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Alexander: Big West Tournament teams' urgency produces better show Daily News

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Mar 15, 2019 1:17 AM 1+ week ago

ANAHEIM -- It amuses me when I hear Pac-12 partisans moaning about how their conference might be fortunate to get a second men's team into the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.

Eight men's teams from that conference started play at Honda Center on Thursday. By late Saturday evening, one will be an NCAA Tournament team, and in all likelihood only one. Those are the rules of engagement in this conference, and everyone understands it going in.

Even UC Irvine's Russell Turner, coach of a 28-5 team that lost once in conference and is the overwhelming favorite, knows how this works even as he dislikes dwelling on it.

But it is a fact of life in mid-major conferences. Most of the at-large berths in the 68-team NCAA Tournament are sucked up by the big-money, big-reputation teams, some of whose players seem to go through the motions during early-round conference tournament games.

In conferences like the Big West, contrastingly, they care. Urgently. ...

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