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A-10 is realignment winner thus far with addition of Butler, VCU

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Butler reached the national championship in 2009 and 2010.

Butler reached the national championship in 2009 and 2010 (US Presswire).

Atlantic-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade just pulled off quite the trade.

The A-10 lost Temple to the Big East and Charlotte to Conference-USA. McGlade acted quickly and pulled off a nice swap, adding Butler officially last month and now -- according to our own Brett McMurphy -- also bringing aboard VCU.

From a basketball perspective, that's a home run.

Obviously, the loss of Temple and Charlotte hurt from a media market perspective. The Owls also bring stability in hoops -- as Fran Dunphy will have the program in contention just about every season for an NCAA tournament berth. However, Charlotte has been down over the last half-dozen years -- with the school's last NCAA tourney appearance coming in 2005 under Bobby Lutz. The league has replaced Dunphy and Charlotte coach Alan Major with two of the elite young coaches in the game: Butler's Brad Stevens and VCU's Shaka Smart.

Both have a Final Four on their resumes, and both have spurned lucrative and multiple high-major programs to remain in their current situation. They aren't going anywhere unless a big-time opportunity comes along that fits -- and that's good news for the A-10.

Look at the top eight programs in the A-10 once Butler and VCU officially enter the league and it's fairly impressive: Xavier, Butler, VCU, Dayton, Saint Louis, UMass, Richmond and maybe Rhode Island. That also lends itself to plenty of quality young coaches with Chris Mack, Stevens, Smart, Archie Miller, Derek Kellogg, Chris Mooney and Dan Hurley. Phil Martelli has St. Joe's back on the upswing, Mike Lonergan should have George Washington competitive soon.

The A-10 has had 20 at-large NCAA tournament bids since 2000 and had a trio this past season.

Don't be shocked to see that number increase once Butler and VCU come aboard.

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