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West Coast Conference announces changes to tournament format

Portland v Gonzaga

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 02: Guards Gary Bell Jr. (l), Kevin Pangos (c) and Kyle Dranginis (r) of the Gonzaga Bulldogs celebrate their status as 2013 WCC Champions after the game against the Portland Pilots at McCarthey Athletic Center on March 2, 2013 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)

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With the addition of Pacific, the West Coast Conference will have ten members beginning with the 2013-14 campaign. The arrival of the Tigers not only helps from a scheduling standpoint, but it also necessitated a change in the format the WCC uses for its conference tournament.

The WCC announced the changes on Wednesday, with seeds seven through ten playing on the first day of the conference tournament. The 2014 edition of the WCC tournament tips off on March 6 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The schedule for the tournament is as follows:

Thursday, March 6

Noon and 2:00 p.m.: Women’s first round (seeds 7-10)
6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.: Men’s first round (seeds 7-10)

Friday, March 7

Women’s quarterfinals (Noon, 2:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.)

Saturday, March 8

Men’s quarterfinals (Noon, 2:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.)

Monday, March 10

Noon and 2:00 p.m.: Women’s semifinals
6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.: Men’s semifinals

Tuesday, March 11

1:00 p.m.: Women’s final
6:00 p.m.: Men’s final

As has been the case since BYU joined the WCC, there will not be any action on Sunday. As for the schedule itself the biggest change is that the top two seeds no longer receive a bye to the semifinals, which had been the case since 2003.

Could this change lead to a more wide open conference tournament? While the sustained excellence of both Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s must be noted, there’s also the fact that only once since 2003 has the conference tournament been won by a program that wasn’t one of the top two seeds.

San Diego won the 2008 edition of the conference tournament as a three-seed, and they did so within the friendly confines of Jenny Craig Pavilion (their home building).

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.