WAC tournament gets a makeover

The WAC tournament moves to a neutral site next year, joining the Mountain West Conference and West Coast Conference as the leagues that will crown a champion amidst the neon lights of Las Vegas.

The tournament format will change as well, with the top two seeds earning a double-bye into the semifinal round, according to a report in the Idaho Statesman.

The format change was first requested by new Boise State coach Leon Rice in a meeting of the conference's head coaches. [Associate commissioner Jeff] Hurd said the coaches supported the new format because it adds meaning to the regular season.

Under the format, the tournament will start Wednesday with two men's and two women's games pitting the No. 5 seed against No. 8 and No. 6 vs. No. 7.

The winners of those games would advanced to play the No. 4 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, on Thursday. The winners of those games then advance to Friday's semifinals against the top two seeds.

That Rice, the former Gonzaga assistant, would propose the format change makes sense given the WCC uses the same format to reward its top teams.

So Utah State given its recent dominance should be happy with this as should those who want more intrigue during conference play. Because in the new format, the difference between finishing second and third as well as fourth and fifth is a big one.