A Look At College Basketball's Programs On The Move For 2012-13

March 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers guard Michael Dixon (11) celebrates after Missouri won the the 2012 Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center. Missouri won 90-75. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

There are 22 Division-I programs that will be playing in new conferences during the 2012-13 college basketball season.

The only thing more difficult than keeping up with all the transfer news this offseason has been trying to maintain a grasp on all the moving and shaking that conference realignment has burdened us with. Just when you think have a handle on the ultimate destination for each program on the move, you get blindsided by the issue of what year they'll be joining or where some of them are spending an interim season. It's a terrible, terrible feeling.

With conference realignment proving that most programs and conferences are about as trustworthy as the girl who gets 400 Facebook likes on every picture she posts, all fans can do (in order to maintain sanity) is pay attention to what has already been established as true for next season.

With that in mind, here's a look at the 21 Division-I programs which, as of July 1, are now officially new members of the conferences where they will be spending the 2012-13 college basketball season.

MISSOURI

New Conference: SEC

Old Conference: Big 12

Basketball wasn't the deciding factor in Mizzou's move to the nation's top football conference, but the Tigers are poised to be a major contender in the SEC in the sport with the round ball far sooner than they are in the sport with the oblong one. Missouri won't get the level of preseason hype they would have had they not been stunned by Norfolk State in the NCAA Tournament, but that doesn't mean the Tigers don't match up favorably with the likes of SEC top dogs Kentucky and Florida.

Michael Dixon and Flip Pressey are back from last year's team that won the Big 12 Tournament and earned a two seed in the big dance. Coach Frank Haith also gets Laurence Bowers back from a torn ACL, and adds a quartet of transfers (Alex Oriakhi, Jabari Brown, Keion Bell and Earnest Ross) who would start for just about any other team in the country.

TEXAS A&M

New Conference: SEC

Old Conference: Big 12

Texas A&M's decision was even more driven by football than Missouri's, but the Aggies have also had a solid basketball program for quite some time, and they shouldn't have a problem competing in the SEC. It might not happen right away, however, as A&M makes the move after a 4-14 performance in their Big 12 farewell tour, and without Krhis Middleton who was just taken by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Draft.

You guys see that video?

WEST VIRGINIA

New Conference: Big 12

Old Conference: Big East

Bob Huggins called last year's Mountaineers the "worst defensive team I've ever coached." And that wasn't an impulse statement made during the middle of the year, it came after WVU was walloped by Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament's round of 64. Considering that and the fact that Huggins is losing his two best players (Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant) to graduation, this might not be the ideal time for a conference move.

The good news is the 'Eers appear to be loaded at the guard position, where they can lay claim to exciting sophomore Jabarie Hinds as well as talented transfers Aaric Murray, Juwan Staten and Matt Humphrey. On paper, the Big 12 doesn't appear to be as strong as it was a season ago, which means there's at least a decent chance for West Virginia to come in and make some sort of splash immediately.

BUTLER

New Conference: Atlantic 10

Old Conference: Horizon League

Butler had an established reputation of success in men's basketball before 2010, having appeared in the NCAA Tournament eight times between 1997 and 2009. That reputation was taken to a completely different level when the Bulldogs came within one shot of defeating Duke in the 2010 national championship game. Remarkably, they repeated the feat in 2011, falling to Connecticut in the season's final game.

Given the extreme level of recent success, many felt that the program had outgrown the Horizon League. Take Butler out of the equation and the conference has not had a team seeded better than 11th since 1998. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, earned seeds of 8, 5, 9, 7 and 5 from 2007 to 2011. In the Atlantic 10, they'll be alongside programs that have achieved a similar level of success, like Xavier, Dayton and Saint Louis.

Defensive stopper Ronald Nored is the only significant loss from last year's team which missed the NCAA Tournament. The additions of transfer Rotnei Clarke and well-regarded freshman Kellen Dunham should help Butler compete for a spot at the top of the A-10 immediately.

VCU

New Conference: Atlantic 10

Old Conference: Colonial Athletic Association

The Rams, a Final Four participant in 2011, made the fairly obvious choice to jump from a conference that has received just four at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament since 2000 to one that has received 20 over the same period of time. Although it's not as if the move isn't mutually beneficial. VCU has one of college basketball's top young coaches in Shaka Smart and more than enough talent on its 2012-13 roster to claim an A-10 title and do damage in the big dance in its debut season.

The original plan was for VCU to make the conference switch in 2013-14, but since the CAA bylaws prevented the Rams from competing in the league tournament if they hung around after announcing their intention to leave, the A-10 went ahead and opened its arms a year ahead of schedule.

