Chuck Landon of the Herald-Dispatch came through with some news out of the Spring meetings. The league is shaking things up to try to fight against the mid-major bias in the NCAA tournament that kept out Middle despite their great regular season.
Landon has details in his column on the changes.
The goal is for C-USA’s best teams to play one another in effort to boost the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) of those teams. Those groupings remain in place all season all the way through the conference tournament.
Nick Martin of Deadspin nails the rationale:
That’s what Conference USA is trying to fix. By having its best teams essentially play a mini-tournament before the conference tournament, it is identifying and doing away with games that conferences schedule based on meaningless East-West or North-South divisions; in their place will be a system that emphasizes important, head-to-head matches between its best teams. Teams won’t have to stake their postseason cases—or, anyway, their RPIs—on their sole mid-season encounter with the one other good team in their conference. Instead, they can look forward to three-to-four games against those teams by the time the conference tournament ends