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College Basketball Preview: New teams in new leagues in 2013-14

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Another new season means a bunch of teams in new leagues. We've listed them below. (USATSI)
Another new season means a bunch of teams in new leagues. We've listed them below. (USATSI)

If it seemed to you like the past eight months were relatively quiet on the conference realignment front, well, they kind of were. But this season brings about the most change from all that action over the previous three years. The 2013-14 hoops season has 21 of 32 leagues either bringing in or saying goodbye to teams, and about 50 teams in all hopping from one union to the next, marking the highest transfer rate in one year in college hoops history, it's believed.

Last year there were 347 teams in Division I. Now there are 351. (It's too many by about 100, I maintain.) And we've even got a whole new league, too -- the American Athletic Conference. It's impossible to keep track, I know. So I'm here to help. Which teams went to which conferences? All of them are listed below.

The Biggest Moves

American Athletic Conference

In: Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, South Florida, Temple.

Out: Nobody.

Total teams in conference: 10

Comment: It's a whole new league, meaning the NCAA tournament will now have 36 at-large bids instead of 37. That's kind of cool, making the bubble process a little tougher, even if by one bid. The AAC will bring in/lose teams next year too, when Louisville and Rutgers bounce after paying the rent for a season, leaving for the ACC and Big Ten, respectively.

Atlantic 10

In: George Mason.

Out: Butler, Charlotte, Temple, Xavier.

Total teams in conference: 13

Comment: The A-10 had its best year in league history last season. Mason coming in helps shore up some of the huge losses to the league; Butler, Temple and Xavier were such pivotal programs to making this league on par with just about any other. Now, while it's still very good, it's clearly a notch below the best in the sport.

Atlantic Coast Conference

In: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse.

Out: Nobody.

Total teams in conference: 15

Comment: Similar to the Atlantic 10 last year, when it had Butler for a season before it left for the new Big East, this ACC campaign will be the only one with three three teams above plus Maryland, which is headed to the Big Ten next year. This conference should be absolutely stacked this season. Best-case scenario: It encroaches on the top-to-bottom talent that the 2010-11 Big East had, when it sent 11 teams to the NCAAs.

Big East

In: Butler, Creighton, Xavier.

Out: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse.

Total teams in conference: 10

Comment: I maintain this version of the Big East will end up being great for college hoops. It's a basketball-first league, it'll play a true round-robin, 18-game conference schedule, meaning every team plays each other twice. That's great. The additions are all very strong, and it's perfect timing this year to bring in Creighton, which has Doug McDermott, a two-time All-American. This year's Big East is also as much of a toss-up as any league in the nation. Too hard to forecast, which is just how I like it.

Mountain West

In: Utah State, San Jose State.

Out: Nobody.

Total teams in conference: 11

Comment: Utah State: a great addition. San Jose State: a great addition for court-viewing purposes. To me, there are nine leagues in college hoops that should be considered perennial multi-bid ones. The Mountain West qualifies, and adding Utah State only bolsters the league for 2013-14. In my view, the MWC is now set up in any given year to be anywhere from No. 6 to No. 10 in the country.

A Level Below

Conference USA

In: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Old Dominion, Texas-San Antonio.

Out: Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU.

Total teams in conference: 16

Comment: Remember Conference USA a decade ago? Wow -- a completely different entity. This is now a league full of nomads, a conference that's going to have a lot of work to do to establish itself as multi bid-worthy on the regular. It's bloated right now, in my opinion. What was once clearly a top-eight league in the country now could fluctuate anywhere between No. 10 and No. 20 depending on the season.

Colonial Athletic Association

In: College of Charleston.

Out: George Mason, Georgia State, Old Dominion.

Total teams in conference: Nine

Comment: The CAA's taken big hits here, no denying it. VCU last season and now Mason gone to the A-10 as well. It's still a nice league, but unquestionably a one-bid conference as it stands right now. Losing ODU is fairly signficant. Charleston is a good program to pick up, though. Absolutely was necessary.

Missouri Valley

In: Loyola (Ill.)

Out: Creighton

Total teams in conference: 10

Comment: Well, not a fair trade, of course. But Loyola does bring in the Chicago market, it does have a national championship (1963) and it's not such a stretch that the school isn't worthy of being included. All things considered, a decent add after Creighton chased the Big East dream. By the way, the MVC went nearly two decades without changing its programs, the longest streak in college hoops outside of the Ivy League, which you will never see on a list like this.

