Commissioner: Big East viable without Notre Dame

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco says the league remains "the nation's best" basketball conference and the idea that its viability will diminish without Notre Dame is "utter nonsense."

Aresco said before Saturday's game between No. 19 Louisville and North Carolina that "nobody's going to argue that we're not the strongest basketball conference in the country. "

The commissioner added "there's no arguing we're a better football league than we were when we were eight teams. ... We liked having Notre Dame and having them at Madison Square Garden. ... but I'm just looking ahead."

Notre Dame is joining the Atlantic Coast Conference to compete in every sport but football. It's the third Big East school to leave for the ACC; Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced they were leaving earlier this year.