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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:47 pm 
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Article out of Wichita with comments from MVC Commish regarding MVC membership situation at http://www.kansas.com/sports/college/wi ... 04280.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:48 pm 
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You can't blame WSU for surveying the landscape a bit.

But they should not be delusional either !

Gregg Marshall is signed for another 7 years, but numerous coaches have walked away from such contracts for greener pastures.
(see Steve Alford - who signed a contract and blew it off for UCLA the NEXT DAY !!!)

So much of WSU's success is tied to Gregg Marshall - would the program be sustainable if he left ?
Many, including me, tend to doubt it.

WSU doesn't have infinite financial resources, and they are located in Kansas (not in a cluster of urban areas).
Where do they "move up" to, that's not out of their league in terms of school size, region, and financial resources ?
They belong in MVC or Summit. I think yearr in- year out, MVC is better conference in terms of BB RPI rating.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:32 pm 
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I don't think the A-10 is vulnerable to anyone besides the Big East.

And in that regard, the A-10 really isn't vulnerable at all. The A-10 will "always be fine" because the American/Big East will never have interest in VCU, GW, Saint Joe's, Rhode Island, George Mason (or Fordham).

The A-10 could lose UMass to the American; Dayton and Saint Louis (or God willing, St. Bonaventure) to the Big East.

But VCU, GW, SJU, URI and GMU have 36 NCAA bids in the modern era (64+ team field since 1985) with 30 wins and two Final Fours. They're ALWAYS going to be the best East Coast hoops league that doesn't have bowl football and isn't the Big East. Basically a top 10 conference always.

Out of everyone besides the old six BCS conferences (P5, Big East & American), the Atlantic 10 has more at-large bids and final fours than the rest of the eastern conferences combined.

The A-10 taking Wichita State is a far bigger concern for the MVC than the MVC raiding the A-10.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:08 pm 
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I get the impression Wichita became awfully depressed by Creighton leaving and backfilling with a private school that finally put the conference into Chicago, but did nothing for improving basketball. And getting scared that a school like Missouri State may be in a position to have a higher ceiling than the Shockers, despite a less impressive athletic resume?

You can't fault Wichita for wanting to bail. And no matter what MVC's commissioner could do, he can't do everything, and he can't tell his schools what to do, and if one/some sit in the minority, he can't help them there, either. If MoST gets a better offer, someday, from someone like SBC or MAC, MVC will lose to it, ten out of ten times. And when you swing and miss on a comparable replacement for Creighton (there was none), where can one go after that?

Quote:
And in that regard, the A-10 really isn't vulnerable at all. The A-10 will "always be fine" because the American/Big East will never have interest in VCU, GW, Saint Joe's, Rhode Island, George Mason (or Fordham).


Truer words couldn't be spoken. The "core" of the A10 are among the schools who give it the most credibility and bids. The only way there is a chance for the likes of St. Joe's and G-Dubs is for a Big East without 'Nova or G-Town. What hurts the conference is geographical risk and potential political issues. This conference used to be loaded with all sorts of institutions: big and small publics and privates. Keep that mix, and you keep a great conference.

For Wichita State, A10 relieves some basketball tension, but those other sports...where do they go? And how does it pay out?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:37 pm 
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If you look at A-10 geography (which is important for travel for all the "lower budget" sports), the conference is now largely East Coast,
except Dayton and St. Louis either / both of which could at some point join the Big East.

So my feeling is that it would not be smart for the A-10 to add a team in Kansas.

Just as I was surprised that the Big East added a team in Nebraska (Creighton).
They had been a historically good program in the MVC, but are rather remote from the nearest BE schools in
Milwaukee (Marquette), Chicago (DePaul) and Indianapolis (Butler).


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:36 pm 
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I wonder if Wichita St is pondering something radical like trying to form a new, basketball centric conference. The Big East seems to have a pretty solid model with 10 basketball focused schools, half of which are east coast and the other half are Midwestern. Recruit the strongest of the A-10 and dropping some dead weight programs in the process and Wichita St suddenly has their dream conference. I could see Dayton and St Louis entertaining the idea.

What this probably is is the Shockers basically publicly stating that they want the A-10 to give them a call. I don't see the A-10 stretching outside their footprint and going to 16 members to accommodate them.

My other thought I'd they are contemplating adding football at the FCS level and hoping that in the next major alignment shift they land in the American.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:43 pm 
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tute79 wrote:
If you look at A-10 geography (which is important for travel for all the "lower budget" sports), the conference is now largely East Coast,
except Dayton and St. Louis either / both of which could at some point join the Big East.

