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Pitino offers suggestion for potential Big East divisions


Rick Pitino is so mad about Louisville’s upcoming Big East schedule, he’s ready to split the conference into divisions. Well, at least once TCU joins the party in 2012.

He’s even divided the schools.

The Cardinals coach laid his idea Thursday morning on his website, proposing and East division with DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, South Florida and Villanova. The West would include Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pitt, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia.

Here’s his vision for the schedule:

You build rivalries within your division. Each team would play 16 league games. Everything would be fair and level for everyone. The tournament at MSG is where we will have cross competition. After the byes, East 1 will play West bottom and vice versa. We would all play each other twice in our division. Rivalries will be created. And the schedule will be fair for everyone. It’s food for thought. The special logistics will be worked out by the boys at the Pub.

Geography aside, those divisions almost certainly would need work. Syracuse and Georgetown are mad they’re only playing once this season, let alone what other schools might want.

Pitino’s idea or something similar will almost certainly be considered by league officials. As Mike DeCourcy wrote in May, a 17-team league can’t help but feel a little bloated. But he also says a 17-team league isn’t much different than the 16-team version, which has thrived despite some predicting it would collapse by sheer logistic nightmare.

How about this: They forget to add TCU to the hoops schedule and the Horned Frogs keep playing MWC foes. Would anyone really notice?

UPDATE: As Brian Ewart as VUHoops noted, the split would align for football’s purposes. Failed to notice this when I placed South Florida in the wrong division.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.