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Philadelphia Big 5 adds Drexel, announces new format

Despite shaking up the format and adding a new school to become a group of six, it’s still the Big 5.

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If you wanted change in the Philadelphia Big 5, you got it!

On Tuesday afternoon, the Big 5 announced several changes to the long-standing Philadelphia college basketball tradition.

It will no longer be a true round-robin, and Drexel will now be included. Despite the fact that there are now six schools involved — Villanova, Temple, St. Joseph’s, Penn, La Salle, and now, Drexel — the Big 5 name is still being retained.

The six-school association will be split into two pods of three teams. There will be a culminating event called “The Big 5 Classic,” a triple-header at the Wells Fargo Center to decide the Big 5 champion.

The first-place team in each pod will play for the Big 5 title, while the second-place teams will match up to battle for third in the Big 5. The bottom-seeded teams will also match-up in order to round out the triple-header.

An explanation from the Big 5 on the new system:

“Each team will play the other two teams from their pod at their individual on-campus arenas. All teams will participate in the Big 5 Classic triple-header at the New Wells Fargo Center on December 2 with the first seed in each pod competing for the Big 5 championship, the second place teams in each pod competing for second place, and the third seeds competing for third place in the Big 5.”

Pod One: Temple, La Salle, Drexel

Pod Two: Villanova, Penn, St. Joseph’s

There is speculation that the pods may be reshuffled or realigned in the future or in a year-to-year basis, but there is no official word from the Big 5 on that front.

Since the Big 5’s inception in 1955, Villanova leads the way with 29 titles, including 17 outright wins. Temple is right behind with 28, followed by St. Joseph’s (20), Penn (14) and La Salle (11).

Villanova has won at least a share of the Big 5 crown in eight of the last nine seasons. Penn won in 2019, and the Big 5 was canceled in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.