The Horizon League Executive Council approved a revised bracket for the league’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the league’s office announced on Tuesday.
The council made two notable adjustments to the tournament, which is branded as “Motor City Madness.”
The first is that the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place concurrently at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, making it the first time since 1992 that both tournaments will be played on the same court.
The second is that there will no longer be a double bye for the nos. 1 and 2 seeds. Instead, the nos. 1 through 6 seeds will each receive a first-round bye.
The 2017 tournament is scheduled for March 3-7, with the women’s games played before the men’s games each day.
The No. 8 and 9 seeds and No. 7 and 10 seeds face off in the first-round games on March 3. The 8/9 winner will face the No. 1 seed and the 7/10 winner will face the No. 2 seed in the second round on March 4.
The winner of those games will advance to the semifinals and face the winner of the remaining second round games, which will be played on March 5, with games between the No. 4 and 5 seeds and No. 3 and 6 seeds taking place.
The championship game will be played on March 7, with the winners receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Last year, Motor City Madness featured a double bye for the top-two seeds – Oakland and Valpo.
No. 3 seed Wright State’s then-head coach Billy Donlon publicly stood against the format, which forced his team to play four games in a row after losing the No. 2 seed tiebreaker to Oakland.
Donlon’s Raiders lost in the championship game to Green Bay, which also played four games in four days, and he was fired by Wright State after the season ended. He accepted an assistant coaching job at Michigan in May.
The final year at the Joe
The 2016 men’s tournament was played at Joe Louis Arena, after the league partnered with Olympia Entertainment to host it at a neutral venue. It was the first year the league played the tournament at a neutral site since 2002.
The women’s tournament was played at Kress Center in Green Bay, Wisc.
Attendance for the men’s tournament reached nearly 21,000, according to a Detroit Free Press article, with the championship game drawing a crowd of over 4,000.
2017 will be the final year Motor City Madness is played at the Joe before it moves to Little Caesers Arena, which is currently under construction. The arena’s grand opening is set for fall 2017.