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The Atlantic 10 will have a conference to compare itself to this season in the Big East. The basketball schools from the former BCS league broke away leaving a conference with schools with rich basketball tradition and no football money to rely on.

St. John’s, Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul, Villanova, Providence and Georgetown broke away from the football schools and added Xavier, Butler and Creighton.

“Those guys did what they felt they had to do,” Smart said. “I think it’s going to be fascinating to watch their league and our league. You ask a lot of them and I think they will probably want to distance themselves from us, but I’m not sure there’s a huge difference.

“I’m not saying we’re better, but there’s a lot of very good teams in their league and we have a lot of depth as well,” he added. “They have terrific programs with great history and so do we. It probably won’t happen because of a lot of politics involved, but maybe we could set up a challenge.”