C-USA trims hoops tourneys to 8 teams

C-USA trims hoops tourneys to 8 teams
University of Southern Mississippi men's basketball coach Jay Ladner (left) said he understood the thought process behind Conference USA trimming its men's and women's basketball tournaments to eight teams from 12 teams. (Source: WLOX)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ Cost-control measures spawned by the financial damper of the coronavirus pandemic will make it tougher for men’s and women’s basketball team the conference’s postseason tournament.

The one-year measure, approved this this week during C-USA's spring meetings, will snip the tourney brocket from 12 teams to eight teams.

“I see this as a temporary move as a result of the COVID pandemic,” USM coach Jay Ladner said. “All sports are affected and are having to make sacrifices.”

Other cost-cutting measures would trim the number of regular-season conference games.

Ladner said he expected the tourney field to return to 12 teams for the 2021-22 postseason.

“I can state there is a positive spirit to get back to 12 or even 14 teams as early as next season, as the pandemic allows, which is very encouraging,” Ladner said.

The league’s board of directors, which is comprised of each institution’s president, also sent the conference postseason back to school for the next three years.

The 2021 tournament was granted to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La.; 2022 will be hosted by USM at Pete Taylor Park and Rice University’s Reckling Park.

It will mark the first time since 2016 that the baseball tournament has been played at a campus site. The tournament was at MGM Park in Biloxi from 2017-19. It was scheduled for the venue against this spring before the season was suspended then cancelled by the pandemic.

USM will be hosting the tourney postseason for the seventh time and the first since the dramatic, walk-off “8-6-3-2" relay in the ninth inning sealed a 3-2 Golden Eagles’ win in the championship game.

Rice will be hosting for the third time, while Louisiana Tech will play host for the first time.

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