Temple Out, Butler In: What does it mean for the A10 and Duquesne?

by Rogabee

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I'll be taking a look at what the switch of Temple and Butler does to the A10 from a variety of different angles including men's hoops, women's basketball, and television in this post.

Primary Sport:  Men's Hoops

Losing Temple is obviously a huge loss for the A10.  There's no way to sugarcoat that.  With Temple going to the Big East, the A10 loses a team that was in the top 100 of the RPI for 9 of the last 10 years and has made the tourney four of the last five years under Dunphy.  Temple consistently scheduled as hard out of conference as anyone in the country even despite their MAC deal for football.  One of the two flagships for the A10 is gone. 

However, the A10 should continue to be quite fine and still should be a three to four bid league.  Over its history, the A10 has lost many invaluable members to BCS conferences - Villanova in 1980, Pitt in 1982, Penn State in 1991, Rutgers and WVU in 1995, and Virginia Tech in 2000. 

However, while not all of the replacements have worked out, many of the A10 replacements have worked out quite nicely.  After Villanova left in 1980, the A10 added URI, St. Joe's, and Temple.  Upon Rutgers and WVU leaving in 1995, the A10 added Fordham, Dayton, La Salle, Virginia Tech, and most importantly Xavier.  That appears now to perhaps be a win for the A10.  After Virginia Tech left in 2000, the A10 swiftly snatched Richmond, which currently appears as a wash.

I have a feeling that the addition of Butler will be much like the others where the A10 has replaced a topnotch team with a quality team in Butler, who has made the dance 5 of the last 6 years including two NCAA championship game appearances.  Also, unlike Charlotte who had to adjust their play drastically to match the style in the A10, Butler's style of play in the Lickliter and Stevens era is quite conducive to A10 play.  While Butler may not quite be at Temple's standards, the A10 should be quite fine.
Also I believe that this will actually help the Atlantic 10 in the NCAA Tournament.  While Temple has been a great regular season team under Dunphy, an excellent coach, Temple has only one tourney win under Dunphy, which I don't think is an anomoly.  Dunphy is an excellent coach, but his recruiting isn't up to par with a lot of other programs, as Dunphy builds up players and gamecoaches among the best of them to get his wins.  However, in the NCAA Tournament, Dunphy constantly runs up against teams with more talent and struggles.  Butler builds their teams as much around an NCAA style of play more than a conference style of play.  And, if I had to predict who would win more NCAA tournament games between Stevens at Butler or Dunphy at Temple if each stay another 5-10 years, I'll take Stevens.
The last line of mentioning is the RPI.  Recall that the conference RPI is around 60% your out of conference winning percentage and the other 40% is who you play and where you play them.  With Temple's consistently difficutlt schedule, my guess is that Butler's out-of-conference winning percentage will be about the same as Temple's over the longterm should Temple have remained in the A10, and thus not changing the RPI much.

Secondary Sport:  Women's Hoops

Butler in women's hoops is seemingly a product of their coach.  Their coaches since joining the Horizon have the following winning percentages - 29.6%, 60.4%, 67.1%, 25.3%, 53.8%.  With that type of differences, it seems as it's as simple as if Butler makes the right hire they are successful, whereas the wrong hire sends the teams to drastically low levels (including one Nee-like 3-26 season).
Temple's women's team is a solid team that has given SMS's teams constant fits.  They're always a talented athletic bunch.  Like the men, they schedule the hardest teams that they can find.  This year, it likely came back to haunt the Owls, as despite a 13-1 record in the A10 they didn't dance based off their OOC 7-7 mark including going only 2-6 vs. BCS schools. 
In the long run, I think while this hurts the league overall for women's hoops, it helps teams like ours at Duquesne.  It provides a more winnable game, and Temple never did the A10 any favors in the scheduling as far as RPI was concerned.  It also may get that extra teams in some years that don't have the extra loss to Temple, who seems to often be a bid-killer for the A10 in women's hoops.


One of the largest complaints of fans of the Atlantic 10 is the television deal.  While not good, the television deal right now is eighth overall, behind only the six BCS conferences and the West Coast Conference, which provides timeslots the A10 cannot provide, including being lightyears ahead of the laughable C-USA deal where some games couldn't even be found on the now defunct channelsurfing site.
This is where the loss of Temple to me hurts the most.  Philly is a top 10 media market, and the Atlantic 10 lost the largest public school in Philadelphia.  Butler, located in Indianapolis, is in the 40th largest media market per Arbitron.  Obviously, there's a huge hit there.  Also note that Temple is the 26th largest university in the NCAA right now, and has around eight times as many students as Butler.  With the differences in alumni, that's also a lot less potential television viewers.
Given the Atlantic 10's struggles to get a television deal, this move is certainly a huge damper to make things better.

Duquesne Men's Hoops Specific:

I don't think the addition of Butler for the loss of Temple makes much difference.  From a quick poll of those around my area, both Butler and Temple had similar name recognition, perhaps a little better (albeit insignificant) with Butler.  Thus, it could perhaps increase attendance slightly seeing Butler rather than Temple. 

Overall money to DU I see about the same in terms of NCAA revenue (Temple IMO would have more appearances, but about the same number of overall games played). 

I don't see it being much different for Duquesne to make the NCAA Tournament either.  I think it may actually be easier to beat Butler in the conference tourney than a team like Temple.  However, that small chance will likely be offset by the slight decline in RPI that Butler will bring rather than Temple.

DU Non-Revenue Sports

For non-revenue sports, it's another hit.  Once again, it's more travel to another city, and you're increasing time traveled by around an hour.  However, there's more to it than just that, as it now becomes harder to schedule joint road trips (playing Temple and St. Joe's on a weekend, for example) to reduce travel costs as well as travel time for the athletes.

Future Realignment for Duquesne:

I don't think this changes anything from Duquesne's perspective should the Big East eventually split. 


It's a little bit of a hit to the A10 and Duquesne, but I believe the A10 and DU will still be just fine.

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