STOCKTON, Calif. — BYU is no longer the new kid on the West Coast Conference block.
The University of the Pacific joined the WCC this season, giving the conference an even 10 teams. The Cougars, who joined the WCC for the 2011-12 season, played at Pacific Thursday for the first time as members of the WCC.
It marked BYU’s first visit to Pacific since 1975, when the Cougars defeated the Tigers, 89-62.
Pacific's 6,150-seat Spanos Center, which opened in 1981, is the second-largest basketball venue in the WCC, only behind BYU’s 20,951-seat Marriott Center.
Aside from the return of travel partners for the league, the impact of Pacific joining the WCC includes the change in the format of the WCC tournament, which tips off on March 6 in Las Vegas.
Under the new format, the top six seeds in the tournament receive a bye out of the first round.
Actually, this isn’t the first time Pacific has been a member of the WCC. Pacific was a founding member of the California Basketball Association, which later became the WCC, in 1952-53. The Tigers left the WCC in 1971.
NEW TIPOFF TIME FOR BYU-GONZAGA: ESPN announced Thursday that the BYU-Gonzaga game at the Marriott Center on Feb. 20 has been moved to 9 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The tipoff time was changed to accommodate the Duke-North Carolina game, which was scheduled for Feb. 12, but was postponed due to inclement weather.