Big East restructures to one division

Posted: November 16, 2004

The Big East will be one 16-team division in 2005-06, and only 12 schools will participate in the postseason basketball tournament.

The league announced the new structure yesterday, and it takes effect following the addition in 2005 of five schools from Conference USA and Boston College's departure for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Miami and Virginia Tech left for the ACC this academic year, leaving the Big East with 12 schools. Louisville, Cincinnati, De Paul, Marquette and South Florida make the move from Conference USA to make it 16 schools.

The schools still will play a 16-game regular-season schedule with 13 opponents and three repeat matchups. The league office will decide the repeat matchups and it will be based on television, rivalries and geography.

The 12 schools in the postseason conference tournament will be the same number as the current setup.

The only other conference to have 16 members was the Western Athletic Conference from 1996-98. The biggest current league is Conference USA with 14 members.

Each women's team will play all 15 other schools once, with one repeat matchup.

Noteworthy

* Illinois coach Bruce Weber underwent an appendectomy, but is expected back at work in time for the team's season opener Friday against Delaware State.

* An appeals court in Cincinnati rejected an antitrust suit by sports promoters seeking to lift restrictions on Division I teams' tournament appearances. The NCAA limits teams to two preseason tournaments in 4 years.

* Penn State women's coach Rene Portland remained hospitalized, a day after a fainting episode.

In a game last night:

* At Wake Forest, Chris Paul had 25 points and six assists to lift the No. 2 Demon Deacons past George Washington, 97-76, in the Preseason NIT. *

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