So my feeling is that it would not be smart for the A-10 to add a team in Kansas.

Just as I was surprised that the Big East added a team in Nebraska (Creighton).
They had been a historically good program in the MVC, but are rather remote from the nearest BE schools in
Milwaukee (Marquette), Chicago (DePaul) and Indianapolis (Butler).

Omaha is 7:15 from Chicago and 7:48 from Milwaukee in drive time. Saint Louis is "only" 6:33 from Omaha. The Big East should take Drake instead if it is concerned about travel.

Odd as it may sound, if you draw a line running North/South and another running West/East through the geographic center of the contiguous United States, Omaha would be in the Northeastern quadrant.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:45 pm 
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BTW, Dayton is an hour closer to Saint Louis than Wichita - Wichita is essentially the same distance from Saint Louis as Omaha.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:20 pm 
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tute79 wrote:
If you look at A-10 geography (which is important for travel for all the "lower budget" sports), the conference is now largely East Coast,
except Dayton and St. Louis either / both of which could at some point join the Big East.

So my feeling is that it would not be smart for the A-10 to add a team in Kansas.


#1 - I don’t think travel is that big of a deal.

The Big East has Creighton and Providence, which is basically the exact same trip. And the Big East has a double-round robin. In a 14-team Atlantic 10, only 2/3 of the league are making the trip to Wichita State — and with a designated rival, one can be Saint Louis every year.


Some sports, like soccer, you’d play at Wichita State 1 or 2 times every four years.
Some individual sports, like tennis or cross-country, you’d never visit unless you wanted to.


Tons of conferences with less revenue have had far worse travel for decades. All iterations of Conference USA have had further distances, and the A-10’s always been a step behind, even, or a step ahead, but very similar in revenue.

Tons of POORER conferences have the same thing going and no one bats an eye-lash because it’s a North-South trip instead of an East-West trip:

It’s 1570 miles from Wichita to the University of Rhode Island.

It’s 1301 miles from San Diego to Gonzaga, who’ve been West Coast Conference members together for 50 years.
It’s 1660 miles from Seattle to New Mexico State, WAC members
It’s 1694 miles from Northern Arizona to North Dakota, Big Sky members

And of course, there’s C-USA and UTEP; and any conference Hawai’i has been in.



#2 - The A-10 will do what’s best for themselves with regards to MEN’S BASKETBALL and the rest will sort itself out. Period. That’s the only way for them to operate at their best.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:59 pm 
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Just posing a question:

Do you all think the 14 members of the Atlantic Ten are content with the league as it is currently built?

If not, who is unhappy and what do they want to see?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:19 am 
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fighting muskie wrote:
I wonder if Wichita St is pondering something radical like trying to form a new, basketball centric conference. The Big East seems to have a pretty solid model with 10 basketball focused schools, half of which are east coast and the other half are Midwestern. Recruit the strongest of the A-10 and dropping some dead weight programs in the process and Wichita St suddenly has their dream conference. I could see Dayton and St Louis entertaining the idea.

What this probably is is the Shockers basically publicly stating that they want the A-10 to give them a call. I don't see the A-10 stretching outside their footprint and going to 16 members to accommodate them.

My other thought I'd they are contemplating adding football at the FCS level and hoping that in the next major alignment shift they land in the American.


fighting muskie wrote:
Just posing a question: Do you all think the 14 members of the Atlantic Ten are content with the league as it is currently built? If not, who is unhappy and what do they want to see?


Damn, I had a nice (long-winded as usual) post drawn up about the first thing, but didn’t complete my internet research for it before my plane took off, and never saved it before my laptop ran out of juice.

Here’s the bullet points:

#1 - 12 better than 10 to maximize NCAA bids (as I’ve discussed many times over, both here, on A-10 boards and Big East boards)

#2 - What looks like Dead Weight is actually GOOD if they schedule/perform correctly OOC (I.E. DePaul/Hall the last couple years, Duquesne and Fordham at 9-1 and 8-2 respectively this season). I’ve also discussed this multiple times. My admittedly bias case for St. Bonaventure in the Big East is built on items #1 & #2 as core truths for conference; with the other half of that argument being point #3…

#3 - Being IN a big market is slightly important, but being at the top of your market is more important; BCS football schools will always be the top dog of shared markets; And with that, it’s not JUST the market the SCHOOL resides in, but where their fans live.

