Here's what the article says about expansion...
Ackerman said the league was not in discussion about expansion right now, but when pressed, did admit that more than three schools have approached the Big East about potentially joining the conference.
"We do talk about it internally," Ackerman said. "I think every conference commissioner worth their salt has to be thinking about it in terms of long-term, where your league is and [evaluating] the future. But at this point, our schools are very satisfied with the current 10 programs and 10-school setup."
If expansion came to be in the Big East, Ackerman said going to 11 would be most ideal and "very workable" because it could allow the double round-robin intra-league scheduling to remain in place. Going to 12 or more schools would eliminate that, and given that Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen is coming off a year in which he was the selection committee chair, his input on the value of round-robin scheduling -- when it comes to NCAA Tournament evaluation -- carries a lot of weight.
The Big East is also in wait-and-see mode as to how 20 league games -- and the new NET rankings -- affect other big conferences when it comes to seeding and selection. As it stands now, most Big East teams are already guaranteed 20 high-major games because there's 18 conferences tilts, the Gavitt Games with the Big Ten in November and the Big East-Big 12 series, which started this season.
What schools make for ideal candidates? The rumor mill has consistently put out a litany of programs, many of them currently in the A-10, such as Saint Louis, Dayton, Richmond, VCU, Rhode Island, Davidson and Saint Joseph's. A source previously told me that Gonzaga even informally debated the idea. And of course, there's UConn, which has a fanbase aching to get back into the Big East. But it's football program and all the money attached to that currently stands as a logistical hurdle, if not 100-foot wall.
Ackerman said any school up for consideration would have to check a lot of boxes before entering into real discussion.
"Geography would be in important," she said. "Commitment to basketball would probably be the No. 1 thing, the notion that they would be additive as it relates to our basketball prospects. Are they going to help secure our chances every year of getting into the NCAA Tournament? Possible No. 2: Would they help us with our tournament? Would they bring fans to Madison Square Garden?"
The Catholic-school angle is also not insignificant. Butler, which is private and of similar makeup to the other nine, is the only non-Catholic institution in the Big East. There's also a high level of camaraderie and morale among the membership now, something that Ackerman noted wasn't there right before the old Big East fissured, when the league was bigger.