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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WAC proposes top seeds be placed into semifinals

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Western Athletic Conference is studying a proposal that would give its top two seeded men's and women's basketball teams byes into the semifinals of the conference tournament.

The plan, which was discussed at the annual WAC Council spring meetings that concluded yesterday in Phoenix, could be voted on as early as next month by the Board of Directors and enacted in time for the tournament in March in Las Vegas.

Currently the first- and second-seeded teams have first-round byes. But under a proposal that officials say will be put up for discussion by coaches, the top two seeds would not play until the semifinals, according to WAC associate commissioner Jeff Hurd.

The new plan would match seeds No. 5 vs. No. 8 and No. 6 vs. No. 7 in the first round. Then, the winners would play seeds No. 3 and No. 4 in the second round. Those winners would be matched against Nos. 1 and 2 in the semifinals.

Proponents say the proposal gives more value to the regular season standings and helps preserve the top teams' Ratings Percentage Index. In addition, it gives the lower teams an opportunity to pick up a victory by playing low-seeded competition early. Hurd said the West Coast Conference also uses the same format.

If it is favorably received by the WAC coaches in an upcoming conference call, the plan would go to the athletic directors, who could send it on to the Board of Directors next month for approval.