Mid-major college basketball is officially entering an era of intra-conference scheduling evolution.
The Sun Belt announced Monday that, starting in 2019-2020, it is changing its men’s basketball slate to a 20-game “smart schedule,” which will include 16 games fitting into the ideal two-division model (five home and five away games vs. divisional opponents, three home/away games against non-divisional foes) and four other games that will pit the best teams in the standings against each other at the end of the season.
This push comes after Conference USA and the West Coast Conference announced similar initiatives in late May.
The Sun Belt is effectively implementing the idea of flex scheduling into its calendar, and by doing so hoping that the league will earn higher seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Plus, getting a second team under consideration for the NCAAs or the NIT is a major part of the calculus. This change was recently voted into effect at the league’s annual meetings, made rule by Sun Belt presidents and chancellors and with the assistance of conference coaches and athletic directors.
“The Sun Belt plan centers around improving the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship seed of the conference’s automatic qualifier, improving the resume of the best conference teams in order to receive additional bids to the NCAA Tournament and additional postseason opportunities should one of those teams not receive that conference’s automatic qualifier, and also improving the conference tournament format and atmosphere,” the league’s press release states.
Source : https://wdef.com/2018/06/04/the-sun-belt-is-the-latest-to-alter-its-scheduling-in-order-to-enhance-its-ncaa-tournament-chances/