DESTIN, Fla. (5/22/13) - The Sun Belt Conference (SBC) will continue to play a double round-robin schedule in both men’s and women’s basketball per an announcement made this Wednesday (May 22) at its annual Spring Meeting in Destin, Fla.

As a result, each conference-member team will play 18 games (nine home/nine away) starting with the 2013-14 basketball season.

The 2014 Sun Belt Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships will feature the top eight teams from the regular season standings and not the entire membership. Additionally, the men’s tournament for 2014 will be conducted with byes to the quarterfinals for the third and fourth seeded teams, while the first and second seeded teams will receive byes to the semifinals. The 2014 women’s tournament will feature a more traditional eight-team bracket.

“We wanted to give our best teams, based on their performance throughout the regular season, the best chance to advance to the NCAA Tournament,” said Arkansas State University men's basketball head coach John Brady.  “As coaches we feel that this format does that and makes regular season conference play more meaningful. We are interested in doing what is best for the league and advancing the league – this format is a way of doing so.”

“I think the new bracket format for the men’s basketball championship will help to make the regular season a lot more meaningful,” commented Georgia State Men’s Head Coach Ron Hunter. “For us, I think it is the fairest way to do it and rewards the top two teams for having great regular seasons. Extra rest and having to play one or two less games at that time of year can be extremely valuable when it comes to getting to the postseason. Also, I think it will create more to play for the last week of the season, whether it is trying to earn one of those two byes or just getting into the eight-team tournament.”

On the women’s side there was also a decision made regarding the days of regular season conference competition. Effective for the 2013-14 season, women’s basketball teams will play on Wednesday and Saturday for conference games. Exceptions can be made for television, facility conflicts, or a mutual agreement that a change of date is needed. This is a change from the past where women’s basketball games were competed Wednesday or Thursday and Saturday or Sunday.