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Sports >  EWU basketball

Big Sky Conference announces changes to 2023 basketball tournament including bracket structure, start date

UPDATED: Thu., March 10, 2022

Eastern Washington men's basketball team huddles during a win over Northern Arizona on March 9, 2022, at the Big Sky Conference Tournament quarterfinals in Boise, Idaho.  (Courtesy EWU Athletics)
Eastern Washington men's basketball team huddles during a win over Northern Arizona on March 9, 2022, at the Big Sky Conference Tournament quarterfinals in Boise, Idaho. (Courtesy EWU Athletics)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

BOISE – As Southern Utah wraps up its final season as a member of the Big Sky, the conference announced Thursday it will hold both its postseason basketball tournaments earlier but over a shorter overall timespan, starting next season.

Southern Utah’s departure, which takes effect heading into the 2022-23 season, leaves the Big Sky with 10 teams in men’s and women’s basketball. Under the new format, the championship will run from Saturday to Wednesday, with both men’s and women’s games played on the same days. The 2023 tournaments are scheduled to begin on March 4.

Morning tip-offs will also be eliminated, with the earliest starts at noon local time. The Idaho Central Arena in Boise will continue to host the championships through 2026.

All teams will still participate, but within a different bracket structure. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will earn first-round byes on Saturday, which will feature men’s and women’s first-round games between the No. 9 and No. 10 seeds as well as games between the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds.

Sunday, the No. 1 seed will play either the ninth or 10th seed, while the No. 2 will play the winner of the 7-8 game. The winner of those games will then get Monday off while the remaining seeds settle their quarterfinal matchups: No. 4 vs. No. 5, and No. 3 vs. No. 6.

The semifinals will be Tuesday, with the men’s and women’s championship games held on Wednesday.

The Big Sky has held its basketball championships in Boise since the 2018-19 season.

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