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Full Version: Andy Katz: Why the Atlantic 10 gets it
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After Temple decided to bolt for the Big East, coach Fran Dunphy never even considered the possibility that the Owls wouldn't be allowed to play in the 2013 Atlantic 10 tournament.

And why would he? That's not the way the A-10 operates. The league wanted no part of being bitter and vindictive, especially toward one of its most recognizable and successful programs.

"I never thought about it,'' Dunphy said as he watched a recent AAU game at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex. "There are a lot of bittersweet feelings from the Temple point of view. I hope we've been great members of the Atlantic 10 over the years. In my six years, it has been a fabulous basketball conference and this year could be off the charts with as many good teams as there are.''

Why will there be so many good teams? Partly because of the bitterness emanating from the Horizon League and Colonial Athletic Association toward its most recognizable and successful programs, Butler and VCU.

Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade couldn't believe Butler and VCU would be available so soon, but with the backing of the A-10 presidents, she led a charge for early entry once those programs were officially banned from their league postseasons.

McGlade said the A-10 CEOs had developed a plan in November 2010 to solidify membership in the event of realignment. The September 2011 move of Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East to the ACC forced the A-10 into a proactive posture. That's when the league sought out Butler and VCU as possibilities (along with Old Dominion and George Mason).

The Atlantic 10 understood that. The CAA and Horizon did not -- and the consequence is that both leagues will slip off the main grid this season, while the A-10 surges way ahead.

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