NEVADA

New Conference: Mountain West

Old Conference: WAC

No move on this list makes more sense than the Nevada's to the Mountain West. The Wolfpack will be joining up with state-rival UNLV as well as a conference that's more on par with its program's status. The move is so convenient that casual college basketball fans thought it was made years ago.

FRESNO STATE

New Conference: Mountain West

Old Conference: WAC

Fresno is another program that has belonged in the Mountain West for several years now. The Bulldogs' performance, facilities and history made them too good for the new WAC.

HAWAII

New Conference: Big West

Old Conference: WAC

The Rainbow Warriors will be playing football in the Mountain West, but the rest of their sports will become members of the Big West. It's not a bad gig for Hawaii basketball, which should be able to consistently compete for the league's auto-bid, even with San Diego State joining the fray in 2013-14. The Warriors also have the added distinction of becoming the Big West's only non-California member. That's something.

BELMONT

New Conference: Ohio Valley

Old Conference: Atlantic Sun

The Bruins leave behind the Atlantic Sun Conference they've dominated for the past seven seasons in favor of a league which boasts fellow respected mid-major programs like Murray State, Morehead State and Austin Peay. They'll likely step right in and be the biggest challenger to Murray's throne.

ORAL ROBERTS

New Conference: Southland

Old Conference: Summit League

ORU has been one of the Summit League's perennial powerhouses over the past decade, but the move to the Southland is one that makes sense for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which being geographically. It'll also be a more competitive home for ORU's non-revenue sports. The Oral Roberts baseball and women's golf teams won all 15 conference tournaments they played in as members of the Summit League. That's remarkable, but it's also a pretty clear indication that a change is needed.

TEXAS STATE

New Conference: WAC

Old Conference: Southland

The Southland wouldn't let its departing members play in its conference tournament after each announced its intention to move on, so all three will be spending a season in the fighting-to-breathe WAC. The Bobcats will be heading to the Sun Belt in 2013-14.

TEXAS-ARLINGTON

New Conference: WAC

Old Conference: Southland

The Mavericks went 15-1 in their final Southland season but were stunned in the semifinals of the conference tournament by McNeese State. They'll try and use that experience as motivation during their one season in the WAC before moving on to the Sun Belt. UTA has a brand new arena and a location in a fertile recruiting area that should allow it to be a name in mid-major basketball for the foreseeable future.

TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO

New Conference: WAC

Old Conference: Southland

Texas-San Antonio's location (which is in San Antonio) made it the most coveted of the Southland free agents, and is the main reason the Roadrunners will be a member of Conference USA beginning in the fall of 2013. They'll spend one season in the WAC first.

SEATTLE

New Conference: WAC

Old Conference: Independent

Seattle, a program which can lay claim to Elgin Baylor, a Final Four appearance in 1964 and a national runner-up finish in 1958, gets its first shot at playing in a D-I conference since 1980. The Redhawks have pulled a few notable upsets i three seasons under Cameron Dollar and shouldn't be overwhelmed in the WAC. This season will essentially serve as an audition for Seattle, which would like to get out of the sinking WAC and jump into the West Coast Conference as soon as possible.

DENVER

New Conference: WAC

Old Conference: Sun Belt

The Sun Belt always seemed like an odd fit for Denver, even more-so than the rest of the odd fits in the Sun Belt. The Pioneers head to the WAC fresh off the winningest season in program history.

NORTH DAKOTA

New Conference: Big Sky

Old Conference: Great West

North Dakota leaves behind a conference which didn't have an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for... well, a conference that does have an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The fact that the Big Sky only has 10 other teams to compete with is an added bonus.

SOUTHERN UTAH

New Conference: Big Sky

Old Conference: Summit League

This is a far better geographical fit for the Thunderbirds, who have been to the NCAA Tournament just once (2001). The move should give coach Nick Robinson and company a better chance to recruit effectively in the region.

NEBRASKA-OMAHA

New Conference: Summit League

Old Conference: Independent

The Summit League needed to replace Tulsa's Oral Roberts with a school from a similar-sized market, and voila, the Mavericks have a conference home. Yes, this program exists.

LONGWOOD

New Conference: Big South

Old Conference: Independent

Every 12-year-old boy's second (or first) favorite team finally has a conference home after spending eight seasons as a D-I independent. It's a terrific geographic fit for the Lancers, who will look to forge some rivalries with the Big South's other Virginia schools.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY

New Conference: Atlantic Sun

Old Conference: Division II

NKU makes the move up from D-II to the Atlantic Sun, but the Norse will be a provisional member and thus won't be eligible for postseason play.

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