MAAC rearranges tournament schedule to help top seeds

By Nick Veronica

maaclogoThe men’s and women’s MAAC basketball tournaments will feature a slightly different format in 2016, giving the top two seeds an added day of rest between the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.

The quarterfinals will now open Friday for teams seeded first and second, which gives them Saturday off before the semifinals on Sunday, assuming they win. Teams seeded third and fourth have Friday off but will have to win Saturday and Sunday to advance to Monday’s final.

The previous format had play-in games on Thursday, with the quarterfinal round opening for everyone Saturday. Here’s a look at the games that will be affected, using last year’s bracket. (The times of the games will change; full schedule below.)

new_maac_tournament_bracket

“The efforts of the administrators and coaches to adjust the format to provide an advantage to the top two seeds was prompted by a general recognition by the MAAC membership that not enough reward was being assessed to regular season success by the previous format,” MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor said in the press release.

The vote for the schedule change was 9-1-1, with Manhattan opposed and Quinnipiac abstaining, Ensor said.

Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said on Twitter that he’d prefer the 11th-place team not even make the tournament.

The top two seeds — ideally, the teams the conference would like to represent it in the NCAA tournament — have met in four of the last 10 MAAC Championship games, but only once in the last five seasons.

2015: 3-Manhattan beats 1-Iona
2014: 2-Manhattan beats 1-Iona
2013: 4-Iona beats 6-Manhattan
2012: 2-Loyola (Md.) beats 4-Fairfield
2011: 4-Saint Peter’s beats 2-Iona
2010: 1-Siena beats 2-Fairfield
2009: 1-Siena beats 2-Niagara
2008: 1-Siena beats 2-Rider
2007: 2-Niagara beats 3-Siena
2006: 2-Iona beats 5-Saint Peter’s

Arranging the conference tournament to help the top seeds is not a new idea. The Mid-American Conference, for instance, gives its top two teams a bye straight into the semifinals.

Full MAAC Tournament schedule:

Thursday

Session I: Women’s Opening Round
9:30 a.m. #8 Seed vs. #9 Seed
11:30 a.m. #7 Seed vs. # 10 Seed
1:30 p.m. #6 Seed vs. #11 Seed

Session II: Men’s Opening Round
5:00 p.m. #8 Seed vs. #9 Seed
7:00 p.m. #7 Seed vs. #10 Seed
9:00 p.m. #6 Seed vs. #11 Seed

Friday

Session III: Women’s Quarterfinals
12:00 p.m. #1 Seed vs. 8/9 Winner
2:30 p.m. #2 Seed vs. 7/10 Seed

Session IV: Men’s Quarterfinals
7:00 p.m. #1 Seed vs. 8/9 Winner
9:30 p.m. #2 Seed vs. 7/10 Seed

Saturday

Session V: Women’s Quarterfinals
12:00 p.m. #3 Seed vs. 6/11 Winner
2:30 p.m. #4 Seed vs. #5 Winner

Session VI: Men’s Quarterfinals
7:00 p.m. #3 Seed vs. 6/11 Winner
9:30 p.m. #4 Seed vs. #5 Winner

Sunday

Session VI: Women’s Semifinals
11:00 a.m. 1/8/9 vs. 4/5 winner
1:30 p.m. 2/7/10 vs. 3/6/11 winner

Session VII: Men’s Semifinals
4:30 p.m. 1/8/9 vs. 4/5 winner
7:00 p.m. 2/7/10 vs. 3/6/11 winner

Monday

Session VIII: Women’s Championship TBD Semifinal Winners

Session IX: Men’s Championship TBD Semifinal Winners

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