America East revamps basketball playoffs

Sports

BOSTON (NEWS10) — The America East announced a revamped format for the 2021 Hercules Tires Men’s and Women’s Basketball Playoffs on Wednesday.

The regular seasons will conclude one week earlier than originally scheduled, following this weekend’s slate of games. Both the UAlbany men and women will conclude their regular seasons against Stony Brook. The men host the Seawolves February 20 and 21, and the women visit the Seawolves February 22 and 23.

Four teams have opted out of the remainder of the season: Vermont, UMBC, and Hartford women, and Maine men. All remaining eligible teams will participate in the playoffs under the following formats.

Men

  • The top two seeds will earn automatic byes into the semifinals.
  • The remaining teams will compete in pods with the #3 and #4 seeds hosting games starting on either Friday, February 26, or Saturday, February 27.
  • The #3, #6, and #7 seeds would play at one pod with the #4, #5, #8, and #9 seeds playing in the other.
  • The field will be re-seeded prior to the semifinals, which will be hosted by the #1 and #2 seeds on Saturday, March 6.
  • The men’s championship game is on Saturday, March 13 at the highest remaining seed and will be carried on ESPN2 at 11 a.m.

Women

  • The format will follow the traditional model with the higher seed hosting games in each round.
  • With seven eligible teams currently, the top seed will receive an automatic bye into the semifinals.
  • The quarterfinals will take place at the #2, #3, and #4 seeds on Sunday, February 28.
  • The field will be re-seeded prior to the semifinals, which will be hosted by the #1 seed and highest remaining seed from the quarterfinals on Sunday, March 7.
  • The women’s championship game will be on Friday, March 12 at the highest remaining seed and will be televised nationally on ESPNU at 5 p.m.

“If this year has taught us anything, it’s the need to be flexible and adapt to new circumstances,” said America East Commissioner, Amy Huchthausen. “Since setting our basketball playoff formats last month, conditions have changed, and we’d be negligent to ignore that fact as we look ahead to the season’s home stretch. Our student-athletes, coaches and support staffs have endured challenging seasons that have included numerous pauses and schedules changes that have been both physically and emotionally demanding. Despite those challenges, we’re extremely proud that almost all of our teams have completed full league schedules to date, which is quite an incredible feat. We believe starting the postseason sooner will energize our teams and create an exciting and competitive three weeks of #AEPlayoffs to cap this unique season. As always, the well-being of our student-athletes is paramount, and we believe the solid regular-season body of work completed by our teams prepares us for the postseason to begin next weekend.”

The men’s matchups will be announced on Sunday, February 21, and the women’s will be announced on Tuesday, February 23.

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