As it applies to my Bona argument: Davidson vs Duke/UNC/NCSU, vying for fourth with Charlotte, SLU vs KU/MU/Illinois fans in the STL market; Duquesne vs Pitt/Penn St fans in Western Pa; Olean may be tiny, but 2.7 million people live in the 716 & 585 area codes because of Buffalo/Rochester, Bona is the best of the four schools in those area codes, Rochester has no D-I team, and more Bona grads live in Buffalo/Rochester than in Olean.


If they did make a new basketball-centric “Best of” conference, you’d pick the teams for it based on basketball success AND those three core principles above:

12 teams from the ETZ/CTZ, mostly northern, mostly schools in bigger markets who are top dog or second in their big market.

The end result (and this is the research I lost), is that after whittling 144 ETZ/CTZ “available” non-FBS, non-Ivy/HBCUs down to 30 realistic candidates, you’d be creating a conference that would look VERY MUCH like “The Atlantic 10 replaced 4-5 schools with Wichita State & Northern Iowa, and maybe another.”

Your follow-up post basically struck me as “JP, name names on those 4-5 replaced A-10 schools.”

But another thing you HAVE to consider in this, is that “NCAA bids” isn’t the sole definition of basketball success. You need to apply context to those bids. If you have two teams that have the same win percentages in the RPI BREAKDOWN:

Take care of business vs 151+ of the RPI
Hold their own vs 80-150 of the RPI
Struggle vs 40-80 of the RPI.
Little chance against 1-40 of the RPI

Their overall records and their NCAA bids are going to be dependent on: How many games do they play against each group, and how many from each group are in their conference tourney bracket?

I did a post on this on the A-10 board I frequent with statistical proof — La Salle & Siena are basically IDENTICAL programs. Siena looks way better on paper. But the difference is Siena’s got ONE Top 80 program in MAAC play, and they’ll meet them in the tourney final for a bid. La Salle has SIX Top 80 teams to play 7 times in conference, and then have to BEAT THREE IN A ROW to win the automatic.


To kind of answer your question, it was REALLY difficult once I cut my list from 144 CTZ/ETZ, non-FBS, non-Ivy/HBCU schools down to the final 27 teams. But 13 of the remaining schools were A-10 schools.

The A-10 current configuration was built for this exact situation (with TREMENDOUS foresight. Linda Bruno and the A-10 do not get enough recognition for this back dating back to 2003). The A-10 put themselves in a position where they are THE BEST conference for basketball-only schools after the Big East. In a “ok, pick us or them” scenario, the A-10 wins over everyone else. Wichita State would accept an A-10 invite if they got one.


But as for a New 12 Team conference, it’s incredibly tough because you're tempted to take the 8 best, but I feel you really want 8 powerhouses and 4 teams that always finish 9-12 in conference and hope you get 7-8 bids.

So most might think the bottom third of my list is crazy:
Dayton
Wichita State
VCU
George Washington
St. Joseph’s
Northern Iowa
Davidson
Saint Louis
St. Bonaventure
Siena
Duquesne
Stony Brook

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:50 am 
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Overall, I think the A-10 is incredibly happy with one another.

You probably have a few people who view things conventionally, which I don’t (the whole: “dead weight” argument again). And they might say things like “Fordham & Duquesne always suck!” But they are doing their job OOC this year (14-0 vs 201+ of the RPI!)

What we’d all like to see is DUQ & FOR do what they’re doing this year every year and Richmond, GW, SJU, UMass and URI BE FREAKING CONSISTENT.

Every other issue is minor (dead weight), a blessing in disguise (SLU not being Dayton), the elephant in the room (UMass picking FBS or the A-10 and stop halfassing it).

The biggest problem the A-10 has is that: UMass, Richmond, SJU and URI are not very good at honestly assessing themselves and scheduling to expectations.
Or the LaSalle problem.

First, UMass, Richmond, SJU and URI tend to bite off more than they can chew anytime they’re picked in the top 9 of the league. When they have a strong nucleus coming back, they go big OOC. And usually go 7-5. We need them to go big when they have the strong nucleus OF AN NCAA TEAM coming back, not a strong NIT team coming back. VCU did the same this year, but it was Shaka related. URI gets a semi-pass because they lost Matthews.

