As you have probably heard by this point, the Atlantic Ten is welcoming Butler for the upcoming 2012-2013 season, a year sooner than originally anticipated. This is obviously enormous news for the increasingly enormous Atlantic Ten, the ranks of which have swollen to sixteen teams for the upcoming year. While it's usually Brad who scours the internet for other opinions while I sit it my mom's basement and punch KenPom numbers into a spreadsheet, the roles have reversed for this post.
We start with the always excellent Rob Dauster, editor of Ballin' is a Habit as well as a blogger for NBC. He notes that Butler is bouncing because the Horizon League voted to keep the Bulldogs out of the conference tournament for the upcoming season. With no shot at the league's automatic bid, Butler decided to depart. Why the league would vote to expel its most prolific member a year early is beyond me, but it's definitely the Atlantic Ten's gain.
TSN's Mike DeCourcy sent the credit to David Woods, who covers the team for the Indianapolis Star and broke the news on his Twitter feed. DeCourcy also points out that Butler returns four of their top five scorers from last season and will have sharpshooting guard - late of Arkansas - eligible for this first time this upcoming season. There's no denying his conclusion that the Bulldogs will be one of the A-10's favorites this preseason.
Shannon Russell raises an interesting point: with Butler in the fold as a conference opponent, what happens to the non-conference games scheduled between Butler and Xavier for the next two years? Well... we don't know just yet. Shannon got a quick quote from Mike Bobinski confirming what we already know, which isn't much.
Finally, we return to Ms. Russell for the A-10's official release:
NEWPORT NEWS, Va.-Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade released the following statement on Butler University's accelerated admission into the A-10:
"The Atlantic 10 is looking forward to welcoming Butler immediately for participation in our league. We are willing to make all necessary schedule adjustments and modifications to accommodate Butler's entry into the A-10 on July 1, 2012.
"The unexpected circumstances that precipitated Butler's request to move immediately were unfortunate, but we will welcome Butler into the A-10 as a valuable new member. The Atlantic 10 has the potential to have the strongest year in league history in 2012-13 with 16 outstanding programs."
That's about it for now. Brad will be on tomorrow with more regarding how this will affect the conference and the Muskies this coming season.