Conference Realignment's Impact on College Basketball Big 12 and Big Ten Strengthened with Pac-12 Additions

Conference Realignment’s Impact on College Basketball: College basketball’s 2024-25 season stands to undergo a drastic transformation as conference realignment approaches. Longstanding powerhouses Arizona, UCLA, and Utah will leave Pac-12 behind and look toward Big Ten or Big 12 schools as potential destinations. This major reshuffle could have far-reaching ramifications on college basketball’s landscape; let’s delve further into its implications for Big 12, Ten, and departing Pac-12 schools.

Big 12: Building a Stronger Basketball Powerhouse

The Big 12, long considered one of the nation’s toughest conferences in college basketball, is set to strengthen further with the addition of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah.

Arizona: Reviving Wildcat Pride

Arizona basketball program is embarking on a new chapter with Tommy Lloyd as head coach since 2021. Lloyd helped Gonzaga reach national prominence at Arizona, already making an impactful statement about reclaiming former glory and emerging as an elite force within Big 12. Already have Carter Bryant and Jamari Phillips from the 2024 class signed onto Arizona as promising recruits, and it appears poised for great things in the Big 12.

Arizona State: Challenges and Potential

Arizona State’s decision to join the Big 12 comes from a successful 2022-23 season under head coach Bobby Hurley and signals forward momentum for their program. While competition increases significantly with this move, they can rely on Hurley and their recent successes to make an impressionable statement in their new conference. Nonetheless, Big 12 poses unique challenges, and Arizona State must raise its game to overcome them.

Colorado: Returning to Familiar Grounds

Colorado’s return to the Big 12 brings back fond memories, as they helped establish it in 1994. Their decision to switch conferences in 2011 and move from Big 12 to Pac-12 proved profitable, with multiple NCAA Tournament berths secured under that system. Now returning home, Colorado hopes to utilize their Pac-12 experience and compete against more challenging Big 12 competition – something their football program may particularly enjoy. At the same time, their basketball squad looks forward to facing familiar foes again.

Utah: Short-Term Struggles Ahead

Utah’s move to the Big 12 could present immediate difficulties for its basketball program. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, Utah basketball has struggled to establish itself consistently, making only two NCAA Tournament appearances since 2001. Recent realignment cycles have strengthened Big 12, creating more elite competition, and limiting Utah’s ability to compete at its peak level. Utah hopes this change presents challenges and opportunities to establish itself within this new basketball landscape.

Big Ten: Expanding Westward

The Big Ten’s strategic decision to add former Pac-12 teams, USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington, is an attempt to broaden its geographical footprint and bolster its basketball portfolio.

Oregon: Testing the Waters in the Big Ten

Oregon Ducks basketball program will find joining the Big Ten an exhilarating challenge. Their presence, having made seven out of eight NCAA Tournament appearances between 2012-2021, strengthens this league. Though tougher competition will test them, increased resources and exposure should allow their program to reach new heights.

UCLA: The Tradition Continues

UCLA brings an illustrious basketball tradition to the Big Ten Conference. Under Mick Cronin’s direction, UCLA has enjoyed an illustrious resurgence under Mick, with two Sweet 16 appearances and a memorable Final Four run in 2021. Thanks to top 2023 recruit Isaiah Collier and recent recruiting successes like Eric Freeny’s commitment in 2024 class recruitment, they appear well prepared for success within their new conference home.

USC: Under the Spotlight

USC’s entry into the Big Ten brings talent and intrigue. Bronny James, son of NBA icon LeBron James, adds excitement and drama to their basketball program. However, due to the recent health scares suffered by James, this may add uncertainty and increase awareness around their schedule. Furthermore, USC basketball boasts top recruit Isaiah Collier making them compelling to follow as they move into this tier of competition.

Washington: The Challenge of Transition

Washington’s struggles in the Pac-12 raise similar doubts regarding their prospects in a more challenging basketball conference like Big Ten. Their limited success over recent seasons does not bode well as they prepare to face more formidable competition; yet, with determination and the appropriate approach, they could find ways to surprise and become competitive forces within it.

The 2024-25 college basketball season promises to be one of transition as traditional powerhouses make their transitions. Big 12 and Big Ten schools receive former Pac-12 squads as members of both conferences. While departing Pac-12 schools could face uncertainty. Fans nationwide can anticipate fierce competition, new rivalries, and unexpected stories throughout this transitional year. The latest college basketball news in Canada has sparked excitement among enthusiastic fans as it ushers in a promising new era filled with potential and obstacles for all participating teams.