Following the lead of larger conferences like the Big East, ACC, and Big 12, the Big South announced Thursday that it would change the format of its conference tournament to be held at one centralized location and will expand to accommodate all 12 member schools.
The annual event will now be held at Coastal Carolina’s new 3,200-seat Student Recreation and Convocation Center, the first time it has been consolidated to one site since 2002, eliminating opening-round games at the on-campus venues of member schools.
“Bringing all 23 [12 men’s and 11 women’s] teams to this great destination in the same week will be a tremendous celebration of Big South basketball,” said Big South commissioner Kyle B. Kallander in a statement. “We are grateful for the support from [lead sponsor] VisitMyrtleBeach.com, Coastal Carolina University, and the greater Grand Strand region.”
UNC-Asheville won last year’s tournament, the school’s fourth conference tournament title in history, led by senior guard J.P. Primm, winner of the tournament’s MVP award.
The conference expanded to 12 members this past January, when it was announced that Longwood would be joining as a full-time member for the 2012-13 academic year.
“Our university, residents and local business community looks forward to hosting these outstanding student-athletes, their fans and coaches for a very memorable experience in one of America’s top resort destinations,” said Brad Dean, President & CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Myrtle Beach area is one of America’s premier beach destinations and is quickly emerging as a sports tourism destination, providing a perfect backdrop for March Madness in the Big South.”