LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CBS / AP) ― Next season’s West Coast Conference basketball tournament will start earlier and last longer to accommodate BYU when it becomes the ninth team in the league, which currently includes the University of San Francisco, Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s.

WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said the tournament will feature an opening-round game between the eighth and ninth seeds on Feb. 29, 2012. The top two seeds will continue to receive double byes into the semis on March 3, 2012, with the No. 3 and 4 seeds receiving byes into the quarterfinals.

The title game will be played Monday, March 5, 2012.

The WCC tournament will be played at the Orleans Arena again next year but a decision will be made by this summer as to whether the WCC ultimately needs a larger venue with BYU joining.

Conference play will begin Dec. 29 to accommodate nine teams playing each other twice.

(© 2011 CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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