The Sun Belt Conference presidents and chancellors announced changes coming to its men's and women's basketball programs in a press release Monday.
The changes include scheduling, postseason tournament formats and a change in venues for the conference tournament.
Going into full effect at the start of the 2019-20 season, each men’s basketball team will play against a pair of conference opponents during the nonconference portion of their schedules: one home opponent and one away opponent.
The men’s basketball conference will be split into two divisions, east and west, starting in the 2019-20 season as well. The men’s basketball team will play a 20-game conference schedule while the women’s basketball team will continue to play in its non-divisional 18-game format.
Appalachian State University
Coastal Carolina University
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
University of South Alabama
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Arkansas State University
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
University of Louisiana at Monroe
University of Texas at Arlington
Texas State University
Conference tournament changes
A few bracket changes will also be made starting in the 2018-19 season for both men’s and women’s basketball programs. Previously, all 12 teams competed at the conference tournament. Now, the championships will see 10 teams in each bracket, but only eight teams will make it to the Lakefront Arena where the remainder of the tournament will be held. The first two rounds will be played on a campus site.
The New Orleans Smoothie King Center, home of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, will host the semifinal rounds as well as both men’s and women’s championship games of the Sun Belt Conference tournament starting in 2020. Until then, the conference tournament will held at the Lakefront Arena one last time.
According to the conference’s press release, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will host quarterfinal games at home against winners of games from the first and second rounds. The quarterfinal winners will join the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in New Orleans for a “Final Four” experience.