Sports

West Coast Conference hopes for another strong March showing by mid-major league

BYU head coach Dave Rose yells from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego, Saturday, March 1, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

BYU head coach Dave Rose yells from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego, Saturday, March 1, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)  (The Associated Press)

When Jamie Zaninovich looks at the West Coast Conference men's basketball tournament as commissioner, he envisions two teams from the conference reaching the NCAA tournament and putting the WCC on the national map once more.

As a member of the NCAA tournament men's basketball selection committee, he has to take a hard look at the entire league while wearing a different hat. The conference tournament winner crowned next week in Las Vegas will receive an automatic bid and the WCC also could land an at-large berth, considering both regular-season champion Gonzaga and runner-up BYU each have impressive RPI rankings based on strength of their nonconference schedule and results. The Zags rank 25th in RPI nationally and BYU is 35th.

The WCC tournament begins Thursday at Orleans Arena.