Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Saying farewell to Big East's double bye
By Dana O'Neil
Nothing is finalized just yet but expect the double bye to go bye-bye come next year’s Big East Tournament.
Coaches unanimously approved eliminating the double bye at their meetings in Florida, AOL Fanhouse reported on Tuesday, and the league’s athletic directors could second that opinion today.
Although Big East associate commissioner John Paquette told ESPN.com that the league’s athletic directors will “discuss it more after we do more research and that “no decision will be made until about a month from now,’’ associate commissioner Dan Gavitt also told me back in March, “We tend to listen to our coaches.’’
Coaches argue that the extra layoff is to blame for the early dismissals of five of the top eight teams in the last two seasons.
Is the double bye really the culprit? Maybe.
But there’s also a very good possibility that the strength of the league the last two seasons has been the real rabble-rouser.
This year, for example, a struggling Villanova team lost to red-hot Marquette, Notre Dame and its newfangled slow-down style trumped a talented but still fairly young and overachieving Pitt team and Georgetown, not exactly a slouch, topped a Syracuse team reeling after watching Arinze Onuaku go down with an injury.
On paper all three were recorded as upsets, but in the real scheme of things? Not exactly Northern Iowa over Kansas.
But the coaches have weighed in and the league will, in all likelihood, do right by them and change the format. (And for the record, listening to the coaches isn’t a bad idea. They are, after all, the lifeblood of the conference. No reason to tick them off.)
The revamped tournament would look like this:
On Tuesday: No. 1 seed vs. No. 16, 2 vs. 15, 3 vs. 14, 4 vs. 13.
On Wednesday: No. 5 seed vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10 and 8 vs. 9
On Thursday the winners from Tuesday and Wednesday convene for the quarterfinals, picking up the long-held schedule that winds up with Saturday night’s championship game at Madison Square Garden.