By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The move from a 12-team conference to a 10-team conference means a double round-robin schedule for Big 12 Conference men's and women's basketball. It also means the championship formats will change. The new formats were announced at the Big 12's annual spring meetings.
Depending on how one prefers to view it, either the top six teams in the final standings earn first-round byes or the bottom four teams in the standings will play first-round games. Both the men's and women's championships will have a 2-4-2-1 format.
Both events in Kansas City will start on Wednesday with two games between the teams seeded seven through 10. The winners of those two games advance to Thursday's four quarterfinal games with two semifinal contests played Friday and the championship games on Saturday. The men's championship will be played at the Sprint Center, the women's at Municipal Auditorium
In the quarterfinal round, the first game of the day will match the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams. The top seed will play next against the winner of the 8-9 game. The winner of the 7-10 game on opening day will face the second-seeded team in the third quarterfinal game while the last game will match the 3-6 seeds.
The league spent several months studying various possibilities before adopting the new plan at its annual meetings on Thursday.
"It went through our coaches groups, went through our administrative groups, went all the way up the ladder," said commissioner Dan Beebe. "I think there was consideration of all sorts of formats. After all the discussion and debates about various benefits and detriments of other formats, it ended up unanimous."
The tipoff times for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday will be staggered to avoid conflicts between the men's and women's championships. However, on the four-game schedule Thursday there will be unavoidable conflicts.
Last year, the women's format had a day off scheduled for the four teams in the semifinals. With the field pared down to 10 teams, the women's coaches voted to do away with the day off.
Tiebreaker Rules Tweaked
In men's and women's basketball, the rules also needed adjustment due to the move to a double round-robin, 18-game schedule. The third and fourth steps in breaking ties between teams will involve road conference games.
This would come after head-to-head results and a comparison of record against teams occupying the highest position(s) in the league standings. The third tiebreaker would compare the tied teams records in Conference road games. The fourth comparison would be which team has a road victory versus the squad occupying the highest position in the Big 12 standings.