C-USA Rolls Out Innovative Schedule for Men's Hoops
By ODU Athletics
NORFOLK, Va. – Conference USA will launch a new schedule format for the 2018-19 men’s basketball conference season. The Athletics Directors and Board of Directors originally passed the concept in January following discussions with former head coach and ESPN analyst Mark Adams. Head Men’s Basketball Coaches and Athletics Directors finalized the details during the league’s annual spring meetings in Destin, Florida.
Within the format, the 14 programs will play each other once and their travel partner twice in the first seven weeks of the conference season. At the conclusion of the seven weeks, teams will be placed in one of three groups based on conference standings through the first 14 games of league action. The teams will be divided into two groups of five (1-5 and 6-10) and a group of four (11-14). During the final three weeks, teams will play within their respective grouping for the last four games of conference play. Home and away games within the groups will be determined by a preset formula.
“I think it’s creative and I’m happy that Conference USA is trying to be proactive and trying to do something,” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “Because just doing the same old thing obviously wasn’t working. Every year we’ve had at least five really good teams and yet people nationally, and even people that support Conference USA teams, I don’t think clearly understood how good those five or six teams have been. But because the RPI divide was so big between the top and the bottom that just kept weighing teams down. This addresses that divide between the top and the bottom. It’s a creative, aggressive, forward-thinking way to help the league, particularly the teams at the top."
“With the goals to improve seeding and increase the number of teams that advance to the postseason, we viewed this as a great opportunity to enhance our top teams’ resumes by providing them additional quality games within their conference schedule,” C-USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “Nonconference scheduling will continue to be a priority but this will provide a real-time analysis to create competitive matchups for teams and their fans.”
Once all 18 games have been completed, the top 12 teams based on final league standings will be seeded in the conference tournament. Teams will be guaranteed seeding within their respective group. For example, if a program lands in the second group (6-10), it will seed no higher than six and no lower than 10 in the tournament field.
“First, I want to congratulate the visionary leadership of Commissioner MacLeod and Assistant Commissioner for Sports Services Clifton Douglass from the conference office,” Mark Adams said. “This new scheduling plan uniquely combines the goals of Conference USA leaders and supporters. It combines a traditional schedule with an exciting end-of-season format that will surely catch the attention of college basketball fans and the NCAA Tournament selection committee.”
The 2019 C-USA Basketball Championships will be held in Frisco, Texas, March 13-16, at Ford Center at The Star.
What Others Are Saying:
NBC Sports Article: Conference USA With a Unique, Brilliant Change to League Scheduling
Daily Press – David Teel Article: Failed by Status Quo, Conference USA Basketball Gets Creative
Virginian Pilot – Ed Miller Article: Conference USA's New Basketball Scheduling Model Getting Rave Reviews