But generally speaking… they all tend to do it. With 14 teams, I’m looking for 4 Top 40 teams (like Dayton, VCU of recent years), 4 up teams (they take turns, was SLU now Davidson, this year is GW), 4 teams “down” but scheduling brilliantly, Bonaventure being Bonaventure, and Fordham/Duquense going 10-2 OOC, and 2-16 in conference.


As for the La Salle problem… what concerns me is that, unlike Bona ever year, or FOR/DUQ this year, or what Mason should be doing, the Explorers can’t schedule the way a down team should, because they’ve got Villanova, Temple, Penn & Drexel in the Big Five every year. They’re in a duplicate market with all five pro sports teams, so they’re competing for the spot of 10th most popular team in Philly, which also has about 30 other teams competing for the last spots in the top 12.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:28 pm 
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Bear in mind, consistency is tough at this level. Success is fleeting because of the rapid turn-over in players and coaches.

Coaches who demonstrate success will jump ship at the drop of a hat, to move up the ladder until they "stall out".

Sensational players can be "one and done", and then what've you got ?

to assess a program you can't look so much at recent success / failure, as things that are more constant -
facilities, fertile recruiting grounds, and the schools financial resources spent on athletics.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:32 pm 
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tute79 wrote:
Bear in mind, consistency is tough at this level. Success is fleeting because of the rapid turn-over in players and coaches.

Coaches who demonstrate success will jump ship at the drop of a hat, to move up the ladder until they "stall out".

Sensational players can be "one and done", and then what've you got ?

to assess a program you can't look so much at recent success / failure, as things that are more constant -
facilities, fertile recruiting grounds, and the schools financial resources spent on athletics.


Actually, because consistency is so tough at the level of the A-10 & MVC... I think when you HAVE any type of consistency, it kind of proves who you are.

Dayton: 17-26 wins in 15 of 16 seasons; 6 NCAA bids, 22+ wins on Selection Sunday each time. 6 NIT bids, 20-21 wins on Selection Sunday each time. 3 CBI/CIT passes (17-19 wins each time). One 14-17 season.

Duquesne & Fordham have been consistent in the sense that they have cycles of: "new coach, new culture!" then "it's a process" then "See, we're getting it together!" then "no, we still suck" then "fire the coach and repeat."

We feel comfortable with Dayton continuing that path unless they destroy what they've built. They have infrastructure, and the resources to keep doing it (Gonzaga & BYU would be examples as well).


But at the same time, I feel a LACK of consistency doesn't prove anything. For example, the MVC, A-10 and Big East all has a sizeable pool in each conference of programs so ridiculously similar to one another that inconsistency is created by parity.

When you're building a conference, you want your consistent top third, your inconsistent middle third, and your consistent bottom third.

Again, my main argument supporting Bona stepping up in weight class is that they consistently help their league and are consistently frisky: over-achieving from their expectation level and funding. When you see that, it's a sign of a program that knows exactly who it is, and how to maximize their success. If you know how to maximize success, and get a better situation, your maximum is higher than it was before.

That's what I look for in a program. Programs like Stony Brook spending on facilities and infrastructure show they get what needs to be done to raise their game. Bona is putting together plans for improving the Reilly Center (I'd prefer they instead build a basketball-only arena from scratch, but that's gonna take an NCAA bid to kick-start probably).

That's why I picked my 12 the way I did.


TOP TIER:
Consistent, flag bearers who will occasionally dip into the second tier for a season or two, but will spend 7 of 10 years as NCAA contenders. Not necessarily dancing each year, but probably 60% NCAA, 30% NIT, 10% below that. EXAMPLE: Dayton/VCU

2ND TIER:
Inconsistent, but quality programs who will be a top-tier team 20% of the time, a NCAA bubble/NIT team 50% of the time, and spend 30% of the time suffering a down year. EXAMPLE: GW/St Joe’s

3RD TIER:
Consistent, but not as strong. They’ll compete for NCAA/bubble 25% of the time, not hurt you and be NIT/CBI type teams another 65% of the time, and suffer occasional dips to the bottom. EXAMPLE: St. Bonaventure

4TH TIER:
Inconsistent, not as strong. You’re hoping they can schedule correctly and go 10-2 OOC every year and find consistent and you have three thirds. But they are going to have their down years where they’re 6-6 OOC because they just aren’t as good. You want these guys to be in major markets (EXAMPLE: Duquesne).


