Even though 'Nova is only 3 games deep in the Big East schedule, the 8-Day hiatus has us looking at some interesting and pertinent topics...
As we all know this year, the Big East Tournament will expand a day and add 4 teams to include all 16 schools moving forward. The opening tip-off for the 2009 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden will be on Tuesday March 10, 2009.
The increase to a 16-Team tournament will not be a simple 1 vs. 16 format where any team would need to win 4 consecutive games to claim the Championship.
Instead, the Big East Tournament essentially breaks up the Conference in 3 "groupings". Seeds #9 through #16 will play on Tuesday. Seeds #5 through #8 will have a First Round bye and will play the Winners of Tuesday's games on Wednesday. Finally, seeds #1-#4 will get a bye through the first 2 rounds and will play directly in Conference Quarter Finals on Thursday.
This is what the Bracket will look like with the seeding...
So, without a doubt, we feel this is a good move for the conference. First, it gives every school in the conference the ability to play in the Conference Tournament.
The larger point is the importance of seeding and how you finish the regular season. At the end, teams are always jockey for position for better seeding, but this year seeding around the #4 and #5 seeds as well as around the #8 and #9 seeds will be important due to the inherent byes that are in the Tournament.
Sure the Bracket rewards the Top 4 seeds- they would only need to win three games to claim the championship, but we feel that is a just reward for surviving the rigors of the Big East Schedule that could possibly get 9 teams invited to the Big Dance.
Exciting times for the next two months.