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Gonzaga Basketball

WCC adopts 10-team tourney format

Gonzaga Bulldogs (The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs (The Spokesman-Review)

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 conference 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 would 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.

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