Sun Belt Basketball Championship Adjusts Format - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Sun Belt Basketball Championship Adjusts Format

NEW ORLEANS - Following the success of the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championship which saw new attendance records and a positive response from local fans and the conference membership, the league office announced today the expansion of the neutral site format which will bring all 13 Sun Belt men's and women's basketball teams to Hot Springs, Arkansas for the 2010 Championship being held March 6-9.

The tournament will be conducted over four days in Hot Springs with all 13 member institutions participating.  The conference will not utilize first round campus games as had been the format in previous years.  Instead, the conference will use two playing courts for the first and quarterfinal rounds in the Summit Arena-Hot Springs Convention Center complex. Fans that purchase a pass for a session will be able to use their tickets for both courts. 

"Last season was the first time we had a neutral site tournament since 1993 and because it was such a success the coaches and administrators in our conference asked us to pursue the possibility of bringing all of our teams to Hot Springs," said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters.

"This creative new format will allow all of student-athletes and fans the chance to enjoy a special atmosphere and a great college basketball experience."

The opening round on Saturday, March 6 will have a total of ten games contested - five men's games and five first round women's games.  The first day will be broken up in two sessions with the morning session consisting of six games with the first game of the tournament set to tip at 9:45 a.m. (CT).  Game times will be staggered throughout the day so that Sun Belt fans can go from court to court to watch as much basketball as they wish.  The second session on Saturday will start with a 6:30 p.m. (CT) tip time and the final game of the day is set for 9 p.m. (CT).

The quarterfinals on Sunday, March 7 will have eight total games - four men's games and four women's games.  Sunday's first session will begin at 12 p.m. (CT) and the second session will again start at 6:30 p.m. (CT).  Both of Sunday's sessions will feature four games.

The semifinals will be conducted on Monday, March 8 and the tournament will conclude with the men's and women's championship games taking place on Tuesday, March 9.  The semifinals and championship games will follow the same format as in previous years and only one court will be needed for these games.

Tip time for the women's championship game is set for 1 p.m. (CT) and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU as part of the Sun Belt Conference's new agreement with ESPN.  The men's championship game will tip at 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2.  The Sun Belt Conference men's basketball championship game has been broadcast nationally by ESPN for 29 consecutive years, marking its longest affiliation with any conference in the country.

As in year's past, the top two teams from both the East and West Division, along with the team with next best conference record regardless of division will receive a bye into the quarterfinals.

The 2009 Sun Belt Conference Championship saw a new attendance record set for the women's basketball tournament and the highest total attendance for the men's tournament since 2003.


Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Championship Schedule of Events

  

Saturday, March 6

Game 1 - 2:15 p.m. - No. 8 Seed vs. No. 9 Seed (Summit Arena)

Game 2 - 6:30 p.m. - No. 4 Seed vs. No. 13 Seed (Summit Arena)

Game 3 - 6:45 p.m. - No. 5 Seed vs. No. 12 Seed (Convention Center Court)

Game 4 - 8:45 p.m. - No. 6 Seed vs. No. 11 Seed (Summit Arena)

Game 5 - 9:00 p.m. - No. 7 Seed vs. No. 10 Seed (Convention Center Court)

Sunday, March 7

Game 6 - 6:30 p.m. - No. 1 Seed vs. Winner Game 1 (Summit Arena)

Game 7 - 6:45 p.m. - Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3 (Convention Center Court)

Game 8 - 8:45 p.m. - No. 2 Seed vs. Winner Game 5 (Summit Arena)

Game 9 - 9:00 p.m. - No. 3 Seed vs. Winner Game 4 (Convention Center Court)

Monday, March 8

Game 10 - 6:30 p.m. - Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 7 (Summit Arena) - ESPN+

Game 11 - 8:45 p.m. - Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9 (Summit Arena) - ESPN+

Tuesday, March 9

Championship Game - 6 p.m. (Summit Arena) - ESPN2

All times central and subject to change

Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball Championship Schedule of Events

