Big East tourney to include all teams

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- The Big East will include all 16 conference members in its postseason basketball tournament beginning in 2009, after leaving four schools out since expanding in 2005-06.

The presidents of the schools made the decision at their annual meeting in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The league's coaches had fought for the inclusion of all the teams since the league expanded to its current size and only 12 were brought to New York for the tournament.

The expansion is for both the men's and women's tournaments.

"Our presidents performed a very thorough review of the tournament format," commissioner Michael Tranghese said. "After extensive deliberation, it was decided that inviting all teams to participate would provide a special opportunity to every men's and women's basketball student-athlete."

The new format will mean adding an extra day to the men's tournament played at Madison Square Garden and the women's which is played at the Hartford Civic Center.

Teams seeded ninth through 16th will meet on the first day. The four winners will advance to play seeds 5 through 8. The top four seeded teams will still receive a bye to the quarterfinals where they will meet the winners of the second day's games.