|ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation||[Print without images]|
The format change was first requested by new Boise State coach Leon Rice in a meeting of the conference's head coaches. [Associate commissioner Jeff] Hurd said the coaches supported the new format because it adds meaning to the regular season.
Under the format, the tournament will start Wednesday with two men's and two women's games pitting the No. 5 seed against No. 8 and No. 6 vs. No. 7.
The winners of those games would advanced to play the No. 4 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, on Thursday. The winners of those games then advance to Friday's semifinals against the top two seeds.