Two big decisions regarding the futures of two conference schedules were made at the IMLCA Convention and reported by Matt Kinnear of Inside Lacrosse.
First, the Patriot League coaches decided to move their league tournament back a week to the first weekend in May, which eight other conferences have. That unanimous decision is pending league approval.
Second, the ACC also decided to extend their conference tournament to two weeks. How would that work?
The fourth and fifth place teams in the conference will meet on the Thursday after the end of the regular season. The winner of that game, along with the three higher seeds, will play at a predetermined site in the semifinals on Saturday. Next year is scheduled to be in North Carolina, with Notre Dame and Syracuse somewhere along the road.
On the following Saturday, the two semifinal winners would play at the site of the higher seed on the first weekend in May.
Instead of trying to get another team to join the ACC and get their automatic qualifier back, the coaches instead to extend their conference tournament an extra week. This makes no sense.
The norm for the other nine conferences is to have their conference tournaments either on a Thursday-Saturday schedule or a Friday-Sunday slate. The ACC has done the latter of those choices for the last few years. Pretty much every team has to play two games in three days, and there’s rarely been complaining, except for maybe the ACC.
The ACC is giving the two winners an extra week to prepare, and we have no clue what will happen to the other three teams when the championship is held. What was wrong with the old system? Did it actually tire out players? I see conference championship tournaments as a test run for the NCAA Tournament. Just like the big dance, teams have the chance to play two games in three days. Wouldn’t you want to test that endurance on your players?
Even for me as a Syracuse manager and for coaches, it’s a way to keep coaches on their toes and testing them to see how they can prepare for an opponent in less than 48 hours, maybe even less than 36. From personal experience on my side, I’d be uploading our game film and scout film of our opponent to our video breakdown site and making sure it was ready for early in the morning for coaches and players to look at. I also had to get the team a room to watch film for the morning. It was stressful, but also fun and put myself in the spotlight for those short hours.
I don’t see any merit in extending the conference tournament to two weeks except giving everybody rest and time to prepare. I’m hoping it doesn’t last long.