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Atlantic 10 expands men’s basketball schedule, conference tournament

The Atlantic 10 is expanding its men’s basketball schedule and its conference tournament.

At the conference meetings in Naples, Fla., the league’s athletic directors voted this week to include all teams in the men’s basketball tournament. All 13 members will advance to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2013. Barring further defection from current members, all 14 teams will play in Brooklyn in 2014. It’s unclear what structure the tournament will use.

Like many leagues around the country, the Atlantic 10 will begin playing 18 conference games in 2014-15, two more than the current 16.

During the 2011-12 season, more of the league’s coaches were resistant to additional conference games because it reduced the number of nonconference games.

An 18-game league schedule would present a different challenge for UMass. The Minutemen are contractually obligated to play four games against Mid-American Conference schools because of UMass’ football agreement with the MAC. With two more league games, the Minutemen would be locked into 22 games per season. Add the annual exempted tournament, which counts for one game, and UMass would have just five games to schedule.

MORGAN TO TEMPLE? — OwlScoop.com is reporting that former Minuteman guard Jesse Morgan, who was officially dismissed from UMass last month for disciplinary reasons, has enrolled in classes at Temple.

Morgan has one year of eligibility remaining, but whether the Philadelphia native is able to use it remains to be seen. He’d need the NCAA to grant him waivers on two issues:

1. NCAA rules require a transfer to sit out a year before becoming eligible. Morgan’s eligibility would be up if he sat out a year.

2. Morgan withdrew from school and was not enrolled in classes for the second semester at UMass. NCAA requires athletes to maintain progress toward their degree each semester. Morgan didn’t do that during the spring.

Morgan averaged 13.4 points per game before tearing knee ligaments in January.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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