order to expand the conference schedule to 20 games without losing its home-and-home round robin model. There are certainly some issues to be worked out, and we’ll get to that in a minute, but first let me address those who think the Big East should be holding out for better.

There is no one better.

I’ve seen people suggest teams like Cincinnati or West Virginia as better options than UConn, and to those people I say those aren’t even remote possibilities. There are basically four criteria for the ideal program to add, and UConn is the only one that fits all four:

  1. Located in the Eastern half of the United States
  2. Established success in basketball
  3. Not in a “Big 5” conference
  4. Lacking a football program, or be willing to isolate/downgrade it

The first point is pretty self explanatory, and only really eliminates Gonzaga from teams at the top of the wish list. The second point is also a given, and while it doesn’t really eliminate any top contenders it certainly gives UConn a boost because it also boasts the most prominent brand in women’s basketball program in the country. So that leaves us with what basically boils down to the football rules.

First off, no team is moving from one of the Power 5 conferences to the Big East. The football money and exposure is far too valuable, regardless of how strong the program is. No one can predict where college athletics will be 20 years from now, but arguably the teams in those five conferences are the best positioned for any large scale changes.

So that leaves us with anyone that wants to move up to the only conference that can really compete with those five on the basketball court: the Big East. Of the non-football contenders remaining, the school that’s been suggested the most is St. Louis. They’re certainly a fine program, but just fine. The schools with football programs are much more intriguing, however their current conferences likely won’t allow them to just keep football in place while pulling all other sports over to another conference. That means their football teams would either have to drop into a lower tier conference that would want the exposure, or go independent.

This doesn’t make sense for teams like Cincinnati, but it’s a realistic option for UConn. They’re not going to just drop the football program, but it’s safe to say that it’s not the most competitive team in the FBS. That could allow them to drop into a lower conference or even go independent if they want to focus on the school’s basketball brands. As always, the driving force here will be money, so we’ll have to see what UConn can put together for football. But the rumor mill that was churning on Saturday seems to indicate that UConn is just waiting on an “on its way” invitation from the Big East in order to make it official.

In my opinion, this is the best program that could have been added for Villanova Basketball. Under Danny Hurley, UConn’s program is on the rise. The two schools will complete a three game series this season, and then hopefully move right into conference games in 2021. That means Villanova would have two fewer non-con games, which likely eliminates any “home-and-home” series Villanova usually tries to schedule. That would leave them with the Big 5 (4 games), a November tournament (4 games), The Big East/Big 12 Challenge and the Gavitt Tipoff Games (0-2 games depending on the year). That leaves you with 1-3 games (depending on if it’s an off year in the Big 12 or Gavitt games) to schedule either a “warmup” against a former Wright assistant, or a home-and-home with another big program like Virginia or UNC (wishful thinking).

Overall I think this is a great move for the conference and for Villanova. It’s a little odd that it was so widely publicized with nothing official in place, but hopefully this was the momentum it needed to get over the finish line. Welcome home Huskies, hope you fall flat on your face once you get here!

In other “news”, Summer League’s a comin’, Josh Hart launches a new podcast, and updates from the recruiting trail. Enjoy!


Reports: UConn looking to leave the American Athletic Conference for the Big East | The Inquirer
Since the Big East doesn't offer football, UConn's football program would have to find a new conference or play as an independent.

UConn returning to Big East comes with major question | New York Post
The whispers have been there for a while now -- that as strong as the new Big East has been, it could use another quality program. UConn, with its dormant football program the reason it remained in the AAC, made perfect sense.

UConn on the verge of joining the Big East; football likely in need of a landing spot outside AAC | Hartford Courant
UConn is on the verge of leaving the American Athletic Conference for the Big East as it searches for exposure, old rivalries and money. But it is unlikely the football program will be able to remain in the AAC.

Who benefits, and who doesn’t, from UConn’s move to the Big East? | Hartford Courant
UConn basketball stands to benefit from the school's move to the Big East. Football? Maybe not so much.

Villanova Basketball

Yahoo Sports 2020 NBA mock draft | Yahoo! Sports
The No. 1 pick in next year’s draft may not come from Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina.

Villanova's Robinson-Earl named to USA U19 team |
Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels aren’t the only Villanova men's basketball players who will have the opportunity to get a taste of international play this summer.

Final 12-man U19 USA men's basketball team announced |
The 2019 USA men's basketball U19 World Cup team's official 12-man roster was announced Thursday after four days of tryouts.

NBA Draft: Will Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine be drafted a year from now?
Imagine for a moment, Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine decked out in new suits, maybe some fresh jewelry, too.


Section 7 tournament gives Wildcats face time with top prospects in 2021, 2022 classes |
A 6-foot-3-inch, 195-pound guard, Askew said he’s not sure yet which other schools he will visit but mentioned Louisville, Villanova, Oregon and Texas as possibilities.

