Posted: 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2013
By Jeremy Mauss
With the Mountain West bringing in Utah State and San Jose State to the fold this fall, it provides a predicament to the conference basketball tournament since the two additions give the league 11 teams.
Eleven teams is an awkward number for a conference tournament and it likely would add an extra day to the tournament since both the men's and women's tournament takes place on the same court in Las Vegas.
With nine teams in the league there was a No. 8 vs No. 9 game with the winner advancing to the quarterfinal round, and the coaches still want a similar model with all teams included:
No. 6 seed vs. No. 11 seed;
No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 seed;
No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 seed.
No. 1 vs. No. 8/9 winner;
No. 2 vs. No. 7/10 winner;
No. 3 vs. No. 6/11 winner;
No. 4 vs. No. 5.
This makes a lot of sense but scheduling is an issue. This past conference tournament had the men's side take off on Thursday so that CBS Sports Network could broadcast another conference tournament. If the league were to adopt an 11-team conference tournament they could start the tournament on Tuesday with Round 1 of the men's or women's and then have the other half play on Wednesday. The quarterfinals could start on Thursday and go through Saturday, but again television partners go a long way in this decision.
While this is the coaches option there are other scenarios still on the table which include an eight- or nine-team conference tournament. There also others but they have not been revealed, but another option is to have the title game played on Sunday. However, that would mean an early start time on the West Coast due to the selection committee show airing at 6 p.m. ET.
That would require the men's game to tip at 3 p.m. ET or 12 p.m. PT and the women's title game would have to be played Saturday night, so playing on Sunday and with all 11 teams will be difficult.
A final decision will be made once Board of Directors get together to discuss these possible changes in June. My opinion would be to allow all 11 teams play in the conference tournament and still end on Saturday.