  

Saturday, March 6

Game 1 - 9:45 a.m. - No. 4 Seed vs. No. 13 Seed (Summit Arena)

Game 2 - 10:00 a.m. - No. 5 Seed vs. No. 12 Seed (Convention Center Court)

Game 3 - 12:00 p.m. - No. 6 Seed vs. No. 11 Seed (Summit Arena)

Game 4 - 12:15 p.m. - No. 8 Seed vs. No. 9 Seed (Convention Center Court)

Game 5 - 2:30 p.m. - No. 7 Seed vs. No. 10 Seed (Convention Center Court)

Sunday, March 7

Game 6 - 12:00 p.m. - No. 1 Seed vs. Winner Game 4 (Summit Arena)

Game 7 - 12:15 p.m. - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (Convention Center Court)

Game 8 - 2:15 p.m. - No. 2 Seed vs. Winner Game 5 (Summit Arena)

Game 9 - 2:30 p.m. - No. 3 Seed vs. Winner Game 3 (Convention Center Court)

Monday, March 8

Game 10 - 12:00 p.m. - Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 7 (Summit Arena) - ESPN+

Game 11 - 2:15 p.m. - Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9 (Summit Arena) - ESPN+

Tuesday, March 9

Championship Game - 1 p.m. (Summit Arena) - ESPNU

All times central and subject to change


What They Are Saying About the Sun Belt Conference Basketball Tournament

Dr. Gretchen Bataille, University of North Texas President

""This new format will be great for Sun Belt Conference fans as they will be able to make travel arrangements knowing that their teams will be in Hot Springs for the tournament.  It is certainly advantageous from that standpoint and also because it will raise the spirit and pride for the conference tournament as a whole. UNT looks forward to a successful basketball season and to being in the tournament this upcoming year in Hot Springs with even more of our fans court side."

Dr. Sidney McPhee, Middle Tennessee State University President

"The Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championships have always been a great event for student-athletes and fans alike.  Post season basketball is a unique experience and this new format will give more people a chance to enjoy the tournament, and I think we will see an increased number of fans travelling to Hot Springs in March.  This is an exciting time for the Sun Belt Conference and this will be a tremendous experience for everyone involved."

 

Bobby Staub, ULM Athletics Director and Sun Belt Conference Chair for ADs

"First, I think it's important to recognize our partners in Hot Springs for their willingness to rework our tournament format so that now all of our teams are going to the tournament host city. Hot Springs did a great job in the initial year as tournament host and I know they had to go to some lengths to be able to handle this change in format. In the end, I think they've arrived at a solution that takes a great event and makes it even more attractive. Basketball fans are going to love the new Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championships. We should see a spike in pre-tournament ticket sales as our fans will now be assured of seeing our teams in action in Hot Springs. By taking all teams to the tournament host city, fans can now make plans in advance to not only attend the tournament and cheer on their team, but also take advantage of the other sights and attractions in Hot Springs."    

 

Steve Arrison, CEO of the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau

"Hot Springs is delighted with the decision to bring all the games in the Sun Belt Basketball Tournament to our city in 2010.  It will focus the excitement of the complete tournament in one location, bringing more teams, more fans and more enthusiasm to the early-round games and allow teams, coaching staffs, officials and fans to gather in a great city to enjoy everything Hot Springs has to offer.  The impact on the over-all tournament will be great.  We can't wait for the Sun Belt Championship to come to Hot Springs again."

Ken McDonald, WKU Head Men's Basketball Coach

"We had an outstanding tournament run and experience in Hot Springs last year.  The new format change should enable all school's fans to attend and create their own positive experiences.  We look forward to returning to Hot Springs in 2010 and another outstanding Sun Belt Conference Tournament."

 

Joe Foley, UALR Head Women's Basketball Coach

 "I think this is better for the tournament.  With everybody coming to Hot Springs, the teams and fans can go ahead and make plans.  It makes the tournament equal with no home court advantage."

sunbeltsports.org

 

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