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Summit League basketball tournament to expand to include all 10 teams starting in 2023

Tournament will now move to five days and run from Friday to Tuesday in Sioux Falls

Summit Championship3.JPG
The University of South Dakota women's basketball team celebrates winning the 2020 Summit League conference tournament championship on March 10, 2020 at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic

SIOUX FALLS – The Summit League basketball tournament will expand to 10 teams starting with the 2023 event, league officials announced Thursday.

With the addition of two more teams, the tournament will have an extra day of game play and be conducted over the course of five days. The 2023 championships are scheduled for March 3-7, 2023 at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

The first round of games, which will be played on a Friday, will feature men’s and women’s matchups between the No. 7 and No. 10 seeds and No. 8 and No. 9 seeds.

The winners of those games will play in a quarterfinal contest on Saturday with the No. 7/No. 10 winner advancing to play the No. 2 seed and No. 8/No. 9 winner advancing to play the top seed in their respective brackets.

The tournaments will continue with the remaining quarterfinal games pitting the No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed and No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed on Sunday, followed by men’s and women’s semifinals on Monday. Both the men’s and women’s championship games will remain on Tuesday.

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Denny Sanford Premier Center - 2016
A general view of the Denny Sanford Premier Center on March 8, 2016.
Steven Branscombe / USA TODAY Sports

In previous years, only the top eight teams qualified for the event, but now all 10 teams, including the league’s newest member, the University of St. Thomas, will make up the men’s and women’s fields.

The Summit League was among a minority group of schools in Division I college basketball that was not taking all of its teams to the conference tournament. A Mitchell Republic analysis of conference tournament formats showed nine of the nation’s 32 Division I conferences, including the Summit, take fewer than their entire conference’s teams to their league’s postseason tournament.

St. Thomas must complete the five-year Division I transition period to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament. The earliest the Tommies could qualify is in 2026. If the Tommies were to win either the men’s or women’s tournament from 2023-25, then the regular season champion or highest-finishing team besides St. Thomas in the regular season standings would earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Tickets to the 2023 championship will go on sale Tuesday, March 29 at 10 a.m. online and at the Premier Center box office and at ticketmaster.com. The 2023 all-session tickets begin at $120 per ticket.

Single-session tickets for the 2022 tournament slated for March 5-8 in Sioux Falls will go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. CT.

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