The WCC has a weird NCAAM Conference Tournament structure
It is almost March Madness time! The excitement of college basketball fans is nearing its peak as it looks like this year’s tournament has the ingredients to be fantastic entertainment. However, before I fully get into March Madness mode, there is an important thing that happens between the end of the season and the NCAA Tournament: the 32 different conference tournaments. These conference tournaments are extremely important, but they are also pretty diverse as the WCC tournament is completely different than the Pac-12 or Big 12 Tournament.
Most conference tournaments have around 8-14 teams in a tournament. Also, a lot of tournaments usually give their top 4-6 teams a first-round bye, which depends on how many teams are in their tournament. However, the West Coast Conference truly does things differently.
Below is a video explaining the tournament structure.
The WCC Tournament is different because it gives its top two seeds byes in three of the tournament’s five total rounds. This means the first and second seeds just have to win one game and they are automatically in the championship. On the contrary, the lowest two seeds in the WCC tournament would have to win four games to make the tournament championship.
Clearly, the WCC tournament favors the top teams so much so that it would be insanity if both the one and two seeds were not in the championship game. However, it makes sense as Karl Heiser explained in the video, conferences get money for winning March Madness games. Therefore, a conference wants its best teams to go to the big dance.
More on the WCC and other different conference tournaments
The WCC has been run by the Gonzaga Bulldogs for over the past twenty years. In fact, Gonzaga has been a part of every WCC championship since 1998, winning 19 of those games. This is most likely the case again this year except St. Mary’s is truly a force to be reckoned. They are currently ranked No. 17 in the AP top 25 poll and they split the regular season series with Gonzaga.
The WCC tournament is not alone as there are similar conference tournaments with weird layouts. The Southland Conference and Ohio Valley Conference have the same structure as the WCC. Although, those conference tournaments are only with eight teams not the WCC’s 10 and they are significantly less popular, so they are not covered nearly as much.
Another interesting tournament layout is the Ivy League, which only has four teams in its tournament by far the smallest amount teams of all the conference tournaments.
Ultimately, these conference tournaments are the conclusion of the regular season for all college basketball teams. It is also their last chance to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament. It will be interesting to see how these conference tournaments play out and what teams will become champions, specifically in the unorthodox WCC.
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The tournament is a joke! Gonzaga is such a privileged program. They can just rest and coast all throughout conference play. Play a tired team to get to the championship. Their only threat is St Mary’s who has an equally easy ride.