So my 12 (why I picked them), traditionally:

TOP TIER:
Dayton (consistent, flag bearer)
Wichita State (consistent, flag bearer)
VCU (consistent, flag bearer, but scheduled too tough in the first post-Shaka season)

SECOND TIER
Northern Iowa (definitely capable of that top tier, and I’m confident they be in my next tier at worse)
Davidson (VASTLY exceeding expectations, small but proven they can help the league and a current second tier)
George Washington (big market, “take turns being good” group)
St. Joseph’s (big market, “take turns being good” group)

THIRD TIER
St. Bonaventure (I expected Davidson to be Bona South; helps league OOC, frisky & exceeds conference expectations)
Siena (I expect them capable of being like Bona, but good enough to be a helpful bottom dweller)

FOURTH TIER:
Duquesne (I think they CAN be a third tier team, if they can replicate this season over and over again, #2 team in Pitt)
Stony Brook (can own niche of massive market, Long Island; heavy facility emphasis. I think they get it and can raise their game. Not sure how high, but a third-tier team on Long Island)

2ND or 4TH:
Saint Louis (big market, hopefully “take turns being good” group, but remains to be seen post-Majerus)


My 12 teams this year are:
1st, and AVG: Dayton,
1st, but DOWN: VCU, Wichita St
2nd, but UP: GW, Davidson
2nd, and AVG: St Joe’s, Northern Iowa
2nd, but down: (SLU if we call them a 2nd)
3rd, and AVG: St. Bona, Siena
4th, but UP: Duquesne
4th, and AVG: Stony Brook
4th, and DOWN: (SLU, if we call them a 4th


Here’s why I didn’t select some of the other top finalists:

Richmond (duplicate market, toughest decision)
UMass (eventually leaving for FBS anyway, I’d rather start the process of Siena/Stony Brook upgrading than wait for UMass to leave)
Rhode Island (inconsistent and too low on totem pole in market: UConn/Prov)


Cleveland State (market attraction, need more basketball reasons)
Belmont (Not sure where they slot in playing with bigger boys; geographic concerns)
Iona (came down to them of Stony Brook for “New York” slot, went with facilities)

Florida Gulf Coast (thought about taking 2 Florida schools, decided geography too far until they make us ignore it)
North Florida (thought about taking 2 Florida schools, decided geography too far until they make us ignore it)
Jacksonville (thought about taking 2 Florida schools, decided geography too far until they make us ignore it)

George Mason (duplicate market)
LaSalle (duplicate market)

Valpo (Not sure where they slot in playing with bigger boys; market concerns)
Quinnipiac (Not sure where they slot in playing with bigger boys; market concerns)

Detroit (too low on totem pole in market: Mich St/Michigan)
Oakland (too low on totem pole in market: Mich St/Michigan)
Manhattan (too low on totem pole in market, old facilities)
Fordham (too low on totem pole in market, old facilities)
Hofstra (I picked Stony Brook because they seem rising, Hofstra seems stagnant)

Bradley, Drake, Illinois State, Indiana State, Southern Illinois, Missouri State.
Evansville
Loyola Chicago

The other MVC teams: mix of market and not clearly defined hierarchy of the conference. It’s WSU, UNI and then… 3-8 are the same, not none of them in big markets, and fight Big Ten/Big 12 schools in those markets. Loyola Chicago needs to show they can step up a weight class.

CAA: No one stands out or has its own market enough to make me take notice.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:56 pm 
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JPSchmack wrote:
As for the La Salle problem… what concerns me is that, unlike Bona ever year, or FOR/DUQ this year, or what Mason should be doing, the Explorers can’t schedule the way a down team should, because they’ve got Villanova, Temple, Penn & Drexel in the Big Five every year. They’re in a duplicate market with all five pro sports teams, so they’re competing for the spot of 10th most popular team in Philly, which also has about 30 other teams competing for the last spots in the top 12.


Philadelphia will probably see a few of its four-year schools merge or shutter in a decade or two if enrollment, funding, and other matters don't dramatically improve. La Salle (and St. Joe's, for that matter) isn't near Chestnut Hill College, Peirce College, USciences, Holy Family, or Philadelphia University yet, but they aren't flourishing like Penn, Temple, Villanova, or, at times, Drexel, either.

I don't know if there's even room for private two-year's in the area, like Manor and Harcum. Manor, CHC, and HFU will probably be asked to suspend operations or merge to La Salle and/or St. Joe's...but I don't know if that even helps those other two in the long-term.

Philly and its 'burbs over-saturated with Catholic schools. That will likely impact the two A10 schools at some point.


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