Well, one part of the realignment madness will come to its inevitable and logical conclusion on Wednesday when Butler, as Andy Katz is reporting, officially decides to join the Atlantic 10. Of course the conference already has 14 members and that’s where it will stay (at least thus far) as Butler is coming in for the 2013-14 season as a replacement for Temple, which is departing for the Big East.
As for Butler, I agree with Andy Glockner in that I think the Bulldogs are going to be just fine. The Bulldogs already spend at the level of a mid-to-upper tier Atlantic 10 basketball program. They also have one of the best head coaches in the business. There’s nothing to be worried about, despite some people’s questions.
The trickle-down effect though is probably just starting. The Horizon League now needs at least one more team. The conference schedule works on pairs of opponents circulating throughout the Midwest region. Butler and Valparaiso have made a nice couple for a little while now, but the Crusaders are going to have to find a new dance partner. Some names have already been thrown out there.
I’d like to put to rest one of those names right now. There’s no way Duquesne is leaving the A-10 for the Horizon League. The Dukes just hired Jim Ferry because they want to win at that level, not because they want to take a big step backwards in terms of conference affiliation. Duquesne doesn’t have any interactions with football – which has driven some backwards basketball conference movement – so it makes almost zero sense for it to move down the conference ladder.
What about some of the other options? Are they ready to compete at a higher level? From a raw dollars spent on basketball (all numbers from 2011 courtesy of bbstate.com) here’s how those schools stack up:
- IUPUI – $1.20 million
- Oakland – $1.55 million
- Robert Morris – $1.16 million
- Wayne State – Division II, talented, but it seems like a pretty big jump.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Horizon League does. There are good teams in the league, some of which are located in valuable Midwestern markets. The league also has a strong online presence, which allows its basketball to get on the third screen, and gives both fans and reporters the ability to watch almost any conference game live. Much like what could happen to the CAA, the Horizon League now has to find a way to respond to a change it most certainly saw coming. Because come 2013-14 the Butler way goes through the Atlantic 10.