While expansionpalooza has been all about football there is a basketball related angle we need to keep an eye on. So Pitt and Syracuse were two of the recent dominoes as the Panthers and the Orangemen decide to join up with the basketball centric ACC conference.
Apparently Jamie Dixon - the Howland protégé at Pitt - may not be super excited about the Panthers playing in the ACC. From Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News:
There are three principle ingredients to the Panthers' stunning, almost incongruous basketball success: The particular genius of coach Jamie Dixon, the construction of the Petersen Events Center and the Big East Conference.
If the Panthers indeed wind up in the ACC, they soon might be able to rely upon only one of those three.
Around 18 months ago, when Pitt was rumored to be a candidate for membership in the Big Ten Conference, Dixon was known to be less than enthused about that prospect. What he understands that too many do not is that Pitt's presence among the basketball elite is more perilous than just about anyone's.
Because there are, essentially, no players to recruit in town. Not few. None.
DeJuan Blair was a first-team All-American for the Panthers in 2008-09 and, as play-by-play announcers reminded you every time he played for Pitt, he grew up a five-minute walk from the Pete. Before Blair, however, the last genuine Pitt star who came from the Pittsburgh area was Sean Miller. He enrolled 20 years earlier.
That dearth of regional talent is one reason Ralph Willard, a talented coach who excelled at Western Kentucky and Holy Cross, failed when he took his one shot at being a major-conference head coach.
It's one reason Ben Howland was pleased to get the opportunity to coach at UCLA, where there are so many great talents in the region that a Russell Westbrook sometimes will go unnoticed until he winds up helping the Bruins to the Final Four.
Read rest of DeCourcy's piece here.
We will certainly keep a close eye on Dixon. He is after all will be one of the most obvious candidates when UCLA is in the market for a basketball coach - whenever that turns out to be.
If there are reading other expansion related tidbits, stories today that we ought to take note of please share them in this thread.