Men's Basketball Championship To Move to Campus Sites Starting in 2015
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The excitement of March Madness will be coming to multiple America East campuses starting in 2015 as the conference announced a revamp of its men’s basketball championship format on Thursday. For the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the entire tournament will take place on campus sites with the higher-seeded school hosting each game throughout the championship.
“This is an exciting and positive change for men’s basketball in our conference,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “This format will afford more of our campuses the chance to experience the thrill of postseason basketball, while also protecting our strongest teams and giving them the best opportunity to advance to the NCAA tournament with the highest seed possible.”
The format change, which was unanimously proposed by America East’s head coaches, was endorsed by the conference’s Athletic Directors and Presidents in June. A conference committee was then formed to examine parameters and logistics of the championship with the conference’s Athletic Directors’ Council finalizing those details this week.
“This was a collaborative effort among our coaches, athletic directors and presidents to evaluate various options with the goal of enhancing men’s basketball in our league and I commend them for their dialogue and diligence throughout this process,” said Huchthausen.
The quarterfinals will take place on four different campuses on the Wednesday following the final weekend of conference play, 11 days prior to Selection Sunday. Following the quarterfinal round, the bracket will be re-seeded and match up the highest remaining seeds against the lowest remaining seeds in the semifinals, which will occur four days after the quarterfinals on Sunday. A conference champion will be crowned six days later on Saturday in front of a national television audience on ESPN2.
“This is great for our league,” said Stony Brook men’s basketball coach Steve Pikiell. “We have great home court venues and enthusiastic fan bases across the conference. To be rewarded for a great regular season and have an opportunity to play in front our fans and bring a piece of March Madness to multiple campuses is really exciting.”
“Moving to this high-seed format and re-seeding the bracket enables us to protect our best teams, the teams that have shown their mettle over the course of a 16-game schedule,” said University of Vermont Associate Vice President & Director of Athletics Robert Corran. “This will put the conference in a better position to send its best representative forward to the NCAA tournament and obtain its best possible seed. We felt that was very important for the health of men’s basketball in our conference both in the short and long term.”
The America East Men’s Basketball Championship has had a high-seed format 11 times previously, the last in 1995. The tournament was played on campus sites in each round from 1981-82, 1984-87 and 1991-95. For the past four years, and again in 2014, the early rounds of the championship have been combined with the women and held at a single site with the championship games at the highest remaining seed. The men’s championship was held on its own at a single site and the championship game at the highest remaining seed from 1996-2009. The entire championship was held at the Hartford Civic Center from 1988-90, while early rounds were played at campus sites with the semifinals and final at a single site in 1980 and 1983.
About America East: The America East Conference provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field.