At the College Basketball Roundtable, we ask members of the college basketball coverage staff for their opinions about a current topic in the sport.
This week's question: Butler is moving into the Atlantic 10 next season, a year ahead of schedule; can the Bulldogs win the league in their inaugural go-round?
Mike Huguenin's answer: The Bulldogs would've been prohibitive favorites to win the Horizon League, but I think they will find things tougher in the A-10. Butler should contend for the crown; the Bulldogs have a solid group of returnees, and the addition of Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke will provide the outside shooting the Bulldogs lacked last season. But I think Saint Louis will win the A-10. I also think Butler, as with all teams moving "up" in competition, is going to find the A-10 provides tougher game-in, game-out competition. One positive for Butler heading into next season is that A-10 heavyweights Temple and Xavier look as if they will be a bit down. While the Bulldogs will do fine over the long run, I think they finish somewhere between second and fourth in their first season in the A-10.
Steve Megargee's answer: Butler should improve quite a bit next season. The Bulldogs must replace the defense and leadership of departed senior Ronald Nored, but they return four of their top five scorers and the addition of Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke should boost the perimeter attack of a team that ranked last in the Horizon League in 3-point percentage last season. It's also worth noting that perennial Atlantic 10 heavyweights Xavier and Temple (which leaves for the Big East after this season) have plenty of holes to fill. All those factors give Butler a reasonable chance of winning the Atlantic 10 in their inaugural season as league members, but I wouldn't make them the conference favorite. I'd give that honor to Saint Louis. Although the Billikens lose leading scorer Brian Conklin, they return most of the other key performers from a team that went 26-8 and reached the NCAA tournament last season.
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