Big East Tournament Changing Format Starting In 2014

The Big East has announced a change in its men's basketball conference tournament for the 2013-14 season when the league is expected to expand to 18 members.

The tournament will no longer feature a straight "double bye" into the quarterfinals for the top four seeds. Instead, the four lowest seeded teams will square off in two "play-in" games on the Monday of tournament week, and then the tournament will proceed in standard form with the remaining 16 teams.

On the Tuesday of tournament week, the top four seeds will play the bottom four seeds in a quartet of first round games. The remaining eight teams will play their first round games on Wednesday. The quarterfinals, semifinals and final will then be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, respectively.

The coaches believe that the day of rest in between the first round and the quarterfinals will provide the top four seeds with as much or more of an advantage as the current double bye set-up does.

The other proposed option was keeping the tournament form as is and excluding the bottom two teams in the league, but the Big East coaches were unanimous in their support of including all 18 teams in the tournament.

The women's tournament will also include all 18 teams, however its form will not be altered as drastically. The two play-in games will be held on the Thursday of tournament week, and then the remaining 16 teams will play out the remainder of the tournament under the current double bye format.

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