INDIANAPOLIS -- Butler hasn't been the little school that can for a long time.
The team that was the NCAA national runner-up two years running is taking its David vs. Goliath act a step up in class, leaving the Horizon League and joining the Atlantic 10 beginning with the 2013-14 season. Butler president James Danko made the announcement in a news conference Wednesday.
Butler thrilled college basketball fans as the small Indiana school that pulled off upset after upset in both the 2010 and 2011 NCAA tournaments. The Bulldogs lost to Duke in the 2010 national title game when Gordon Hayward's half-court heave bounced off the rim in Indy. The cold-shooting Bulldogs then lost to Connecticut in the 2011 championship game.
The Atlantic 10 has had 41 at-large NCAA selections the last 20 years, more than any conference outside of the Big Six, and has had at least three NCAA Tournament teams each of the last five years. The A-10 sent four teams, including conference-champion and automatic-qualifier St. Bonaventure, to the NCAA Tournament last March.
Butler traditionally has played a difficult non-conference schedule to compensate for the weak Horizon League slate and position itself for at-large NCAA bids. Now, the conference schedule will be more difficult.
Butler fills a void left by Temple, which will join the Big East in all sports by 2013-14.
Elsewhere, North Carolina has hired former Tar Heels guard and NBA veteran Hubert Davis as an assistant men's basketball coach. Davis, who spent the last seven years as a college basketball analyst on ESPN, replaces assistant Jerod Haase, who left to become head coach at UAB.