Division I Tournament to Be Expanded to a 26-Team Field

The NCAA plans to expand the Division I championship field from 16 to 26 teams beginning in 2013, with half of the berths being filled by conference automatic qualification. The remaining 13 berths would be at-large, determined as they are now, but the current system of play-in games would be eliminated.

The conferences that would have automatic qualifiers are the ACC, ALC, America East, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big South, Colonial (CAA), Ivy League, MAAC, MPSF, NLC, Northeast, and Patriot League.

The top 8 seeds for the tournament will host the first two rounds. Twenty teams will play in the first round, with the top 6 teams receiving a bye, leaving a standard 16-team bracket to start the second round.

Tentative dates for the tournament are as follows. First and second rounds: May 10 and 12. Quarterfinals: May 18 or 19. Semifinals and championship: May 24 and 26.

The NCAA has also recommended increasing the number of regions from the current four to five to provide more flexibility in determining tournament match-ups.

2012-08-16



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