MYRTLE BEACH — The Big South Conference will introduce a new format for the 2012-13 men’s basketball season with the creation of two six-team divisions.
Coastal Carolina will be grouped with the other South Carolina schools (Charleston Southern, Presbyterian and Winthrop) along with Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville, while the other division will include the four Virginia schools (Liberty, VMI, Radford and Longwood) along with High Point and Campbell.
The divisions will be named at some point this summer, and the top two teams in each division will receive first-round byes in the conference tournament.
“What we’ve tried to do is develop the divisions in a geographically-responsible manner, that way we are keeping travel as short as possible, we’re keeping rivalries together and we’re doing it in a way that makes sense and can be easily understood by the public as well,” Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander said.
The Big South will move from an 18-game conference schedule to a 16-game league slate, with each team playing its other division foes two times and playing teams from the other division once each – with the host sites alternating each season. Games will be played on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“What the coaches wanted to do was to keep a truly equitable schedule,” Kallander said. “... We talked about going to 18 games potentially, but what that would mean is you’d be playing two teams in the other division two times and everybody else just once.”
The league grows to 12 teams this coming season due to the addition of Longwood.
The conference’s women’s basketball teams, meanwhile, will play an unbalanced 18-game schedule with each school playing eight teams twice and two teams once. Games will be played on Thursdays and Saturdays. The five teams in the final regular-season standings will earn a bye into the Big South quarterfinals.
In 2013-14, the women’s schedule will move to a 20-game double round-robin slate.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.