After George Mason announced it was going to the Atlantic 10, the first thing to find out, at least on our end, was this: Who actually will be playing in the conference? And what will this move look like in two or three years when conference realignment actually ends?

The league is losing Butler, Xavier and Temple, which will weaken the conference. Dayton and St. Louis might bolt, but no one knows for sure yet.

However, the conference remains a major upgrade for George Mason. The chance to play George Washington and rekindle rivalries with VCU and Richmond is vital. There will be more reasons to attend games in the future, especially if VCU remains a bedrock A-10 program. La Salle and Saint Joseph's are accomplished programs, so there's much more depth than George Mason will be accustomed to seeing.

The Patriots should be recharged trying to establish themselves in a tougher conference. Even if the A-10 continues shifting around, it's better than what the Patriots left behind in the CAA.

- John Keim