DAY 9 (Aug. 9): Cougar hoops hosts inaugural PacWest championship tournament
While the first-ever Pacific West basketball championship tournament may not feature the Cougars (ineligible for postseason play), Azusa Pacific will still play a huge role in the conference’s inaugural postseason tournament in March of 2013. The Felix Event Center, home to the Cougars’ men’s and women’s basketball teams, has been selected to host the six-team event, with the winner of the men’s and women’s tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The PacWest has seen its membership spike from nine schools at the end of the 2011 athletics season to 14 in 2012, making it the largest NCAA Division II conference in the West Region, but has not previously held a tournament to determine its automatic qualifier for the NCAA championships. Last year Dixie State won the regular season crown to receive the PacWest’s automatic bid before falling to Seattle Pacific in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The PacWest tournament will be held during the second week of March, with the conference’s top two seeds earning first round byes. The championship games are slated for Saturday March 16th.
And while postseason tournaments may be new for the PacWest, it’s old hat for the Cougars. Azusa Pacific was the first Golden State Athletic Conference school to host the league’s postseason tournament and has played host to the GSAC tournament four times in the past decade, most recently in 2011 (women’s).
Point Loma will host the second PacWest tournament in 2014 with the following year’s venue still to be determined. Point Loma, Azusa Pacific, Fresno Pacific, Holy Names, and California Baptist will begin participating in the tournament after completing the full three-year NCAA membership process.