Discussion Forum

Small conference hurting themselves

Remember all the hoopla regarding the BIG TEN ending their football season too early? You hear it every year. Then end before Thanksgiving, so they will be away from playing in meaningful games for 6 weeks, thereby giving them a dis-advantage over schools who only have 5 weeks off.

Does that argument have merit?

If so, are the small schools sooting themselves in the foot? The BCS conferences end their tournaments on the weekend of selection Sunday. They will have about 6 days off until the NCAA tournament. It’s not unusual for a team to have an open date in their schedule and have that much time off during the season.

On the other hand, some small conferences have their conference championship games as early as the Sunday BEFORE selection Sunday, causing them to have up to 12 days off for the conference tourny champ, and even more for an at-large bid.

For instance…

Northern Iowa plays UNLV on Thursday the 18th.

  • Northern Iowa won it’s conference tourny on March 7th (11 days)
  • UNLV won it’s conference tourny on March 13th (5 days)

Do you think it makes a difference?

Big Ten football now goes past Thanksgiving.

Do i think it makes a difference? Not really.

The advantage of playing their tournaments early is national TV exposure. If they matched them up with the big boys they’d never get tv coverage of their championships, just wouldn’t be enough time or interest. There’s also something to be said for a nice rest - a team that played 4 games last week would probably be alright with having a few more days off rather than playing tomorrow or Friday, so it can be argued both ways I think.

I’m sure there’s an ideal amount of time that you get the highest performance out of your kids, but who knows what it is for everyone. There’s plenty of ways to keep your team sharp in basketball, it’s not like football where you have to go without real game contact until the actual game.

5 vs 11 days I don’t think is as big a deal as the 30 vs 45 days in football. You typcially see the bowl games where it takes both teams about a a quarter of action to get back into game shape. In fact, some teams play their bowl games and never find it… but 45 days is a long time to go without live action. I think that’s a lot different than 11 days off for hoops.