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New MAC basketball tourney: designed by the BCS?

August 19, 2011

Look! Up in the sky! It's a rocket. It's the Empire State Building...no, it's the MAC tournament!

Yesterday afternoon, the Mid-American Conference announced a new format for the men’s and women’s basketball tournament. Here’s the description of the new format from the MAC press release:

Recently approved by the Conference’s Council of Director of Athletics, the new format will seed both tournaments by rewarding the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds with a bye into the semifinal round, while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will receive a bye to the quarterfinal round. Seeding will be determined by winning percentage, regardless of division.

The MAC will host the second round on Wednesday, March 7, the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 8, and the semifinals on Friday, March 9. All three days will feature two afternoon Women’s games and two evening Men’s contests. The Men’s and Women’s Championship Games will be played on Saturday, March 10 at times to be announced at a later date.

Based on quotes from various MAC officials yesterday, the following criteria were considered:

  • Challenge the status quo (MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher)
  • Reward regular-season performance (Steinbrecher)
  • Allows men’s and women’s tournaments to be held simultaneously (Buffalo AD Warde Manuel)
  • Greater likelihood of top teams receiving NCAA automatic bids (Manuel; Miami AD and Chair of the MAC Council of Directors of Athletics Brad Bates; Bowling Green AD and Chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee Greg Christopher)

The press release also make a point of mentioning that last year’s tournaments featured #6 Akron upsetting #1 Kent State for the men’s championship and the automatic NCAA bid, and #2 Bowling Green edging out #5 EMU for the women’s championship and automatic NCAA bid. I guess that’s the kind of excitement they’re trying to avoid. No Cinderella teams here, no sirree!

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