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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Live from Destin: Update on possible hoops changes

DESTIN, Fla. – Basketball and football coaches are slowly trickling into the main ballroom to meet with the athletics directors. It’s still hard to get a firm grasp on what may happen on the basketball front, as far as changing the division and conference structure.

Before going in, Georgia’s Mark Fox said the basketball coaches, meeting separately Tuesday and Wednesday morning, had a “heated” and “excellent” dialogue.”

“It’ll be really interesting to see what the A.D.’s, after we go upstairs, how they feel,” Fox said. “Because again, what their discussions have been about, I don’t know. We had a lot of discussion about divisions, yes.”

The range of options for the league include eliminating divisions, adding two games to the league schedule, and seeding the tournament according to league finish, and not divisions.

“We did have very active dialogue, the most active dialogue we’ve had since I’ve been in the league, regarding a lot of topics,” Fox said. “But I think the general consensus is the coaches in the league now are genuinely concerned with doing what’s best to help the league. I really felt like all the conversations weren’t selfishly driven, they were motivated by an interest to make the league better.”

The word last year was that Western Division coaches blocked an effort to have the tournament re-seeded, rather than go by division finish. But on Wednesday one Western coach, Trent Johnson, answered “hopefully” when asked if re-seeding the tournament may happen today.

“I said this from Day one, I like the model that the Pac-10 has,” said Johnson, the former Stanford head coach. “You go one through 10 and play each other twice, you have a true champion and you celebrate your overall league champion more than the tournament. But we all know the tournament is money-driven.”

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