WCC Basketball Tournament: Women No. 2 Seed, Earn Triple Bye; Men Ninth, Play Thursday

Senior Alex Floresca drives the ball down court. USD's men's basketball team plays LMU in the WCC Tournament opener Thursday.The USD women's basketball team has plenty to celebrate. The team is seeded No. 2 in the WCC Tournament and earned a triple bye, meaning it won't play until March 9.

The West Coast Conference Men and Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament runs from March 5-10 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. But for the University of San Diego basketball teams there will be two very different pathways to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the tournament and entering the NCAA Tournament.

The men’s basketball team’s tournament journey will begin right away on Thursday night at 6 p.m. when the Toreros, seeded ninth of the 10 teams, opposes eighth-seeded Loyola Marymount.

The women’s basketball team, on the other hand, clinched second place in the WCC standings last week and as a result is the tournament’s No. 2 seed. They’ve clinched a triple bye, which takes them all the way into the WCC Tournament semifinal round. The Toreros (19-10 overall, 13-5 in the WCC regular season) have to wait through three rounds of games, Thursday through Saturday and a tournament off day Sunday, before playing their first game on Monday, March 9, at 2 p.m. The other team with a triple bye is No. 1 Gonzaga.

Given the bracket side they’re on, the USD women’s team could ultimately face BYU, Pepperdine, Saint Mary’s or Loyola Marymount in a semifinal. BYU has a double bye and Pepperdine has a single bye. Saint Mary’s and LMU meet in Thursday’s first-round game. But all USD needs to do is win their semifinal to reach the WCC Tournament title game on Tuesday, March 10 at 1 p.m. The title game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Due to the regular-season results of both men’s teams — San Diego enters the tournament with a 9-22 overall record (2-14 WCC), while LMU is 10-20, 4-12 — they have, along with No. 7 Santa Clara and No. 10 Portland, the toughest road to play for the WCC Tournament title and the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. If one of these teams reaches the March 10 title game, they will have played five games in four days just to get there.

The USD men’s path to what would be an incredible run goes like this: USD-LMU, Thursday, 6 p.m.; Thursday’s winner plays No. 5 San Francisco Friday at 6 p.m.; Friday’s winner plays No. 4 Pacific at 7 p.m. on Saturday; Saturday’s winner plays No. 1 Gonzaga in a semifinal game Monday, March 9, at 6 p.m.; The men’s title game will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m. and televised on ESPN.

For more information about the USD teams heading into the WCC Tournament, please visit the women’s basketball and men’s basketball websites as well as the West Coast Conference website.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone


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