Everyone realizes that football drove the various changes in conference affiliation, but obviously those switches, swaps and false starts have affected basketball substantially as well. Many of the changes already have taken effect, while others enact this season, and still a few more will manifest in time for the 2014-15 campaign.
For our purposes, we queried each of Scout.com's national basketball recruiting analysts to examine how the grassroots world has reacted to the conference overhaul, and what to look for going forward.
Welcome to this week's roundtable discussion:
Honestly, I haven't seen much of a change at all. Obviously with the additions in the ACC, I think that conference will likely reel in the most top 100 players year in and year out. Outside of that, I've been impressed with how the new Big East has recruited. They currently have 16 top 100 recruits in the 2014 class. To compare, the Big 12 currently has just five.
I think it's pretty standard. Most players want to play against the best and in the best conference. So we'll see the trend continue. I don't see much of a change coming, either. Most of these schools are going to continue to mine the same areas they always have. Syracuse is now in the ACC, but they'll still recruit the Northeast with vigor and they'll do it successfully.
On the West Coast, there hasn't been a significant change. For awhile, when it looked like San Diego State was going to play basketball in the Big West, some recruits weren't thrilled, but the Aztecs ended up staying in the Mountain West and continue to recruit at a high level.
Colorado's entrance into the Pac-12 has given the Buffs more credibility recruiting on the West Coast than they had previously, while Utah has also spent a lot of time in California, but the Utes weren't exactly a stranger to the area in the past. BYU is having a lot of success recruiting locally, but that's not due to a conference change. The new members of the Mountain West — Fresno State, Nevada, Boise State, San Jose State and Utah State — have had a little more recruiting credibility than they had previously.
I haven't observed much of a recruiting difference yet, but I think it's important to keep in mind that some of these teams have yet play a league game in their new conference. It's one thing to talk about it and another for these teams to show up on television competing in new rivalries.
It does appear to me that the ACC has the most to gain — as the conference has added powerhouses and expanded its linear geographic footprint — and the Big Ten has the most to lose. The ACC has slipped in recent seasons and especially with respect to the Big Ten, but adding Louisville and Syracuse along with Pittsburgh and Notre Dame amplifies the league's clout significantly. The Big Ten has added Maryland, Rutgers and Nebraska, but obviously those programs don't carry the same bonafides.
More specifically, I think the changes are likely to affect certain programs more than conferences as a whole. Most teams will continue to recruit as they have, but if you're Maryland, for example, moving to a conference outside your home recruiting territory, there's some risk involved. That said, the Terps actually appear to be on the upswing due to a stellar recruiting class this cycle. Ultimately, the sheer volume of televised games should maintain current exposure levels and mitigate any negative impact. Bottom line: Realignment appears to have engendered more potential winners than losers.
Overall, I don't think there has been a huge change. Primarily the schools that were recruiting well are still recruiting well, and the schools that weren't recruiting well still aren't. Heck, as much as fans pay attention to this stuff, the kids probably barely know who is in what league.
I know several kids who still think Maryland will be in the ACC and Syracuse is still in the Big East. The reality is the kids don't pay nearly as much attention to this as some may think. Sure some schools such as Butler, Xavier, and Creighton might get a bit of a bump, but other than that I think the impact has been very minimal.
Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon, Rob Harrington and Brian Snow contributed to this report