MACON, Ga. - The Atlantic Sun Conference will revamp its basketball tournament format for the 2014 edition of the General Shale A-Sun Basketball Championships.
After six years of playing the entire men’s and women’s tournaments as a joint event at one pre-determined site, the conference will be taking its quarterfinal sessions across the membership. Regular season play will determine hosts for the first round games. The plan for the modified structure then calls for the winning teams, both men and women, to convene for semifinal and championship games at a still to be determined single site.
“This is about engaging our great fans all season long — making them more a part of the regular season race and rewarding them with tournament play in their communities,” said A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “We now have the opportunity to bring our premier event to multiple campuses in the same year, which will be terrific broad promotion of our teams and our basketball at the most exciting time of the year.”
With quarterfinal games on campus, a minimum of four and a maximum of eight schools will host either a men’s or a women’s game in the General Shale A-Sun Basketball Championships.
“This change in championship format is one step in the overall plan to continue the strong and steady growth of A-Sun basketball,” said conference basketball consultant Greg Shaheen. “The A-Sun is building a strong reputation for its achievements in basketball and this is a natural step in bringing the games and the fans together for the best experience possible for everyone involved.”
The conference is already engaged in efforts to secure a top regional facility as the destination for the final rounds. The Atlantic Sun Conference has set multiple conference records for postseason play the past three years, culminated by Florida Gulf Coast University’s historic run to the Sweet Sixteen this year. Mercer’s men won the CIT last year and advanced to the second round of the NIT by knocking off Tennessee this year.
A record four women’s teams participated in postseason this year (Stetson-NCAA; FGCU-WNIT, Mercer-WBI, Northern Kentucky-WBI). Record postseason totals for the past three years include participation by 11 different teams (6 men/5 women), nine different schools, 13 postseason wins, 11 games hosted by A-Sun teams, and 17 separate postseason bids earned by the A-Sun.