It offers great allure and loathing, a singular sporting event of both promise and dread.
College basketball teams from mid-major programs know they had best win their conference tournament if they want a ticket to the NCAA tournament.
And none know that more than the teams from the Big West Conference.
It has been 12 years since the Big West advanced more than one team into March Madness, and those two teams — Pacific and Utah State — are no longer in the conference.
Only the winner of the conference tournament is guaranteed to advance, which means that should regular-season champion UC Irvine (19-13) stumble at any point during the Big West tournament starting...