3-point shot: Added layer to Challenge

1. The ACC-Big Ten Challenge will be even more competitive for teams to get into every season now that the ACC will be 15 teams in either 2013, ’14 or 15 (whenever the Irish can get free from the Big East). The ACC is expected to go with a top 12 format to pick the teams for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten has only 12 teams as compared to the 14 in the ACC and soon 15. So as many as three teams will be left out of the challenge once the ACC gets to 15. But expect Notre Dame to join Pitt and Syracuse as regulars in the event. That means teams at the bottom of the ACC will have to fight their way up to get into the challenge.

2. Syracuse will likely play St. John’s and Georgetown at some point as nonconference games once it joins the ACC. The interesting thing will be to see if Notre Dame keeps any of its rivalry games once it is in the ACC. Will the Irish still schedule a series with DePaul or Marquette in the nonconference? Will Notre Dame want to get a series going with St. John’s, Seton Hall or Rutgers where the Irish recruit? The tough thing for the ACC and Big East teams will be to schedule these nonconference games with loaded conference schedules. The Big East was projected to go to 20 games as an 18-team league. Will that still occur as a 17-team league or will it now stay with 18 games? This is another question for the Big East.

3. One thing that is being overlooked in the addition of Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC is the stability in the staffs. Jim Boeheim is an icon at Syracuse and is showing no sign of stepping down. Jamie Dixon has built a traditional power at Pitt. And the Irish have given Mike Brey a long-term deal. All three programs need consistency in heading to the ACC. And the ACC can count on it from the new members. The Irish also timed the rebuilding job at the Joyce Center well, just in time for a move to the ACC. The ACC has long had more consistently strong homecourts than the Big East and adding Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame fits with the student-friendly arenas in the ACC.