I have lived in the Twin Cities area for years and followed MIAC football and basketball......IMO, St. Thomas (athletic program-wise) can be similar to a Loyola (mid to large Catholic university in an urban setting). Their endowment is on par on the average with those in the Big East. Although the circumstances of St. Thomas being essentially kicked out of the MIAC were s****y (Carleton, St. Olaf, Hamline, and Macallester created and led the cabal that led to UST's ouster, since those programs did not invest much in their athletic programs and it was easer to kick out the dominant program instead), maybe it was the push UST needed to go D1, but were maybe hesitant to previously.
UST has the recruiting base in which to succeed quickly in D1; There are no other D1 programs in the state besides Minnesota. It would be a natural place for local kids who maybe didn't get playing time at other Big Ten programs (Wisconsin recruits a LOT in the Twin Cities area)to transfer to.
We shall see how this program will grow......If they find success over the next decade once they go D1, Minneapolis-St. Paul would be attractive from a TV market standpoint for Big East expansion (if they were to add more schools).