UTEP and Conference USA received a huge blow yesterday when the Big East announced they would invite the University of Memphis to become a member of their conference next year. The Tigers had been trying to leave C-USA since being snubbed by the Big East's expansion seven years ago, and the opportunity to join them was too tempting to pass up. Memphis joins fellow C-USA members Houston, SMU, and Central Florida, who will all be moving to the Big East Conference beginning in the 2013-2014 season.

The impact of the Tigers' departure from C-USA is enormous as it relates to men's college basketball. Since UTEP joined C-USA seven years ago, Memphis has  been the best team in the conference almost every season. They brought credibility and respect to a league that otherwise lacked any star power. Without the Tigers, C-USA will most likely be reduced to a 1-bid league in the NCAA Tournament and their conference RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) will be significantly higher. It will also force C-USA into a potential merger with the Mountain West. Originally, it was thought to only include football. Now, you can bet men's and women's college basketball will be part of the package. For UTEP, they just lost another rival and their best conference opponent to the Big East.