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More on tournament changes, Barham

Turned into a busy news day with Gonzaga. The WCC has voted to change its tournament format for men's and women's basketball, beginning with the 2014 events. That's the season Pacific joins to make the WCC a 10-team league.

The double-byes for the top two seeds into the semifinals will be scrapped. The top six teams will receive byes into the quarterfinals.

Also, Memphis wing Drew Barham will transfer to Gonzaga, where he'll have two years of eligibility.

More on the tournaments and Barham below.


Here's an unedited article on the WCC Tournament changes ….

 

The double-byes that Gonzaga’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have earned at the West Coast Conference tournaments will go away beginning with the 2014 events.

The WCC voted during conference meetings earlier this month in Coeur d’Alene to scrap the current format when Pacific joins the league in 2013-14. Gonzaga’s men have had a double-bye since the existing format went into place in 2003. The women’s tournament has rewarded the top two seeds with byes into the semifinals since 2009 and the Bulldogs have been seeded No. 1 all four years.

The conference adopted a traditional 10-team format because it believes the WCC can still earn multiple NCAA Tournament berths without protecting the two top seeds with a double-bye.

“No, personally I wasn’t excited (to see the end of the double byes), but at the same time the league is continuing to change and this was determined as the best way to manage it,” Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said.

Under the new format, No. 10 will meet No. 7 and No. 8 will face No. 9 on opening day. The top six seeds will enter in the quarterfinals, but it’s unlikely all eight games (four men, four women) could be played on the same day at the same site. That means the men or women would play quarterfinals while the other takes a day off and they’d reverse roles the following day.

The semifinals would take place on Saturday, followed by another day off (BYU doesn’t play on Sundays). The championship games would be held on Monday.

Next year’s event at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas will retain the current format. The WCC’s agreement with the Orleans expires after 2013. The WCC could negotiate an extension with the Orleans or pursue other venues on the West Coast. The tournaments have enjoyed strong fan support in Las Vegas.

“It’s been a very positive experience, compared to all those years of host sites, but I think the conference is doing its due diligence,” Roth said.

And here's an unedited article on Barham (the 'h' is silent, by the way) …

 

Drew Barham, a 6-foot-7, 197-pound wing who played two years at Memphis, said Friday he will transfer to Gonzaga. He visited GU earlier this week and was also drawing interest from Saint Mary’s and Baylor.

“It’s just a great program and I felt I fit in well with the guys and the coaches,” Barham said. “I think I can help them out and they can help me out.”

Barham, who carries a 3.9 GPA, will graduate in about a week and would be eligible immediately, pending approval of an NCAA waiver, if he enrolls in a graduate program at Gonzaga that’s not offered at Memphis. He would have two years of eligibility remaining.

The Memphis native saw limited time as a Tiger. He redshirted last season. He started 10 games as a sophomore, including a 62-58 win over Gonzaga at the Arena, and averaged 2 points and 1.5 rebounds. He averaged just 4.8 minutes as a freshman.

Barham is regarded as a quality perimeter shooter, though he’s struggled in games (21 of 76 on 3-point attempts). He just finished playing for Athletes in Action on a European tour where his team thumped a Polish squad featuring future Zag Przemek Karnowski.

“Shooting is my strength,” he said. “I love to move without the ball and come off screens. I really worked on my mid-range game and got a ton better this summer. The system Gonzaga runs is pretty much the way I like to play.”


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