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Time to break tradition


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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Bryan Rosenbaum

By Bryan Rosenbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 24, 2000
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The reason why the Pacific 10 should start a conference tournament at the end of the season is not to give the middle-of-the-pack teams one last hope to make the field of 64 for the NCAA tournament.

Teams like ASU, Oregon State and California can't consistently prove themselves during the regular season, so what makes them think they can knock off Arizona, Stanford and UCLA in one weekend?

The Pac-10 should break tradition and start a tournament for two reasons - prepare its teams for the NCAA tournament and increase the Pac-10's national exposure.

What do East Tennessee State, Santa Clara, Miami of Ohio and Oklahoma all have in common? They were fresh off their respective conference tournaments and knocked Arizona out in the first round.

Pac-10 teams get a deer-in-the-headlights look about them when the first weekend of the NCAA's come around, while their opponents are already in the thick of tournament season.

Also, the Pac-10 will receive better exposure on the national level, something it badly needs.

Aside from Arizona, Stanford and UCLA, hardly anybody outside the Pac-10 pays any attention to the rest of the conference. Notre Dame, Seton Hall and North Carolina State are bubble teams but get the benefit of the doubt when it comes down to the final selections because they have been on television so much recently.

Studio analysts refuse to give the Pac-10 any recognition because they don't know anything about Oregon and USC compared to Big East, Big Ten and ACC teams.

And when they are on TV, Pac-10 games are on too late for most viewers.

I'd rather watch Detroit-Mercy play Wisconsin-Green Bay on ESPN2 than watch Stanford and UCLA on Fox Sports with George Ravelling doing commentary.

Just imagine a Pac-10 tournament in Phoenix, Seattle or Los Angeles. It would be great for the fans, the conference and its teams. And it might help lead them to national success later.

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