Western Athletic Conference

In: Cal State Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, Texas-Pan American, UMKC, Utah Valley.

Out: Denver, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, Texas-Arlington, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, Utah State.

Total teams in conference: Nine

Comment: So many Texas- and Utah-based schools on the move here. You could give me a month the memorize the changes and I'd still fail the quiz. The WAC went from complete obliteration -- due to football -- to at least sustaining itself to be a nine-team league. That's a victory, even if the league is now nowhere where it was 10 years ago.

West Coast Conference

In: Pacific.

Out: Nobody.

Total teams in conference: 10

Comment: The West Coast is really close to making the jump and giving college hoops a Top 10, so to speak. Ten leagues with multi-bid capability every year -- and then a firm line of delineation after that. I just have to see it for one or two more years, now that BYU's in the fold and Saint Mary's has some NCAA restrictions to deal with. Pacific is a nice add. Not a worldbeater, but a good fit in this conference, for sure.

The Tiny Teams

America East

In: UMass-Lowell.

Out: Boston University.

Total teams in conference: Nine

Comment: BU was a proud program in the league. UMass-Lowell is transitioning to D-I, so that change is going to take some time. A downgrade for a small-time league that has pride at the top still with Vermont, Stony Brook and Albany.

Big West

In: Nobody.

Out: Pacific.

Total teams in conference: Nine

Comment: Losing Pacific obviously hurts. League is a little worse off because of the departure.

Horizon League

In: Oakland

Out: Loyola (Ill.)

Total teams in conference: Nine

Comment: Upgrade for the Horizon, even if small. Oakland under Greg Kampe has been perenially solid, making the NCAAs a few times as well. This league is quintessential mid-major college hoops -- and that's a good thing. Always one or two teams every year able to make a splash.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

In: Monmouth, Quinnipiac

Out: Loyola (Md.)

Total teams in conference: 11

Comment: Good add-ons here. Loyola leaving is a minor sting, but Quinnipiac is a program that's a perfect fit for the MAAC in just about every way. Monmouth has untapped potential as well.

Northeast Conference

In: Nobody.

Out: Monmouth, Quinnipiac.

Total teams in conference: 10

Comment: Fortunately the NEC had the inventory to sustain the MAAC straight plucking two of its programs. Despite the departures, I believe the NEC is essentially in the same spot. A one-bid league that's solid for its standing/tier in the greater scheme of mid-majors.

Patriot League

In: Boston University, Loyola (Md.).

Out: Nobody.

Total teams in conference: 10

Comment: This conference easily gets better by going to 10 teams. Now you can have an 18-game league slate, and BU happens to be the best team in the conference this season, or so it seems. Nice upgrade for a conference that's been somewhat underrated in the past 15 years, all told.

Southern Conference

In: Nobody.

Out: College of Charleston

Total teams in conference: 11

Comment: The SoCon is in the process of a downgrade, as it loses Charleston this year, then Davidson next year (to the Atlantic 10). A shame, but this is where the ripple effects from the very top come and influence the smaller leagues. The SoCon isn't going to be terrible because of the losses, it's just not going to be good at its peak as we've seen it.

Southland

In: Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, New Orleans.

Out: Nobody.

Total teams in conference: 14

Comment: All filler, baby. Abilene Christian and The Word are D-I transitional schools. And New Orleans went D-III for a few minutes before opting to stay at this level. The Southland is now a league with a lot of geographic spread to it. I will give you a huge and a warm slice of pizza if you can tell me where Incarnate Word is located.

The Summit League

In: Denver.

Out: Oakland, UMKC.

Total teams in conference: Eight

Comment: Getting Denver and losing Oakland could wind up being an even trade about five years down the road. UMKC hasn't done anything and is considered one of the toughest jobs in the sport. The league is so spread out geographically -- North Dakota to Illinois to Colorado to Indiana -- that it's a grind to coach in. Will South Dakota State continue to run this new setup?

Sun Belt

In: Georgia State, Texas-Arlington, Texas State.

Out: Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas.

Total teams in conference: 10

Comment: The Florida schools weren't doing much for the league, but losing MTSU will leave a ding. Georgia State should be solid in the short-term, at the very least.

Without a Home

New Jersey Institute of Technology. There can only be none for the Highlanders, who were part of the Great West last season, but that conference is no more. So this is the only program in D-I without a conference to its name.

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