Big East Tournament Won't Say Bye to Double-Bye System
Despite the Big East's basketball coaches voting unanimously to change the format of the 2011 league tournament, there was not unanimous support from the presidents, so the 2011 Big East tournament will remain the same format as the past two years.
The Big East's presidents did not approve earlier recommendations by the league's athletic directors and coaches to change the format, which would have begun with the 2011 Big East men's tournament.
"There were a variety of reasons and it was concluded that the timing wasn't right," Big East associate commissioner Dan Gavitt told FanHouse.
In early May, FanHouse initially reported that the coaches were opposed to the double-bye format. On May 15 the league coaches voted unanimously against it at the league's spring meetings in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., because of upsets to teams receiving byes in the last two league tournaments.
League coaches wanted a new format where no teams received byes, but the presidents decided against it.
One reason might have been because of the television implications. ESPN is already locked into televising next year's tournaments, and a tournament without byes, could have had the higher seeded teams played afternoon games, instead of the more desirable night time slots in the earlier rounds.
A source at a league school also said that with the Big East's TV deals expiring in the next few years, a new tourney format could be more beneficial to any future television negotiations.
In the past two seasons, the Big East tournament awarded two byes to each of the top four seeds into the quarterfinals. That was hardly an advantage, however. Of the eight teams to receive the two byes, five were upset in their opening game, which was a concern of the coaches.
Earlier this spring, Louisville coach Rick Pitino told FanHouse that he and other coaches weren't for the double-bye format because "it doesn't keep you sharp enough."
Last year, the league's coaches discussed changing the format but decided to wait another season. But after three of the top four seeds that received a double-bye were upset at the 2010 Big East tournament, the coaches unanimously voted in May to change the format.
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at email@example.com or please follow on Twitter @BrettmcmurphY