Updated Jan. 28 at 11:35 a.m.
After months of searching for a new event to generate excitement surrounding Big 5 basketball, Philadelphia programs have agreed to a new format for the 2023-24 season.
The City 6 schools, which are comprised of Temple University, Drexel University, Villanova University, La Salle University, Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Pennsylvania, will be split into two three-team pods, The Athletic reported.
The pods will play each other early in the season, with the winners of each pod playing in a championship game at the Wells Fargo Center on the first Saturday of December. There will also be third and fifth place games based on the team’s record in their pod.
“Wasn’t a lot of discussion amongst the coaches,” La Salle Men’s Basketball head coach Fran Dunphy told The Temple News. “I’m willing to take a look and see how these next two years come out and see if it’s a home run for everybody. We have quite an institution and I’ve always been a guy who wants to try new things.”
During the 2022 Big 5 doubleheader, the more than 8,7000-seat Palestra had poor attendance at both games, and the newest version will take place at the 19,500-seat Wells Fargo Center.
However, this format opens up at least one more out-of-conference contest for the Owls during the season, given they will not play every City 6 school.
“Basketball is ingrained into the fabric of the city,” said Temple Athletics in a Twitter statement on Friday. “However, no decision has been finalized and conversations are ongoing. All institutions involved are committed to building upon the traditions of Big 5 men’s and women’s basketball.”
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