Big East To Expand Tourney Field In 2009

By David Scott - November 07, 2007

The Big East today announced that the league's tournaments (both men and women) will be expanded for the 2009 season to include all 16 teams. As it is currently structured, only the Top 12 schools are eligible for the respective tournaments.

The exclusion of the bottom-feeders was a hot topic of discussion every post-season and the move will eliminate the debate. It's always been unjust in our eyes, to leave four teams at home and not give any of them that chance at catching lightning in a bottle. Is the potential there to "steal" a bid from your own league? Of course, but that's what March Madness is all about. If you're fearing the No. 14, 15 or 16 team in your league, you've got more issues than whether you're in the NCAA Tournament or not.

Contents of the press release, follow:

BIG EAST Will Increase Basketball Championship Fields
To Include All 16 Members For 2009

Providence, R.I. -- The Presidents of the BIG EAST Conference voted to include all 16 member institutions in the men's and women's basketball championship tournaments beginning in 2009. The Presidents took this action at their annual meeting, which was held Nov. 6 in Philadelphia, Pa.

"Our Presidents performed a very thorough review of the tournament format," said Commissioner Michael Tranghese. "After extensive deliberation, it was decided that inviting all teams to participate would provide a special opportunity to every men's and women's basketball student-athlete."

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 in New York City at Madison Square Garden. The women's championship is held in Hartford, Conn., at the Hartford Civic Center.

The new format will have the teams seeded 9 through 16 meet on the first day of competition. The matchups will be No. 9 vs. No. 16, No. 10 vs. No. 15, No. 11 vs. No. 14 and No. 12 vs. No. 13.

The winners of those four games will meet seeds 5 through 8 on the second day of play. The 9/16 winner will advance to play the No. 8 seed. The 10/15 winner will play the No. 7 seed. The 11/14 winner will meet the No. 6 seed. The 12/13 winner will play the No. 5 seed.

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.

Posted by David Scott at 11:26 AM on November 07, 2007

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