OGDEN — With the Big Sky Conference moving its basketball championships to Boise, Idaho, the conference announced tweaks to the tournament schedules and formats Tuesday.
Teams that finish in the top five of the regular-season standings will receive byes through the first round and into the quarterfinals. Previously, the top four teams earned byes. This change was partially precipitated by the conference shrinking from 12 to 11 teams with the departure of North Dakota.
First-round games will pit seeds 8 vs. 9, 7 vs. 10, and 6 vs. 11 against each other. Seeds No. 4 and 5 face off in the quarterfinals, with the top three seeds playing winners from the first round.
The largest change came to the schedules.
The women’s tournament will run Monday through Friday, with a day off Thursday between the semifinals and the championship game.
The men’s tournament will run Wednesday through Saturday with no days off. Previously, the first round was played on a Tuesday with a day off before Thursday quarterfinals.
The change to the schedule was initiated by requests from coaches, Big Sky deputy commissioner Ron Loghry told the Standard-Examiner in March. Coaches did not want low seeds to get a rest day between the first round and the quarterfinals.
For 2019, the women’s tournament begins Monday, March 11, with the championship game on Friday, March 15. The men’s tournament tips off Wednesday, March 13, with the title game Saturday, March 16.