UPDATE: It’s now confirmed.
Sources confirm the Ohio Valley Conference will go to 18 conference basketball games in 2017-18 and beyond. No more divisions. More to come.
— Jeff Bidwell (@AKAJeffBidwell) June 5, 2017
The confirmation comes after this mailing was sent out to SIUE ticket holders last week, listing their home opponents for the 2017-18 season. Note the number of OVC teams listed.
— Jonathan Shank (@jonathanshank) June 3, 2017
When asked for clarification, SIUE doubled down.
Yes, 18 game conference schedules this year.
— SIUE Cougars (@SIUECougars) June 5, 2017
We reached out to the OVC on Friday, and have yet to hear back. (But it’s also essentially summer, so I’d bet there’s quite a few vacations happening)
According to WPSD, divisions still play a part in scheduling, similar to how the women’s game has been for a few seasons. For example, SIUE is still hosting the other 5 teams from the West Division this year. They will host those same five teams every year, and four of the six teams from the East.
The OVC Tournament structure will also remain unchanged, with the top two seeds getting a double-bye. The only difference — the No. 2 seed will go to the team with the second-best record, something that all-too-rarely happened in the short divisional era.
Is the move to 18-games good for the league? My initial thought is…probably? If the 18-game schedule is real, then teams essentially have to get rid of two games from previous schedules. They’re not going to get rid of “money games.” But, being guaranteed an additional home game now, would they be willing to play only one lower-division team instead of the two most play? Or would teams play fewer low-majors instead?
Getting rid of divisions? That’s overdue.
I think I’m looking forward to more conference play. What are your thoughts?