Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sweet 16

Starting in 2009, all 16 Big East schools will be invited to the men's and women's basketball championship tournaments. This action was voted on and approved by the presidents of the Big East Conference at its annual meeting on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Currently, the top 12 teams in the final regular-season standings advance to participate in the men’s and women’s championships. The men’s championship is held at Madison Square Garden, the women's at the Hartford Civic Center.

Early this afternoon, UConn released Jim Calhoun's thoughts on the change:

“Since the league expanded to 16 teams, I have felt that the 12-team format for the tournament ostracized the programs, coaches and especially the players of the teams that were excluded from going to New York. The experience of playing in Madison Square Garden and all that is associated with the history of our tournament in New York City needed to be something that every team in our league could be a part of. For that reason, I have lobbied very hard for this to happen. I congratulate the League Presidents and Athletic Directors for this move that benefits every basketball student-athlete in the BIG EAST.”

The new format will have the teams seeded 9 through 16 meet on the first day of competition.
The winners of those four games will meet seeds 5 through 8 on the second day of play.

Those four winners will advance to play the top four seeds in the quarterfinal round. Thus, the top four seeded teams still will not play until the quarterfinals, which occurs in the current 12-team format.

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