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Atlantic-10 set for major boost

Butler's Shelvin Mack reacts to action against Virginia

Butler's Shelvin Mack reacts to action against Virginia Commonwealth during the second half of a men's NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game. (April 2, 2011) (Credit: AP)

Except for maybe the ACC, which recently added Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame to its mix, has any conference had a better year than the Atlantic-10?

When Temple announced it was leaving the league for the Big East, many viewed it as a huge blow to the Atlantic-10. Little did anyone know that commissioner Bernadette McGlade and her staff worked behind the scenes to make sure the league landed on its feet after the departure of one of the Atlantic-10’s most visible programs.

The Atlantic-10 landed on its feet alright, with a golden parachute. The conference added VCU and Butler to the mix. No one knows for sure how close the Atlantic-10 came to adding George Mason.

Adding VCU and Butler was only the beginning. The Atlantic-10 will play its conference tournament at the Barclays Center.

“The opportunity to partner with the Barclays Center and bring the Atlantic-10 basketball championship to New York has unlimited possibilities,” said McGlade. “Our teams will compete in the newest, state-of-the-art facility within the Atlantic-10 footprint and the number one media market in the country.”

The league also inked a lucrative television deal with ESPN, CBS and NBC.

“These agreements, which will allow our fans the ability to watch Atlantic 10 basketball on national television more than ever before, further separates and solidifies the A-10 as the best basketball-centric conference in the country,” said McGlade. “This deal also provides the A-10 increased control over future intellectual property rights and positions the league to be digital innovators.”

Sufficed to say the Atlantic-10 is batting 1.000. 

So where does the Atlantic-10 stack up against the other conferences? Last year the league finished seventh in conference RPI standings. VCU and Butler figure to push the league up a little more.

2011-2012 FINAL CONFERENCE RPI

1. Big Ten
2. Big East
3. Big 12
4. Southeastern
5. Mountain West
6. ACC
7. Atlantic-10
8. Missouri Valley
9. Conference USA
10. PAC-12
 

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