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Big Ten won’t expand conference basketball schedules and plans 15-team tournament for next year

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — The Big Ten plans to stick with a 20-game conference schedule for men’s basketball and an 18-game schedule for women’s basketball when the league expands to 18 teams next year.

The league also announced Tuesday that 15 of the 18 members will qualify for the Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball tournaments once Southern California, UCLA, Oregon and Washington arrive from the Pac-12. The Big Ten currently allows all 14 of its members to participate in the conference tournaments.

The Big Ten announced the 15-team tournament would maintain the event’s current five-day schedule. The new format also will have the top four seeds earning a double bye and the fifth through ninth seeds earning a single bye.

Big Ten officials said the conference regular-season schedules were remaining at 20 for the men and 18 for the women in part to allow for non-conference scheduling flexibility and to remain consistent with the schedule formats of peer conferences. The league plans to consider competitive balance, geography and traditional rivalries in determining which opponents a team will face twice in a season.


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