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UCLA and USC will play 20 Pac-12 games in 2020-21 as part of scheduling shift

Nick Rakocevic, Moses Brown
USC forward Nick Rakocevic is blocked by UCLA center Moses Brown during a Jan. 19 game.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

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.

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“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.

UCLA and USC will play every team besides Oregon and Oregon State at home and every team except California and Stanford on the road.


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