MAC changes men’s and women’s basketball tournament formats

New format eliminates round, triple-byes


The Buffalo men’s basketball team’s No. 2 seeding in the Mid-American Conference Tournament last season automatically put it in the semifinals, a game away from the title game. The Bulls – who got an entire week of rest – faced an Akron team that was playing its fourth game in five days.

That scenario can’t happen next season.

The MAC approved format changes to its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments at its annual spring meetings on Thursday. The new format for the 2016 tournaments features first round games at campus sites for the 5-12 seeds – which will then advance to face the top four seeds in the quarterfinal round in Cleveland, Ohio.

Under the old format, the top two seeds only had to win two tournament games to win the championship, while 5-12 seeds would have to win five games in six days. Now the most games a team would have to win in order to win the tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament is four, and least the amount is three.

The old format had the top two seeds – such as Buffalo last season – receiving triple-byes right to the semifinal and the No. 3 and 4 seeds receiving double-byes to the quarterfinal. This meant the four teams that advanced out of the opening 5-12 seed on-campus round had to face one another in a second round in Cleveland just to go to the quarterfinal. The new format eliminates that round.

The changes will also put less importance on a securing one of the top two seeds throughout the regular season.

The MAC also discussed mental health awareness, time demands, years of eligibility and transfer issues at the meetings.

The MAC Joint Council approved the MAC’s Mental Health Task Force’s recommendations for a “three-pronged approach to the mental health issues of students,” which include “proactive actions, best practice recommendations and follow-up protocol with appropriate personnel,” according to the MAC’s press release. They will be implemented for the 2015-16 academic ear.

The men’s and women’s opening on-campus round will be played on March 7. The women’s quarterfinals will be on March 9, while the men’s will be held on March 10. Both semifinals will be played on March 11 and both championship games will be held on March 12.

Tom Dinki si the editor in chief. He can be reached at