PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Big East will include all 16
conference members in its basketball tournament
beginning in 2009, after leaving four schools out of the postseason event since expanding
The presidents of the schools made the decision at their annual
meeting in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The league's coaches had fought for the inclusion of all the
teams since the league expanded to its current size and only 12 of the 16
were brought to New York for the tournament.
The expansion is for both the men's and women's tournaments.
"Our presidents performed a very thorough review of the
tournament format," commissioner Michael Tranghese said. "After
extensive deliberation, it was decided that inviting all teams to
participate would provide a special opportunity to every men's and
women's basketball student-athlete."
The new format will mean adding an extra day to the men's
tournament played at Madison Square Garden and the women's, which is
played at the Hartford Civic Center.
Teams seeded ninth through 16th will meet on the first day. The
four winners will advance to play seeds 5 through 8. The top four
seeded teams will still receive a bye to the quarterfinals, where
they will meet the winners of the second day's games.