Basketball recruiting: Archbishop Wood duo Daeshon Shepherd and Rahsool Diggins want to earn more offers | The Inquirer
The Archbishop Wood teammates are entering their junior years, and both got scholarship offers from Quinnipiac University on June 15.

5-star guard Devin Askew visited Arizona on Thursday | Arizona Desert Swarm
Five-star guard Devin Askew unofficially visited the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday, according to Jake Weingarten of StockRisers. The 6-foot-3, 2021 prospect is the No. 15 player in his class and No....

Eric Paschall

Villanova Basketball: Eric Paschall could be Warriors steal from draft | Section 215
If all goes according to plan, former Villanova basketball star Eric Paschall could turn into a draft day steal for the Golden State Warriors.

Donovan Mitchell explains why Eric Paschall is Warriors' sleeper pick | NBCS Bay Area
Some people thought he was going to be a first-round pick. The Warriors got him at No. 41 overall.

Who are the best second round picks in this year’s draft? | Yahoo! Sports
Who is the next Michael Redd? Or Draymond Green? Or Gilbert Arenas? One of these guys will be.

Get to Know the Dubs’ 2019 NBA Draft Picks | Golden State Warriors
Get to know the Dubs' 2019 draft class. When asked for his opinion on what the Warriors would be looking for come draft time, President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Bob Myers said on Wednesday that, “we’re going to need guys that can contribute and eat up minutes as much as they can” to balance the workload of Warriors veterans Stephen Curry, Draymond Green,

NBA draft 2019: High school recruiting sleepers to earn picks |
Look no further than the top half of the lottery for proof that recruiting rankings aren't the end-all, be-all.

10 NBA Draft picks who will make an immediate impact | Yardbarker
Some prospects selected in Thursday's NBA Draft will always be two years from being two years away. The 2019 draft class will have players who will make an immediate impact, too. Here are 10 who should make meaningful contributions as rookies. Zion Willia

The Best Value Picks From The 2019 NBA Draft | Campus Sports
I only link this article so that we can all point and laugh as they somehow have used a picture of Daniel Ochefu for Eric Paschall's write up.

Phil Booth

Villanova’s Phil Booth agrees to summer-league deal with Cleveland Cavaliers | The Inquirer
Booth, Villanova's top scorer last season with an 18.6-point average, went undrafted Thursday night.

Former Villanova star Phil Booth looks forward to summer league basketball with the Cleveland Cavaliers | The Inquirer
with the Cavaliers, Booth will be playing for first-year head coach John Beilein, who is very familiar with him having played the Wildcats in the 2018 national championship game and again early last season as coach of Michigan.

Booth, Alston Jr, Brown Jr. get shot at NBA careers |
Villanova’s Eric Paschall was the only Big 5 player to hear his name called during the NBA Draft Thursday night.

There's plenty to like about the Cavs' undrafted signings | NEOSI
The Cleveland Cavaliers signed forward Dean Wade, guard Phil Booth and center Marques Bolden after the trio went undrafted on Thursday night.

NBA Wildcats

Josh Hart leaves Rob Pelinka out of farewell message to Lakers | Larry Brown Sports
Josh Hart posted a farewell message to the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend and left general manager Rob Pelinka out of it.

Josh Hart bids farewell to Los Angeles Lakers | Yahoo! Sports
Josh Hart's stay in L.A. was short-lived, but he's extremely grateful for the chance to play for the Lakers.

Raptors news: Danny Green reveals Kyle Lowry's grandmother passed away around 2019 NBA Finals | Clutch Points
Raptors shooting guard Danny Green has revealed that All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry's grandmother passed away around the 2019 NBA Finals.

Lakers news: Kyle Kuzma, Pelicans' Josh Hart already engaging in friendly trash talk | Clutch Points
Josh Hart -- traded for Los Angeles to New Orleans -- is already engaging in some smack talk against former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma.

LightHarted Podcast with Josh Hart Episode 1: Todd Gurley | YouTube
Welcome to the LightHarted Podcast with Rising NBA Star Josh Hart (New Orleans Pelicans) & Rising Business Mogul Matt Hillman (Cut + Sew). To start, these two long time best friends take you into how they met and where they are today. Then, it’s an honor and a privilege to have All Pro Los Angeles Rams Running Back Todd Gurley join the conversation & unwind over a bottle of red wine.

Atlanta Hawks Unveil Las Vegas Summer League Schedule | Soaring Down South
Now that the 2019 NBA Draft is over, one might be shocked to discover that actual NBA basketball is about to be played as soon as next week! The Hawks won’t be lacking for players to watch as it seems likely that Omari Spellman will play big minutes and Kevin Huerter might also make an appearance – as John Collins did last year.

Bucks' summer league roster reportedly includes Wofford's Magee | Journal Sentinel
Bucks general manager Jon Horst was busy after the NBA draft on Thursday.

Villanova Adjacent

Alabama optimistic regarding NCAA waiver for Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly |
While Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly is currently set to have to sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules, Alabama will apply for an NCAA waiver that would allow Quinerly to be able to play this year.