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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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"I believe it will happen" -- American Athletic Conference considering going to a 20-game conference schedule
POSTED: September 13, 2020 -- 10:25 p.m. CT
September 10, Jon Rothstein, from CBS Sports, reported the American Athletic Conference was "considering going to a 20-game, double round-robin league schedule during the 20-21 college basketball season".
Sources: The American Athletic Conference (AAC) is considering going to a 20-game, double round-robin format during the upcoming season. League currently plays 18 conference games.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 10, 2020
As Rothstein reported, the move to 20 conference games makes sense because, now that the AAC has 11 members, a true double round-robin is created where every member plays the other member schools twice.
Currently, AAC men's basketball teams play 18 conference games.
The two additional conference games for the AAC men's teams could be beneficial for the AAC's NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) metrics -- assuming, of course, AAC member schools are not having a down season -- which could result in more AAC teams earning at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament.
I contacted a few sources regarding the 20-game conference idea; and, one source told me: "I believe it will happen."
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Next, I asked if the 20-game conference schedule was just for this season or would the AAC adopt this as the plan going forward.
One source told me, "I think it's only for this season because of the loss of games some of us may face (due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
A second source said the 20-game conference schedule would be adopted "going forward" beyond the 2020-'21 season.
Adopting a 20-game conference schedule beyond the upcoming season could provide additional content for the AAC's new channel on ESPN+.
A final decision from the AAC is expected once the NCAA Division I Council announces the start date to the 2020-'21 season. The NCAA DI Council is meeting this Wednesday, September 16.
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