Butler Jumps To Atlantic 10 Conference
Butler hasn't been the little school that can for a long time.
The team that was the NCAA national runner-up two years running is taking its David vs. Goliath act a step up in class, leaving the Horizon League and joining the Atlantic 10 in all sports except football beginning with the 2013-14 season. Butler president James Danko made the announcement in a news conference on Wednesday.
Butler thrilled college basketball fans as the small Indiana school that pulled off upset after upset in both the 2010 and 2011 NCAA tournaments. The Bulldogs lost to Duke in the 2010 national title game when Gordon Hayward's half-court heave bounced off the rim in Indianapolis. The cold-shooting Bulldogs then lost to Connecticut in the 2011 championship game.
The Atlantic 10 has had 41 at-large NCAA selections the past 20 years, and has had at least three NCAA tournament teams each of the past five years.
How Butler's basketball team will fare in the upgrade to the A-10 is a big question, but remember, the coach is Brad Stevens, writes Eamonn Brennan.
"Historically, you look at the number of at-larges, number of teams that have advanced in the tournament, the number of teams that have advanced in postseason play, the A-10 has certainly had a lot more teams in that boat," Butler coach Brad Stevens said.
Butler traditionally has played a difficult nonconference schedule to compensate for the relatively weak Horizon League slate and position itself for at-large NCAA bids. Now, the conference schedule will be more difficult.
"I do think that any time you're talking about a league that has gotten multiple bids on a very consistent basis, that means there's a lot of good teams, and that means you're not held to a perfect standard throughout the season," Stevens said. "That being said, you're going to have to play awfully good to be in consideration for an at-large bid in either league."
Butler fills a void left by Temple, which will join the Big East in all sports other than football in 2013-14. Temple's football team will begin playing in the Big East this fall.