The Pac-12 Conference announced Thursday that it will increase from 18 to 20 the number of conference games that each of its men’s basketball teams will play starting with the 2020-21 season.
The move is intended to improve the teams’ strength of schedule and better position them for NCAA tournament bids. Only three Pac-12 teams have qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons.
The scheduling change will also increase the likelihood that marquee matchups such as UCLA-Arizona will be held twice per season; the rivals met only once in each of the last two seasons as part of the Pac-12’s unbalanced schedule.
The two additional Pac-12 games will be held in November or December before the traditional start of conference play, with a strong preference being given to weekend dates when students are on campus.
“Changing to a 20-game conference schedule will improve the strength of schedule for all 12 teams and that’s very important for the overall success of the league,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said in a statement. “It will also be really positive for the fans because each team will get to play 10 Pac-12 games at home.”
The Pac-12 will play its usual unbalanced schedule next season, with each school playing two conference counterparts only once at home and once on the road.