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UConn has some unlikely allies: Duke and Maryland

No one knows if the ACC will be expanding to sixteen teams, but people in Storrs sure hope it is, and in that they may have some unexpected allies: Duke and Maryland. I missed this when it was in the Baltimore Sun a couple of days ago, but it's worth mentioning because it provides some picture of the thinking within the ACC at the moment. From the Sun:

Maryland and Duke are among those privately expressing interest in a 16-team conference, according to ACC-member representatives with knowledge of recent private discussions. According to the representatives, other ACC schools also favor moving to 16 but at least one unnamed member was against expansion.

On it's surface this is good for UConn because the Huskies desperately want the ACC to expand, but the fact that Duke is pushing for this move says a lot about ACC priorities. When the ACC expanded eight years ago the move was opposed by North Carolina and Duke who did not want to enhance the league's football strength at the expense of basketball. Duke football hasn't become any more of a powerhouse since 2003 (one hilariously flukey win over BC aside), so I find it doubtful that the Blue Devils are pushing for addition with an eye on football, and when Mike Krzyzewski called the acquisition of Syracuse and Pitt "a real coup for the ACC" I doubt it was because he was excited to have Doug Marrone visit Durham. Nope, if Duke is pushing for expansion it's because it wants the ACC to be as elite as possible on the basketball court -- and that means UConn needs to be in the conversation.

Obviously not everyone in the ACC shares this view (as our visiting friends from BC Interruption will surely point out in the comments), and the Sun article points to some schools -- Florida St. in particular -- who are concerned about the league's football brand. But still, someone's in our corner, and even if we hate them on the court, it's nice to have their help off of it.