Pac-10 To Honor Wooden, Host Combined Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament

LOS ANGELES -- For the first time in conference history, the Pac-10 will host a combined men's and women's basketball tournament to crown its champions at the end of the season, and will also honor legendary coach John Wooden and his legacy throughout the 2010-11 season, it was announced today.

In its 10th year, the Pacific Life Pac-10 Basketball Tournament will be played March 9-11, 2011 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will now feature the top teams in both the men's and women's bracket on the same floor for the semifinals and championship games.

"We wanted to provide our student-athletes and our fans with a memorable experience and felt a joint tournament in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world would deliver just that," Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott said. "Having an opportunity to play on the same floor where the Lakers and Sparks have combined to win seven NBA and WNBA championships gives us a championship setting that is difficult to match. Our fans will now be exposed to the best of both men's and women's college basketball to wrap up the Pac-10 season."

All four rounds of the men's tournament will be at the Staples Center, while the first two rounds of the women's tournament will be held at USC's Galen Center, before shifting to the Staples Center for the semifinals and championship game. It is the first time in its 10-year history that the women's tournament will played at an NBA/WNBA venue.

To honor Coach Wooden and his legacy, the Pac-10 is producing a Sportsmanship PSA that will share the teachings of his Pyramid of Success in each home arena throughout the season. The conference will have a special in-game presentation to the Wooden Family during the Pacific Life Pac-10 Basketball Tournament, and has renamed the Pac-10 Coach of the Year Award in both men's and women's basketball to the John Wooden Coach of the Year Award.

No one has had a greater impact on college basketball than Wooden, who led UCLA to an unprecedented 10 NCAA Championships during his final 12 seasons as head coach. During his 27-years in Westwood, he amassed 620 wins, including a record winning streak of 88 games and posted four perfect 30-0 seasons. However, as incredible as his resume reads, he may be most remembered for the words of wisdom and life lessons he shared with anyone who was fortunate enough to cross his path.

"What Coach Wooden stood for, the lessons he taught and the impact he had on so many people are truly immeasurable," Scott said. "His gift to all of us was instilling values and principles to the game of basketball that easily transferred to every day life. He once said 'It isn't what you do but how you do it', and would know because he did it better than anyone else. We're grateful to have the opportunity to honor him throughout this basketball season."

The Pac-10 men's and women's basketball seasons begin the weekend of November 12. The men's Conference schedule tips off December 30, and the women's slate gets underway December 31.

All-session ticket packages for the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Basketball Tournament go on sale on Thursday and are available by calling (877) 234-8425

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