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John Calipari is a men’s basketball coach for a university located in Lexington, Kentucky, aptly named the University of Kentucky. You may have heard of it. They play OVC teams from time to time, just not that one.

He has an idea for what to do with conference tournaments, especially for those of you who hate that a team that gets hot and wins four games in four days should go to the NCAA Tournament instead of the team that lost half the number of regular season conference games.

The idea: move the conference tournaments to November, and just give the auto-bid to the team that wins the regular season.

Calipari floated the idea for the SEC, (who appear to be politely saying no thanks) and then doubled-down on twitter.

Let’s, um, ignore that part. And let’s ignore the reality of the situation, that no conference would willingly move or get rid of one of the most (read: only) high-profile and profitable events of the season.

John Calipari may be onto something…but not for the SEC, or other Big-5 conferences. They already have plenty of high-profile events.

no conference would willingly move or get rid of one of the most (read: only) high-profile and profitable events of the season

But for most smaller schools, the college basketball season starts with a dud: long road trips, double-digit point deficits by halftime, or hosting schools who you can’t find on the map, because they’re not actually on it. At most of these schools, the basketball season is at best a footnote until college football ends, and at worst completely off-the-radar until the season’s basically over.

The current crop of “tournaments” only makes the situation worse: Some are structured so that only certain pre-determined teams can make the televised ‘finals,’ while others feature uninteresting matchups, 11:00 a.m. tips and webstreams that make the OVC Digital Network look like ESPN. For teams, these November and December tournaments provide much-needed experience, but they all but completely ignore the fans the game is made for.

Why not put all 12 OVC teams in Nashville, (or Lexington, Louisville, St. Louis or Evansville) — guarantee teams two games each, put it on the ‘Digi, and even better, maybe even get some fans in the door. The games (at least some of them) would be competitive, fans would get an early look at the best teams in the conference, and when OVC started for real, there’d already be storylines that could increase interest even more.

these November and December tournaments provide much-needed experience, but they all but completely ignore the fans

Is that not better for the fans? Teams could still keep their non-Division I home games, (despite my constant despise) they could still schedule the Tennessee’s, Memphis’, and for 11 teams, the Kentucky’s of the world. The trade-off? You’d miss some random radio guy masterfully mispronounce Matt McMahon’s name, again, while sending tweets to unmanned twitter accounts asking if they realize that Eastern Illinois is the team in blue, not red and black.

What? Is that just me?

As I said earlier, there’s no reason to believe that the OVC, or any other conference in Division I college basketball, would move their conference tournament from March to November. But…why not just add a second tournament, anyway? More games against teams I know, have heard of, and often care about can’t be a bad thing.

And hey, it’s another opportunity to see OVC refs in acti…on second thought, that might not be an argument in my favor…


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  1. Nick Alexander:
    You almost had me, till you started to say one word....
  2. Matt:
    You've got to be joking. This is a terrible idea
    • Catlin Bogard:
      Why? I really do think it would be a better way to start the season. I would care about a game that's played before Jan. 1
  3. Kenneth Henley:
    If the NCAA said no to a November tournament or non-conference regular season games between OVC schools then schedule home and home matchups with other mid-major conferences.Instead of "buy games" play Oral Roberts,Fairfield or Navy instead of road games against Kentucky,Duke or Kansas where you hope your school can keep the final margin under 40. Or this:Non-D1 schools play 2 day November tournaments where you have pre-determined opponents,i.e. Austin Peay hosts a 2 day tournament with Belmont serving as the co-host.The opponents come from SoCon,Big South,C-USA or other conferences.There is no tournament winner or loser you just play 2 games.A local D2 school in my area plays this format against a Florida conference to start the season off with. As for the OVC November tournament have East vs West matchups over the course of two days at a place like the Bridgestone Arena or maybe BanCorpSouth Arena in Tupelo,Mississippi where everyone gets a single game but the whole conference is showcased.
    • Catlin Bogard:
      I love this idea. It'd be hard to do (a lot of coordination between conferences) but would be a great way to kick off the CBB season.
OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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