BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference has announced changes to the league’s women’s basketball regular season schedule format, a change in bracketing for the OVC Women’s Basketball Tournament and the elimination of divisions for that sport beginning this season.
“These changes have been made in an effort to both grow and promote women’s basketball, which has a rich tradition in the OVC,” said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. “We were mindful to listen to the recommendations of our coaches while trying to make the best possible experience for our student-athletes.”
Prior to the 2011-12 season the OVC’s women’s basketball slate shifted from the traditional Thursday/Saturday schedule (that saw them play back-to-back games with men’s teams) to a Saturday/Monday schedule. The change was made in order to give women’s basketball teams its own exclusive night of games, help with the development of women’s basketball and to grow its fan base. Beginning this season the schedule is changing to a Wednesday/Saturday format. The recommendation came from the women’s basketball coaches group who preferred to have Sunday as a true off day and believe that Wednesday will be more fan-friendly than Monday night games. The men’s schedule format will remain Thursday/Saturday.
While the women’s basketball schedule is set for Wednesday/Saturday, schools have the ability under the league’s change of schedule policy to shift games to Thursday night so long as there is a balance between which programs play in the prime-time slot.
The bracketing for the OVC Women’s Basketball Tournament is also changing after four years under a merit-based format that gave the top four seeds byes. Beginning with the 2011 OVC Women’s Basketball Championship the bracket gave the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds double byes to the semifinals and the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds single byes to the quarterfinals. Beginning this season the bracket will return to a traditional 1/8, 2/7, 3/6, 4/5 format. The recommendation to change to this format also came from the women’s basketball coaches group in part to allow for all teams to arrive at the tournament site at the same time and allow for an awards recognition event the day prior to the tournament to celebrate OVC women’s basketball and interact with each other.
The schedule for the 2015 Women’s Basketball Championship will see the No. 1 vs. No. 8 and No. 2 vs. No. 7 seeds playing on Wednesday, with the teams winning those games having an off day on Thursday when the first round games continue with No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchups. The semifinals will remain on Friday with the Championship Game still being played on Saturday.
The OVC men’s basketball teams will continue to play in the merit-based format they have played under for the past four years.
In 2011-12 when the OVC expanded to 12 member institutions the league split basketball teams into six-team East and West Divisions for scheduling purposes. While this scheduling process will still be in place, beginning this season the women’s basketball standings will be listed 1-12 to better align with seeding procedures of the women’s basketball championship.
“Through our review we feel that the different seeding format approaches currently meet the needs of our student-athletes in each sport while also keeping the long-term growth in mind.”
The 2015 OVC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship will be held March 4-7 at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.