Butler to the A-10 in ’12-’13

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The Butler Bulldogs will be leaving the Horizon League and joining the Atlantic 10 for the 2012-2013 season.

“We are grateful to the Atlantic 10 for welcoming us into the fold a year ahead of schedule,” Athletic Director Collier said.  “Since announcing our intention to depart after 2012-13, Butler and the Horizon League have discussed the terms for next season.  Ultimately, it was in our best interest to reach an agreement with the Horizon League for immediate departure.”

When Butler originally decided to make the jump from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10, they were supposed to be waiting for the 2013-2014 season. But with VCU making the decision to join the conference immediately, the A-10 needed another team to get to an even number. When the Horizon League presidents voted to keep Butler out of this season’s conference tournament — thus making them ineligible to receive the conference’s automatic bid — the school decided it was in their best interest to leave. There are now 16 teams in the league, a number that will drop to 14 once Temple and Charlotte leave the conference in a year.

The addition of VCU and Butler, and with Temple remaining in the conference for another year, makes the Atlantic 10 one of the most intriguing leagues in the country. Think about it like this: there is a legitimate argument to make that Xavier is not a top eight team heading into the season. Are the Musketeers better than St. Louis, Temple, VCU, Butler, UMass, Dayton, La Salle and St. Joe’s?

That’s a lot of good teams, enough that I don’t think it is out of the question that the Atlantic 10 could field more NCAA tournament teams than the Big East.

And that’s why the Atlantic 10 will likely be the nation’s most entertaining league race.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.