WAC Commissioner Karl Benson announced that the league will change its postseason men’s and women’s basketball tournament format, effective for the 2011 tournament. The change was recommended by both the WAC men’s and women’s basketball coaches and approved by the WAC Board of Directors earlier this summer. The change will reward teams based on regular season success, giving the top two teams byes into the tournament semifinals.
“I thought it was a very good direction to move into,” New Mexico State men’s basketball head coach Marvin Menzies said. “A lot of other conferences have used that model, and it seemed to be successful for them. After visiting with some of those coaches, it was evident to me that they liked it and in our position, hopefully, with where we will finish in conference, it will give us an advantage.”
Under the format, the tournament begins on Wednesday with two men’s and two women’s games featuring the No. 5 seed against the No. 8 seed and No. 6 versus No. 7. The winners then advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups to play the No. 4 and No. 3 seeds. The winners of those games then advance to Friday’s semifinals against the top two seeds. The change also results in two men’s and two women’s games being played each day of the tournament except for Saturday, which features the men’s and women’s championship games.
Aggie women’s head coach Darin Spence said he was also happy about the location change for the tournament.
“I think it is an exciting time for the league to play the tournament at a neutral site,” he said. “I think it is time to give it a shot. I know our fans like going to Las Vegas, so I think the change is good.”
The 2011 WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament is March 9-12 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and includes the top eight teams in the regular season standings.
The release said tickets will be available from the WAC soon.
My only concern is that it will take away a game from teams that may be struggling to reach enough wins to attract post-season bids. Sometimes the second though fourth place teams may have a record like 19-12 or 21-9 and another victory in WAC tournament play could get them to 20 wins of maybe more.