The Butler Bulldogs have had a very good basketball program for years now. So much success has happened that many no longer consider them an actual mid-major program anymore. That was even before the university decided to make the move to the new Big East Conference for next season.
Even though we would all consider Butler’s basketball program more viable than many other programs currently in power-conferences, the question needs to be asked — can Butler succeed while playing with the big boys on a much more consistent basis?
The short, obvious answer is an exclamatory yes!
Brad Stevens already does a great job bringing in highly-rated prospects and none of that should be changed because they are headed to a new league. In fact, Stevens’ recruiting pipeline is one he shares with teams outside of the conference, not within, making the program even more more attractive to possible recruits. Kids who did not want to play there before because of lack of TV time will now have the chance to play for a good program on a national stage.
Then there is Stevens himself. Now that Butler is in a strong, basketball-only conference, it will be much easier for the athletic department to keep teams away from Stevens — not that he has ever taken the bait before. However, Butler is going to have a larger flow of money making its way through the university, in turn, having more money to give to Stevens as well as bolster everything Butler hoops related.
Not everything is going to be smooth for Butler’s transition to the new league. Even though it won’t be the Big East of old, the new conference will still be as treacherous to get through. Butler, therefore, will have to balance playing in a new league with being the program they have spent years to build.
You know, a program that has become one of the best in the entire nation.
So yes, they will be just fine in their new conference. I think it will be every other historical program in the nation that needs to worry now that Butler has a bigger stage to do even more damage.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone