For the past two seasons, the Big East tournament has awarded the top four seeds two byes into the quarterfinals. Of the eight teams to receive the two byes, five have lost their opening game.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino told FanHouse he believes the majority of the league's coaches are for changing the tournament and it could be changed for the 2011 event.
"I'm not for the double bye," Pitino said. "It doesn't keep you sharp enough. I think they [a lot of other coaches] think that also. It could change. I would like it to change."
At last year's spring meetings, there was discussion to change the double-bye format, but ultimately no change was made.
Dan Gavitt, the Big East's associate commissioner for basketball, said the tournament format "definitely" will be discussed at the spring meetings next week. Like Pitino, he believes a majority of the coaches want to ditch the double-bye format, but the change must be formally approved by the league's athletic directors or presidents.
Gavitt said he can appreciate both sides -- those that favor the double-bye or would rather not have it -- but wouldn't disclose which format he prefers.
For the past two seasons, the top four seeds received two byes. Seeds 5-8 received one bye while the bottom eight seeds met in the first round. Without the double bye, the tournament would simply be a 16-team bracket -- the No. 1 seed opens against No. 16, No. 2 vs. No. 15, etc.
If changed to this format, the biggest decision would be determining which four of the eight opening round games would be played on Tuesday – meaning those winners would not play again until Thursday's quarterfinals – with the remaining four opening games held on Wednesday.
Gavitt said the regular 16-team bracket, without byes, "is probably more fair from top to bottom. We're now [requiring] four teams [in the current format that win on Tuesday] to have to win five games to win the tournament," Gavitt said. "But you do have to consider how it affects the teams for the NCAA tournament the following week."
Without a double-bye the top four seeds would have to play one more game if they reached the Big East final than if the double-bye was in place. And, in theory, those teams could be worn down a little more for the NCAA tournament the following week. However, the coaches don't seem concerned with that.
Gavitt said the league will strongly consider input from the league's coaches on the matter.
"No one knows basketball more than Rick Pitino, Bob Huggins, Jim Calhoun or Jim Boeheim," Gavitt said. "I trust their judgment explicitly."
The first year the Big East tournament had the double-bye format, in 2009, resulted in No. 2 seed Pittsburgh and No. 3 UConn being upset in their opening game. In last year's tournament, three of the top four seeds lost their opener -- No. 1 Syracuse, No. 2 Pittsburgh and No. 4 Villanova. Only No. 3 seed West Virginia wasn't eliminated in its opening game and the Mountaineers ended up winning the tournament.
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @BrettmcmurphY