Details Of SEC Men's Basketball

In the days of a 10-team Southeastern Conference, the league had the perfect way to choose its champion. Every team played every other team home and away, a total of 18 games. Of course, in the interest of money, the conference tacked on a tournament and made the tournament champion the automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament, but the regular season winner as the SEC champion.

Now the SEC has 14 teams and guess how many conference games each team is going to play? The same 18 that were played when there were four fewer teams.

Here's the deal: although a 26-game schedule would be perfect for deciding the SEC champion, it would not be perfect for allowing teams to play meaningful non-conference games (or non-conference games that were easy wins) or tournaments. The wiggle room would be only about four games, including tournament contests.

The SEC has announced a men's basketball scheduling model for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons and a 14-team conference tournament bracket. The scheduling model and brackets were approved last week by the SEC presidents, athletics directors, and coaches at the league's annual meetings in Destin, Fla.

The league's 14 members will play an 18-game schedule that features at least one game against each conference opponent. Teams will play one permanent rival, four rotating opponents that will played home-and-home each season, and eight teams that will be played once each year (four at home and four on the road). Each school will play its permanent rival home and away each season.

Over the course of the three years in the current model, each school will play its permanent rival six times and each other team four times.

As had been previously revealed, Alabama's permanent rival is Auburn. Other permanent rivals in men's basketball are:

Arkansas-Missouri, Florida-Kentucky, Georgia-South Carolina, LSU-Texas-A&M, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Tennessee-Vanderbilt.

The 2013 men's basketball schedule will be announced in August.

The men's basketball tournament has expanded to include all 14 teams and will be seeded 1-14. The tournament will begin on Wednesday with matchups between the No. 11 and No. 14 seeds and the No. 12 and No. 13 seeds. The winners will advance to meet the sixth and fifth seeds, respectively, on Thursday. Also playing on Thursday with be the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds and the No. 7 and No. 10 seeds. The top four seeds in the tournament will receive byes until Friday's quarterfinal round.

The 2013 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament will be played March 13-17 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

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