Inaugural PacWest basketball tournaments set for March 7-9 at Azusa Pacific

Los Angeles AZUSA, Calif. – A dozen Pacific West Conference men’s and women’s basketball teams will converge on Azusa Pacific University March 7-9 to compete for a pair of league championships.

The first PacWest men’s and women’s basketball tournaments since the conference reformed in its current configuration for the 2006-07 athletic season will be held inside the 3,500-seat Felix Event Center starting Thursday afternoon, March 7, when the women’s six-team bracket tips off.

“This will be a milestone event for the PacWest and its member schools,” Commissioner Bob Hogue explained. “The tournament will be the culmination of a vision and a lot of hard work by many people. The tournament will bring an outstanding brand of basketball from an eclectic mix of colleges and universities to the Greater Los Angeles area. What better location to start this historic event than in Southern California.”

Azusa Pacific and the PacWest jointly are spearheading a drive to bring youth sports teams and groups to the tournament at no charge.

“Any youth sports teams or youth organizations that would like to attend the tournament may do so at no cost,” Hogue explained. “Coaches of the teams or leaders of the youth organizations will be admitted free. Parents of the players or members of these organizations will be admitted at half-price.”

Coaches and youth organization leaders (such as Boy and Girl Scouts, church youth groups, public, private and charter school classes, Little League, etc.) may register their groups by contacting Tom Di Camillo, the assistant commissioner for media relations, by e-mail at tom.dicamillo@thepacwest.com, or by phone at 480-983-6605.

To receive free admittance, all groups must wear team uniforms or some type of identifying clothing (T-shirts for example) representing the organization. All students in the group must be eighth grade or below due to NCAA rules.

Advance tickets for the PacWest men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments go on sale on Friday, Feb. 1, and may be purchased online by clicking PacWest Basketball Tournament, or by calling the Felix Event Center Box Office at 626-815-5494.

Tickets may be purchased each day of the tournament at the box office that will open one hour before each session.

A 12-game, three-day All-Tournament Pass for adults is just $35 – or less than $3 per game – while a One-Day Pass is $15 for adults.

The 12-game, three-day All-Tournament Pass is $25 for seniors (60 and better), children (ages 7-17), college students (with ID) and military personnel (with ID). The One-Day Pass for these fans is $10.

Parents of youth athletes and group members who attend with their child may purchase a One-Day Pass for half-price ($7.50). Children 6 and under will be admitted free.

While Azusa Pacific will host the three-day event, the Cougars - along with California Baptist, Fresno Pacific, Holy Names and Point Loma - will not be eligible for the tournament since all five institutions are continuing their transition toward full NCAA II membership.

“Even though Azusa Pacific is not eligible to compete this year, we are extremely proud and honored to serve as the inaugural host of the PacWest men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments,” Gary Pine, the director of athletic at Azusa Pacific, said. “It gives our fans, our student-athletes and our community an opportunity to see the outstanding basketball competition in the PacWest and what we as a program can look forward to in the future.”

Nine of the PacWest’s 14 institutions will be eligible to compete this season, including Academy of Art, BYU-Hawaii, Chaminade, Dixie State, Dominican, Grand Canyon, Hawai‘i Hilo, Hawai‘i Pacific and Notre Dame de Namur.

The top six eligible teams will be seeded 1-6 in each of the men’s and women’s tournaments.

The six-team women’s tournament begins on Thursday, March 7, when the #6 seed tackles the #3 seed at 12:30 p.m. PST in game one, followed by the #4 seed battling the #5 seed at 3 p.m. PST in game two.

The winner of game one will take on the #2 seed at 12:30 p.m. PST on Friday, March 8, while the survivor of game two battles the top seed at 3 p.m. PST that same afternoon.

The PacWest Women’s Basketball Championship will be held on Saturday, March 9, at 4:30 p.m. PST with the winner claming the automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament.

The men’s six-team tournament will follow an identical pattern with games being held in the evening.

The #6 seed will take on the #3 seed at 5:30 p.m. PST in game one followed by the #4 seed battling the #5 seed at 8 p.m. PST in game two.

The winner of game one will take on the #2 seed at 5:30 p.m. PST on Friday, March 8, while the survivor of game two battles the top seed at 8 p.m. PST that same evening.

The PacWest Men’s Basketball Championship will be held on Saturday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. PST with the winner collecting the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament.

The tournament brackets will be announced on Sunday, March 3.