Vitale likes Atlantic Ten Move by Davidson

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ESPN analyst and known basketball commentator Dick Vitale has weighed in on Davidson’s chances in its move to the Atlantic 10 Conference from the Southern Conference. Vitale likes the idea, but he fears whether Davidson will be able to adapt to a tougher schedule. He did laud Davidson for scheduling difficult non-conference games in the past.

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The Atlantic Ten includes fourteen programs. Many of the programs are new to the conference because the Atlantic Ten was raided by the new Big East basketball conference for teams like Xavier. The result is a league that is a mix of old and new. Old standbys like Richmond, Dayton, St. Louis, and St. Joseph’s are still the backbone of the league.

The newcomers include teams like George Mason, VCU, and of course Davidson. The lift for Davidson is not as heavy as it would have been a couple years in this conference. The schedule will be littered with lots of teams and coaches with NCAA Tournament experience.
You have Archie Miller at Dayton, and their run last year. You have Shaka Smart at VCU, who has taken his team to the Final Four. You have Paul Hewitt at George Mason, who lost a title game when he was at Georgia Tech.

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  • Vitale was right to point out there is one benefit to being in the Atlantic Ten that the Southern Conference simply cannot match. The Southern Conference will never get a second bid to the NCAA tournament. The Atlantic Ten regularly sends teams to the Big Dance as at large entries. Davidson won’t have to win the league and then the tournament to make it to March Madness.

    There will probably be some change in recruiting as well. The Atlantic Ten gets greater tv exposure and that will lead to more recruits seriously considering Davidson as a basketball haven. Plenty of football left before we get to that point.