Remember how in this year’s Big East Tournament, three of the four top seeds — Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Villanova — lost their very first games, and only eventual champion West Virginia advanced to the semifinals? Well, in case those early exits were the result of the very bracket used to determine matchups (as opposed to teams simply underperforming, or, in one case, possibly being jinxed by a certain area sports blog), those elite schools can rest easy knowing that the tournament format may be tweaked for 2011.
Last year, the top four seeds received double byes to the quarterfinals, while the next four seeds received single byes and the eight lowest seeds played on the first day of the five-day tournament. But, according to Lenn Robbins of the Post, coaches are concerned that the teams with the double byes lose momentum, and he reports that the conference will “almost surely” adopt a system for 2011 in which no teams get a bye. In the new format, the No. 1 seed would play the No. 16 seed, No. 2 would play No. 15, and so on.
The conference’s athletic directors will vote on the format change in about a month, and though the university presidents have the final say, Robbins notes that they’re likely to follow the vote of their athletic directors.