Men’s basketball says SEC-ya to divisions

By Adam Silverstein
June 1, 2011

Southeastern Conference men’s basketball coaches recommended to athletic directors and university presidents on Wednesday at the 2011 SEC Spring Meetings that the conference scrap the current East-West division model for their sport and institute a 12-team, single-league format going forward. Wednesday evening the athletic directors agreed, and the changes will take place beginning in the 2011-12 season.

“It’s done,” Florida Gators AD Jeremy Foley told ESPN’s Andy Katz after the meetings concluded for the day. “The presidents don’t have to sign off on this. This is an AD decision. We will be one league effective next year.”

Under the new alignment, the SEC Tournament will be seeded 1-12 based on conference record. No longer will the top two teams in each division (regardless of record) receive byes; the advantage will instead be given to the four best teams overall.

The SEC also plans to adjust the schedule, though it is unknown exactly what changes will be made. There are options for 16-game (currently used), 18-game and 22-game conference schedules on the table that will be discussed at a later date.

SEC teams currently take on opponents in their own division twice (home/away) and teams in the other division once (site determined by rotation). An 18-game schedule would have teams facing their traditional division rivals twice, two “other division” teams twice and four “other division” teams once, while a 22-game schedule would allow every team to square off twice during the regular season.

Because the schedule for the 2011-12 season is already set, no changes will be made until 2012-13 at the earliest. Tournament seedings will be handled by the new rules.

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari said Tuesday that one of the main goals in making these adjustments is to help more SEC teams earn NCAA Tournament berths going forward. The conference believes that the new alignment will help it appear stronger as a whole nationally; no longer will there be one dominant division that makes the other look inferior by comparison.

3 Comments

  1. CeeThree says:

    Interesting, makes sense.

  2. SC Gator says:

    That’s been one of my pet peeves for awhile, good to see it has finally been addressed.

  3. Tractorr says:

    Although I do like this move because it works to Florida’s advantage (teams in the West will be better from time to time I think top to bottom the East schools have more of a basketball tradition), I don’t think that this will actually help more teams get into the tournament in fact it may do the opposite. Teams in the west that did not have as good a record could get better seeding and perhaps win a few games and make the NCAAs, but now they will face more stiff competition.

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