The Pac-12 will move to a 20-game conference schedule for men's basketball, starting with the 2020-21 season, as approved Thursday by the Conference Council and Athletic Directors Committee.
The increase from the current 18-game schedule is designed to improve each school’s strength of schedule, with the hope of placing more teams in the NCAA Tournament field. In a news release, deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich cited the goals of “enhancing the Pac-12 basketball brand and preparation for postseason play.”
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak endorsed the 20-game schedule when asked about the proposal in January. Scott Kull, Utah’s deputy athletic director, also spoke in favor of the move because nonconference home games are difficult to market (Kull even suggested a 22-game conference schedule, for that reason).
Pac-12 administrators will continue to study how to implement the 20-game schedule, with each team facing two opponents only once. The current scheduling rotation will continue through the 2019-20 season. In Utah's case, that will mean playing the Arizona schools only on the road and the Washington schools only at home next year.
In the future, the league may try to adopt a scheduling method of ensuring that the projected top teams play one another twice each, further boosting those schools' schedules. Krystkowiak is an advocate of that approach as well.
The Pac-12′s news release said “nonconference scheduling standards” also will be discussed in the coming months.