No. 39: West Coast Conference Tournament (D1 Mens Basketball)
Number 39 on our College Sports Bucket List takes us west to Las Vegas for one of the most competitive tournaments in all of college basketball.
The WCC has recently become one of the nation’s best mid-major conferences. St. Mary’s and Gonzaga have both had significant NCAA tournament runs, and are now March Madness regulars. With the recent addition of BYU, the WCC has only made their conference better.
The last decade and a half, the WCC has been practically owned by Gonzaga. They’ve made the championship game every year since 1997. That’s 15 years of domination for Bulldog nation. They’ve pretty much single handedly put the WCC on the map.
Gonzaga and St. Mary’s is one of the nation’s newest bitter rivalries. These two teams have met in the WCC championship game the last 4 years. Together they have grown as two of college basketball’s best mid-major programs.
The rivalry between these two schools has made the WCC tournament one of the best in the country. First off, the two fan bases show up to Vegas in large numbers. Gonzaga and St. Marys’ fans are all over Vegas for the weekend. They pack the Orleans Arena and make an explosive atmosphere.
Last year’s 2012 WCC final was one of the most memorable games in WCC history. In a roudy atmosphere, the two rivals got very chippy as the close game got near the end. The game heading in to overtime, where a small fight almost broke out after a collision on the court. St. Marys’ ended up making some clutch plays down the stretch to win the game 78-74.
The WCC conference tournament is one on the rise that has been dominated by two mid-major powers. With BYU, a third power coming to the party, it will only get better in the future.
Add in the fact that this is a tournament played in LAS VEGAS and you have the makings for a must see college sporting event.