Busting Brackets

Top 10 moments in Pac-12 tournament history

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With conference tournaments right around the corner, what better time than now to delve into a ‘top 10’ list for everyone’s favorite forgotten about conference, the Pac-12 (formerly knows as the Pac-10). As an East Coast guy, apologies if you’re offend or your team is omitted from this list of top moments. Utah fans, you have no argument despite your impressive run last year as a #10-seed.

So, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

In 1978, the Pacific-8 Conference made possibly the biggest, most important decision it had ever made, adding the Arizona Wildcats (and Arizona State Sun Devils) from the WAC, to create the Pac-10. Over three decades later, in 2010, the conference expanded once again, offering invitations to the Colorado Buffaloes and Utah Utes, bringing us the current day Pac-12 Conference. The Buffs and Utes joined the league before the 2012-13 school year.

The Pac-12 gets a raw deal (read: East Coast bias) and has never really been taken seriously in the college basketball landscape despite UCLA‘s ridiculous 11 national championships, including seven straight from 1967 to 1973. The conference as a whole has the most national titles by any league, ever, with 15, but the overlooking/neglecting of the Pac-12 is a another story for another day.

Most every conference in America has a tournament following the regular season to see who will earn the league’s automatic bid to the Big Dance. The Pac-12, however, had other ideas. UCLA won the tournament in 1987, when the league had a tournament. Three years later, following the 1990 season, the league decided against the conference tournament, citing poor attendance, poor revenue, and opposition from coaches.

Fast-forward to 2000, when a vote was held to determine the future of the conference tournament, and you have the number ten top moment in Pac-12 (then Pac-10) conference history.

10. The Vote (2000)

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In 2000, the Pac-10 and Ivy League were the only two leagues in the country without a postseason conference tournament. Thanks to an 8-2 vote by league athletic directors, the conference tournament was once again in effect. A major conference not having a postseason tournament isn’t good for exposure, and since the West Coast lags behind in the national exposure category, reinstatement of the tournament made all the sense in the world. 

The conference tournament didn’t start again until 2002, with Los Angeles’ Staples Center acting as host. The tournament remained there for 11 years before relocating to the current host city, Las Vegas.