Football king on realignment, but Villanova, Gonzaga and more prove you don’t need it to win big in basketball – The Athletic

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Mike Roth is driving to work when he picks up the phone. The ultimate short, Roth has less than a month’s work as Gonzaga’s athletic director and heads into retirement with the contentment of a man who knows he’s leaving a better place than he is. found. During his 24 years, Roth helped guide the Zags from courageous victor to national power, with the basketball team’s success virtually saving the university from financial abyss.

Discussions about the conference realignment swirl again, but Gonzaga stays entirely out of the conversation. The Zags haven’t fielded a football team since 1941, and since football is the northern star of the realignment, Gonzaga is irrelevant. Talking to Roth, then, may seem like a pointless endeavor.

Except from a purely basketball standpoint, Gonzaga is exceptionally relevant. With every iteration of the conference realignment, including this one, college basketball has been dragged along like very consumable baggage. College football is more important and college basketball cannot survive without it. At least that’s the message everyone has swallowed and regurgitated for years. This is why the once mighty and seemingly indestructible Big East swelled beyond recognition, collapsed and reformed. That’s why Connecticut spent seven years in a real wilderness, hoping to cash in on its blitz 2010 Fiesta Bowl season. And that’s why now, as Texas and Oklahoma launch the league they helped found for the SEC’s Greener Financial Pastures, no one seems terribly concerned about the basketball rubbish left behind. , even though they are stacked on the junk are the reigning national champion and one of the proudest and most successful programs in hoop history.

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