Conference USA concluded its spring meetings with a couple of changes on the basketball front. Not only was it recommended that men’s basketball conference games move from a Wednesday-Saturday schedule to a Thursday-Saturday schedule, it also was recommended that all 16 teams be included in the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The previous plan was to include just 12.
The season schedule change likely eliminates teams returning to campus between road games and staying out four to five days straight on the road, which should help ease the burden of travel budgets. They’d also schedule games with travel partners, which probably means teams won’t play back-to-back road games at Marshall and UTEP.
Tournament-wise, everyone gets a shot at winning, even the conference bottom feeders. Of course, that also extends the tournament from four days to five. And would that mean an eight-game first round with early morning tip-offs? As anyone who’s covered any tournament knows, the scheduled start times are essentially suggestions. Cramming eight games into one day wouldn’t leave much margin of error.