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Pittsburgh to the Big Ten? Not so fast

Pittsburgh men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon has heard the rumors of the Big Ten targeting Pittsburgh, but he isn't thrilled with the idea of the Panthers bolting the Big East, according to the Associated Press.

Reports have been circling recently about the Big Ten's proposed expansion. Pitt is among the schools the Big Ten is rumored to have interest in.

"I can't see how any team would improve where they're at by movement," Dixon told the AP. "Every situation, you have to look at why you're doing it to improve yourselves. And I can't see how moving from the best conference in college basketball history would be a good thing for anybody."

If anything, the move would probably be more football-related than anything. But Dixon isn't buying that either.

"We've got [football] bowl tie-ins greater than any other conference, as far as percentages, so what would we have to change for?" Dixon said. "This thing just keeps getting better."

Dixon's reasoning makes perfect sense. And here's why.

The Big East is regarded by most experts as the best conference in the country. The conference routinely gets seven to eight teams in. The same can't be said for Big Ten basketball. Except for Michigan State and Wisconsin in certain years, no Big Ten team has been a major factor this decade or at least not on a consistent basis.   

As for the football argument, moving to a bigger conference doesn't guarantee anything. Just ask Florida State, Miami and Penn State. All three were powerhouses as independents before they joined a conference. 

Florida State lost six games for the third time in four years. They lost at least five games five times in the last eight seasons. As an independent under Bobby Bowden, the Seminoles lost five or more games twice and six games just once. The lone six-loss season as an independent came in his first season. Florida State hasn't finished in the top 5 since 2000. 

Florida State basketball has made just four NCAA appearances since joining the ACC in 1991.

Things weren't great for Penn State either. The Nittany Lions had a five-year stretch (2000-2004) where they lost six or more games four times, including a 3-9 finish in 2003. Penn State has made a comeback the last five years with three seasons of 10 or more wins and two more of nine wins. But it took a lot of blood and sweat for Joe Paterno to fight off his opponents looking to run him out of town.

Penn State basketball took a big step by winning the NIT last season, but is an afterthought as far as the NCAA is concerned.

Pitt moving to the Big Ten may sound nice, but if you read between the lines, it could make the Panthers JAT (Just Another Team).   

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