Addition of Louisville bolsters ACC’s already bright basketball future

There's a reason nobody in ACC country was overly concerned about how losing Maryland to the Big Ten would impact basketball in the league going forward.

The ACC had a handful of other basketball powers clamoring to fill the spot that will be vacated by the Terps.

With Wednesday morning's announcement that Louisville will join the conference in 2014, the new ACC is positioned to be the premier league in college basketball for the foreseeable future.

No other conference in the nation can match a top tier consisting of Tobacco Road powers Duke, North Carolina and NC State, and ex-Big East newcomers Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. And no other conference in the nation can match a coaching roster of Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim and Rick Pitino, not to mention Mike Brey, Jamie Dixon and a handful of other established names.

In this week's AP poll, the ACC has three current or future teams in the top six, five in the top 25 and three others receiving votes. Granted an unusually formidable Big Ten has six top 25 teams this week, but it will be rare for another league to be able to surpass that most seasons.

If Louisville's addition is a boost for the ACC, it's definitely damaging for a Big East facing an increasingly scattered, tepid basketball future.

The Big East certainly will still be relevant — the arrival of Temple and Memphis and the presence of NCAA tournament regulars UConn, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and St. John's guarantees that. But none of those programs with the exception of UConn have been to multiple Final Fours in the past 25 years and the presence of SMU, Houston and Tulane weakens the Big East's basketball brand.

And, of course, the big losers in Louisville's move are Cincinnati and UConn, both of whom sought an invitation from the ACC as well.

Louisville's combination of a strong brand, sparkling facilities and football and basketball success won the ACC over. Now the Cardinals are bound for a more stable league with the best basketball in the nation, and the Bearcats and Huskies are stuck in a conference that appears to be a shell of its former self.

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