- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade isn’t hiding her joy over getting Butler a year early for next season. She said the league will be “seriously tough’’ in 2012-13 -- and she’s right. The A-10 will have as competitively balanced a league as it has had in years. VCU and Butler will compete for the league title with Saint Louis. Expect Temple and Xavier to be in the mix, as well as rising teams like UMass, La Salle and Saint Joseph’s. No one should dismiss St. Bonaventure, even though Andrew Nicholson is gone, or Dayton or Richmond. Butler's early arrival will necessitate a number of scheduling adjustments as the league jumps to 18 games from 16, since that’s two fewer non-conference games teams may or may not have scheduled.
2. Horizon League commissioner John LeCrone now has to do what Tom Yeager is attempting for the CAA: find a high-profile replacement. Yeager will attempt to woo Davidson and/or Charleston out of the Southern; LeCrone has to find a team in the Midwest to replace Butler. I can’t see a MAC school like Ohio going to the Horizon. Oakland makes more sense since it’s near Detroit. The Grizzlies have been a solid program under Greg Kampe. Simply put, the Horizon won’t or can’t replace Butler, but will have to make a serious attempt to come even half as close -- and sooner than later.
3. Iowa State’s decision to reward Fred Hoiberg with a new eight-year contract is a win-win for both parties. Hoiberg has shown no desire to run back to the NBA and has made a commitment to restoring the Cyclones to relevancy. He took a major step this past season in leading them to the NCAA tournament. Iowa State desperately needed consistency and a face of the program at a time when the Big 12 is navigating a new era. Iowa State can’t afford to fall behind, and it won’t under Hoiberg. Hoiberg has the right demeanor to take in transfers, as if he is creating an NBA roster of free agents, to make Iowa State competitive.