Andy Katz Blog: Every team in the A-10 needs to thank the Horizon League and the Colonial Athletic Association for their stringent rules preventing Butler and VCU from playing in the conference tournament.
Take those two teams out of the A-10 this season, and suddenly the league is suspect and loses the high-profile matchups that have occurred this past week and resulted in court storming.
The A-10 has had a number of teams take turns at the top, with the two most consistent programs being Xavier and Temple. Temple will be gone to the Big East next season. When the A-10 secured Butler and VCU as members and then actually got them a year earlier, it turned out to be the biggest coup in all of the realignment moves.
And that’s why it will be imperative for the A-10 to do whatever it can to keep them from being poached by the departing Big East Catholic seven schools. If those schools take Xavier and/or Dayton, then it will be a hit for the league. Losing Butler, though, would be devastating.
Where to begin with this diatribe Andy let loose on us? Yes, it was an incredible feat to nab these two programs and add them to the Atlantic 10 conference. But to say that those 2 teams are the only reason the A-10 is good is just lunacy.
There are no high-profile match-ups without them? What does Andy, and by extension, ESPN, think a high-profile match-up is? A game that involves a ranked team? The A-10 is, and always has been, a solid conference with an RPI that has been higher than at least one of the “power conferences” each year. Anyone who is a fan of a school in the A-10 knows that there are always high-quality match-ups that do not always look good on paper. Take my URI Rams, for instance. They are by no means a top program in the conference and have not been in a couple of years yet they seem to have a couple of teams’ numbers, so to speak. URI seems to, no matter the talent disparity, play Dayton and St. Louis tough each year. Those games are always fun to watch and come down to the final minutes.
I know there are also other match-ups that are just as much fun to watch as those between other schools.
Just last year without the big, bad VCU and Butler in the conference, the A-10 had 4 teams go to the NCAA tournament and another 4 teams go to the NIT tournament. I do not notice that much of a drop-off from last year with these teams and most of these teams are reloading with high quality, young talent and will be even better in the next year or two.