It appears that the Pacific Tigers, long an endangered (private) species in the Big West, has decided to return to its roots in the West Coast Conference.

Beginning in the 2013-14 season, UOP will be a Big West entity no more.

The one and only Michael Olowokandi.

For Pacific, the move is undoubtedly motivated by the financial gain that comes with being in a stronger basketball conference. The Tigers will now play the likes of Gonzaga, St. Mary’s and BYU (at least for now) in their yearly conference slate, significantly improving the quality of competition. These games should also draw better and elevate Pacific’s status in the long run.

On the flip side, it only gets tougher for Pacific and the recruiting trail. The administration in Stockton is obviously quick to forget how conducive the Big West was for their successes in the mid-2000’s.

For the Big West, the conference loses a longtime stalwart of the group, a school that has been a part of the conference since 1971. They are the last team to win a game in the NCAA Tournament from the Big West (2005 over Pittsburgh), and also the last school to groom a No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft – Michael “The Candy Man” Olowokandi.

Happy Trails Pacific. San Diego State should do more than an adequate job filling your shoes come 2013-14.