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Davidson to join Atlantic 10 in 2014

The Atlantic 10 continued to follow its plan to add former NCAA tournament Cinderellas.

A year after adding Virginia Commonwealth (Final Four 2011) and Butler (Final Four 2010, 2011) and just over a month after grabbing George Mason (Final Four 2006), Davidson, which gained national recognition for its Stephen Curry-led run to the Elite Eight in 2008, announced Wednesday that it will join the Atlantic 10 for the 2014-15 school year.

UMass athletic director John McCutcheon lauded the league’s choice.

“I think it’s a great addition. When you look at potential members out there, they really came to the top as a someone that would fit the conference well,” McCutcheon said. “They have a proven record of achievement. They really bring some things to the table that are positive factors. I wasn’t on the evaluation committee, but they were the one I was hoping we would be able to recruit into the conference.”

Since the end of the 2012-13 season, the Atlantic 10’s membership has been in considerable flux. Temple (America Athletic Conference), Charlotte (Conference USA), Xavier (Big East) and Butler (Big East) have all departed. Davidson, which is just outside of Charlotte, N.C., allows the league to retain a presence in that market.

George Mason will join the league on July 1 and give the A-10 13 teams for the 2013-14 season. If no other teams depart — Saint Louis and Dayton are rumored to be potential targets for the Big East — the league would return to 14 teams for 2014-15 when Davidson arrives.

“Davidson is an ideal fit for the Atlantic 10. ... The Wildcats will be competitive immediately. Their success in men’s basketball is important, bringing another nationally recognized brand into the league,” A-10 commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said. “They will maintain our presence in the Charlotte market, one of the top 25 media markets in the country, and reinforce our commitment to national prominence in men’s basketball.”

In addition to men’s and women’s basketball, other sports that UMass and Davidson will face each other in Atlantic 10 play are: baseball, men’s and women’s cross country and track and field; men’s and women’s swimming; men’s and women’s soccer; field hockey, women’s lacrosse and women’s tennis.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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