Big East Won't Change Tourney Format | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / July 8.
  • Big East Won’t Change Tourney Format

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    The Big East will not alter its men’s basketball tournament format for the second time in two years.

    League officials toyed with the idea of doing away with the double-bye system and having the top four teams play the bottom four teams on the tournament’s first day, Tuesday, and then giving the winners a day off before playing the quarterfinals on Thursday. The teams seeded 5-12 would have squared off on Wednesday.

    The semifinals would have remained on Friday night with the title game on Saturday night.

    “We’re not going to change it for next year,” a Big East source said. “After only one year there wasn’t support to make the change. It’s going to be the same bracket as last year.”

    Last year all 16 of the league’s teams were invited to the Garden for the first time. Prior to that, only the top 12 teams made the conference tournament.

    But last season two of the top four seeds lost in the quarterfinals and a third was nearly upset.

    No. 7 West Virginia beat No. 2 Pitt and No. 6 Syracuse beat No. 3 UConn in the historic six-overtime affair. No. 4 Villanova edged No. 5 Marquette on a shot at the buzzer. Top-seeded Louisville ended up winning the tournament.

    “I think the sentiment was that for the top-seeded teams, they want to win the tournament and they just don’t think it’s to their advantage not to play any games before they play somebody in the quarterfinals who’s played a game or two already,” Dan Gavitt, the Big East associate commissioner for men’s basketball, said last month.

    Now the status quo remains and the top seeds must be on guard in the first round.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.