Linking Laconically didn't think that this was, like, a real thing

Bonus Nonlaconical Commentary on That Last Link (Well, not so much "commentary" as "thinking out loud")

Mr. Gasaway notes that both of the two most plausible candidates for Big Ten expansion (Missouri and Pitt) look pretty attractive from a basketball standpoint--despite the fact that the financial considerations of expansion are going to rest firmly on the football side of the ledger.  That statement is particularly true from an MSU perspective.  Missouri would give us a conference foe that, believe it or not, goes out of its way to play at a fast tempo.  Pittsburgh, meanwhile, would have great potential as a major basketball rival for MSU, given the sustained national-level (read: NCAA Tournament) success the Panthers have experienced over the last decade.

I do wonder if there's a downside here, though, for MSU basketball.  Remember how we haven't won a neutral-court tournament in almost a decade?  (How could you forget?)  Well, it seems to me that, once you go to a clearly-imbalanced, division-based regular season basketball schedule, winning the conference tournament takes on more prestige relative to winning the regular season championship.  While last season's regular season championship broke a 7-year drought, the evidence would still suggest that, for whatever reason, Tom Izzo is better at building teams that win the 12+ games needed to compete for a regular season title (5 such seasons since 2001) than at winning 3 games in as many days (zero appearances in the BTT final over the same span).

The optimistic spin, I suppose, is that when/if the conference tournament becomes a bigger deal, hopefuly Izzo would be able to conjure up more of the getting-his-team-ready-to-play-big-games-on-short-notice magic he's so well known for in the NCAA Tournament.

Anyway, there's another conference expansion angle to chew on.

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