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SEC coaches move toward single division for men's basketball

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On Tuesday, basketball coaches in the Southeastern Conference recommended that the league scrap the the conference's traditional two-division setup in favor of a single 12-team division. Later this week at the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., athletic directors will decide whether to enact the recommendation.

In recent years, the divisional split has been criticized because of an imbalance between the league's East and West divisions. In the 2010-11 season, all five SEC teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament came from the East.

The change will be felt most in two areas: scheduling and SEC Tournament seeding.

Under the divisional format, each team's 16-game conference schedule is comprised of two games each against intra-divisional opponents and one game against teams from the other division. With a single division, teams will play home-and-home series with both East and West teams.

As for tournament seeding with a single division, the four teams with the overall top records in conference play would receive byes. With two divisions, the top two records from the East and West received byes.

If approved, the switch would take effect during the 2011-12 season. Next season's schedule is already finalized, so the change in scheduling would come until 2012-13. However, byes would be awarded to the four teams with top conference records, regardless of previous divisional alignment, and a single league champion would be crowned.

Calipari told ESPN's Andy Katz that the goals of the proposed changes are to position eight conference teams for NCAA bids while keeping top teams in contention for high seeds and therefore national championships. Calipari also said that 16-, 18- and 22-game league conference schedules were discussed, but that there was not enough time to fully flesh out the topic.

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