The Vegas 16 Tournament, set to have its well-publicized inaugural edition in Las Vegas just after the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight, will actually be slightly different from its announced format.
The biggest change? There are only eight teams in the field.
When the tournament announced its bracket late Monday, it did so with just half of the field it touted as a possibility, an eight-team contingent of mid-majors well removed from the NCAA Tournament.
"We had originally hoped to launch this new tournament with 16 teams, but only if we could secure top-quality programs," said Brooks Downing, president of bd Global, the tournament organizer. "With highly unusual results in many of the conference tournaments, we were hesitant to just fill out the bracket with `available teams.' So by choosing quality over quantity, we settled on eight teams, many of which were considered for an NIT berth, and all of which have had outstanding seasons they want to celebrate in our event."
Considering that another person involved with the tournament predicted it would be "an absolute home run" in February, a field that counts Louisiana Tech and Oakland as its high-profile teams is perhaps more like a bloop double. But for fans craving more basketball action after the first two weeks of the NCAA Tournament, the eight-team Vegas 16 might still be an interesting watch.
The eight teams will play what would have been the 16-team tournament's quarterfinal rounds on into the final from Monday, March 28 to Wednesday, March 30. There is no formal seeding, but teams playing later in the day on Monday will have more rest, so it's fair to consider Louisiana Tech as the de facto No. 1 seed.
In alphabetical order:
- East Tennessee State
- Louisiana Tech
- Northern Illinois
- Old Dominion
- Tennessee Tech
- UC Santa Barbara
You can see the whole thing here.
Schedule and Results (all times Eastern)
CBS Sports Network will air all seven games of the Vegas 16 Tournament.
Monday, March 28
Game 1: Old Dominion 75, Tennessee Tech 59
Game 2: UC Santa Barbara 70, Northern Illinois 63
Game 3: Oakland 90, Towson 72
Game 4: East Tennessee State 88, Louisiana Tech 83
Tuesday, March 29
Game 5: Old Dominion vs. UC Santa Barbara 8:00 p.m.
Game 6: Oakland vs. East Tennessee State, 11:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 30
Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 10 p.m.