Conference tournaments start up in a couple weeks and there's been a couple changes in the coverage of these tournaments, many of them for the better.
The conference has made a shift from a Wednesday-Saturday tournament to Tuesdays on campus (not televised, just like Wednesdays in the old format) and Friday-Sunday in Atlantic City. The quarters will still be regionally televised, but the semifinals will now be televised by CBS College Sports and the championship has moved from ESPN to CBS. A great year for the A-10 will now have a wider audience for its final.
The largest conference tournament with all 16 teams participating, the 1st round games will be televised this year. The afternoon session will be on ESPN2 and the evening session on ESPNU. No other changes as the rest of the games will be on ESPN.
A scheduling change regarding the start time of the 1st round will shuffle the TV partners covering these games. Since the advent of the Big Ten Network, the BTN covered the 12pm and ESPN2 covered the other two games. The conference has moved back the start time of that day to 2:30pm and ESPN2 will cover the 1st two games and the BTN will have a 1st round game in primetime at 7:30pm. Everything else stays the same.
The semifinals, which have shuffled between CBS College Sports and CSS, will air again on CBS College Sports this year. CBSC will continue to have coverage of the semifinals and CBS will remain the broadcaster of the final.
The MWC quarterfinals will be on The mtn. this year and once again will be available in HD, but the 2nd quarterfinal of each session will be simulcast on CBS College. Last year all four quarterfinal games were on both the mtn and CBS College. DirecTV subscribers should expect to be without Versus when this championship airs, so if you want to see it, make other plans.
Because of USC's self-imposed postseason ban, the 1st round will instead be a single game. The conference and FSN have set the start time of that game as 11pm Eastern.
As part of a new TV deal with CBS College Sports, one of the quarterfinal games will air live on March 3rd and one semifinal will air on March 8th. The final remains on ESPN2.
The conference tournament dates haven't changed, but now that ESPN is the primary rights holder for SEC basketball, they'll show the games on their networks. ESPN Regional Television's SEC Network will air the first round and quarterfinals, playing the role that Jefferson Pilot/Raycom Sports used to hold. Instead of regional syndication for the semifinals and a final on CBS, ABC will air its only college basketball games of the year with these three games.
A byproduct of the move of the Atlantic 10 final to CBS, the Southland will now finish its tournament on Saturday on ESPN2 instead of its traditional Sunday slot.
Also because of the Atlantic 10 championship move, the time slots for the MAC and Big West championships changed. The MAC moved up to a 6pm timeslot and the Big West now moves pre-midnight to 8pm.