Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good News Out of the Big East

The Big East announced today that they will start including all 16 teams in the Big East Conference Tournament. The current system, which excludes the bottom four teams in the conference, will remain in place this season. Next year they will begin with the new format.

I don't understand why they ever excluded the bottom four teams. Every extra game means more attendance and more tv money. It had to hurt recruiting, since kids might have turned away St. Johns or Cincinnati out of fear of not having a conference tournament. The only rationale was that it was for the kids and coaches who wanted to avoid having to play four straight games if they earned it during the rest of the season, but the ESPN link suggests that the coaches were all against the rule. The news rules will still allow the top four teams to get byes, so the regular season winner won't have to worry about playing four straight games anyway.

At the very least, fixing this rule fixed a bad precedent. Perhaps the greatest aspect of college basketball is how with three weeks before the Tournament, about 330 teams still have a shot to win the National Title. The Ivy League is the only conference that doesn't have a conference Tournament. I can understand the Ivy League wanting to keep its own rules (such as not having athletic scholarships), but I believe that every other conference should include all teams in their tournaments if it's economically feasible. And it's definitely economically feasible for the Big East.

The conference can get even more good news if UConn plays better tonight. They looked awful last night, and get a chance to rebound tonight at 9pm ET against Buffalo. If you've got the channel, the game will be on ESPNU.

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