There has been a lot of talk about expansion the last couple of days with the Big Ten trying to add a new team. Which led to talks on SSF of the Pac expanding and somehow GU getting in there. Since it seems extremely unlikely that GU will be leaving the WCC anytime soon, why not talk about improving the WCC. Now, why would anyone want to play in the WCC? Well I actually think there are quite a few reasons:
1) Good National TV exposure - how many WAC or MWC games are broadcast on ESPN (albeit at midnight eastern usually)?
2) A chance to play against one of the nation's premiere programs twice a year and improve your program.
3) The WCC has shown itself to be the one of the best Mid-Major Leagues in the country with multiple tournament bids in the last few years. I would say that despite the likes of LMU and Pepperdine WCC would beat the Atlantic 10 (which actually has 14 teams) top to bottom.
Now the big question is who should the WCC add? Coach Few said in that interview on Seattle Radio that he would only want to add a team that would improve the conference's RPI and I think that makes sense for GU. Also it might be tricky to pluck a team away from a conference that supports FBS (or Whatever Division I is called these days) football. I don't know what type of arrangement could be worked out.
Here are some Candidates:
Seattle U (Independent) - this is a fairly obvious candidate in that it fits with the profile of the other WCC schools, but as Coach Few says it is not up to snuff athletically.
Pacific (Big West) - This is a school that has been to the tournament three times since 2004 and got to the second round twice which is more than you can say for St. Mary's for instance.
Then there are the teams that play in conferences that support football such as Nevada-Reno (WAC) or BYU (MWC). While these teams definitely excel at Basketball and I think would love to play GU twice a year I think it would be hard for them to move conferences. They would have to work out a deal to keep their football teams in the WAC or MWC. If that would be all possible I think BYU would be an ideal choice as it fits the WCC model being a religious non-research intensive institution. I have been reading similar discussions on UW's SB site and they seemed to have dismissed UNR and BYU as not being able to live up to the PAC's academic standards, so it seems likely that they will not move to Pac 10. They also mentioned BYU's religion being a red flag which I don't think would be as a big a problem in the WCC.
Most realistically however, I actually think Pacific might be the best fit for the WCC. They have shown themselves to be a pretty relevant basketball team in the Bay Area and they do have some history of winning in March. If there has to be a second team I am not sure who it would be I looked over the Big West and I didn't see anything too amazing. I would say Portland State from the Big Sky but with the loss of Ken Bone they seem to be floundering this season.
I know the WCC commissioner has talked about expansion and I am afraid that Seattle U might end up in our conference just because they seem to fit the best, but in the off chance it doesn't happen I think its fun to speculate.