Commentary

Additions to A-10 toughen conference

Updated: June 6, 2012, 10:44 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

When you look at the Atlantic 10 conference, do you think commissioner Bernadette McGlade has a reason to smile? Her conference was underrated last year and now has become even stronger by adding Butler and VCU. Butler made back-to-back appearances in the national title game in 2010 and 2011 and VCU is supposed to be a tough environment to play at. I have not been there, but people have told me it's unbelievable.

Adding great, young coaching talent in Brad Stevens of Butler and VCU's Shaka Smart really bolsters a strong league. There will be great battles night in and night out and it will be a tough conference to win on the road.

With the two additions, the Atlantic 10 will compete as a 16-team league in 2012-13. The other 14 include Charlotte, Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph's, Saint Louis, Temple and Xavier.

Think about it. Rick Majerus' club, the Saint Louis Billikens, should be loaded and will give the new kids on the block some trouble. Saint Louis, Butler and VCU should all be in contention this season.

There's a lot of talent returning to the conference. America may not know that much about Carl Jones of Saint Joseph's, Chaz Williams of UMass or Khalif Wyatt of Temple. My friends, these are some talented performers.

You can never count out the likes of Temple, Xavier, Saint Joseph's and UMass. Talk about a league with depth! You get the picture; the league is loaded from top to bottom and creates excitement galore.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.