The Oklahoman caught up with Big 12 Associate Commissioner John Underwood at the Big 12 basketball tournament in Kansas City. Here’s what Underwood had to say about the week:
Q: Does Thursday seem like an old-school day – old Big Eight days, with eight good teams and six rabid fan bases?
A: “Probably going to be one of the most exciting quarterfinals we’ve had in a long, long time. Sold out. Energetic fans that cheer for their teams and really, really will be competitive games. I think that’s the value of the double round. They’ve scouted. It’ll be good as we go forward. It’s amazing, as you talk to coaches, they all want to win their games, but at the end of the day, the NCAA (Tournament) being able to be rested, start traveling all over the country and hopefully advance.”
We’re several years into the new format of finishing on Saturday. How has that worked?
“It’s been interesting. Our coaches wanted that. ESPN would probably like us to finish on Sunday. lt has not put us at any competitive disadvantage. Even when we finished on Sunday, our teams did a good job in the first and second rounds. But for our two teams to be able to get home Saturday night, rest and then be selected … now, if you play on (Thursday), you’re traveling on Tuesday, you gotta take a day off, so it’s really worked well.”