On-Campus Sites can provide better atmosphere like here in Quinnipiac, but when done right, a centralized neutral location offers the better spot for a Conference Tournament
A few years ago, I broke down each College Basketball conference and their respective tournament location. Certainly a fun little task I enjoyed and wanted to bring it back this season. It’s not as fun when more conferences need a plane ticket just to travel to a road game, but nonetheless, I figured to keep it fair and break down each conference. It’s getting close to the best part of the season as the first postseason is only a couple weeks away. We’ll split these into three categories: the good ones, locations that are just OK and then just plain misfits.
ACC: Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum
…….Should not be anywhere else
Big XII: Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
…….Perfect spot in a basketball and championship-rich city
Big East: New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
…….I know it is nowhere near the same, but at least there will be five familiar names
Big Ten: Indianapolis, IN – Bankers Like FieldHouse
…….Basketball’s home state is perfect for a big conference tournament
Big South: Conway, SC – HTC Center
…….Though it is home to Coastal Carolina, Myrtle Beach is a nice destination for alums and students to gather
Big West: Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
…….The California Bus League features most if it’s members in SoCal, so Anaheim works well
MAC: Cleveland, OH – Quicken Loans Arena
…….Excellent location and fans travel well here. Too bad they have that stupid staggered bracket format
Missouri Valley: St Louis, MO – Scottrade Center
…….The best conference tournament in the country
Pac-12: Las Vegas – MGM Grand Garden Arena
…….Great neutral site. Though UCLA and USC had a slight advantage when this was held in LA, a little part of me still feels the Staples Center is the right venue.
SEC: Atlanta, GA – Georgia Dome
…….Not really sure this needs to be in a cavernous football stadium, but at least they got the city right
Southern: Asheville, NC – Asheville Civic Center
…….This move a few years back has done wonders as the crowds have been good and Asheville is a beautiful spot
Southland: Katy, TX – Merrill Center
…….Small arena in a Houston suburb that is an ideal host for the Southland
Sun Belt: New Orleans, LA – Lakefront Arena
…….I thought Hot Springs was a good home, but New Orleans is centralized and offers a lot more
West Coast: Las Vegas, NV – Orleans Arena
…….Big crowds as each team has brought a high number of fans. Doing quite well
America East: First three rounds in Albany, NY; Final at home of higher seed
…….I know this conference is too small to generate a big crowd at a neutral site. But I think Springfield, MA and the MassMutual Center is a nice,
…….centralized location for them. Plus it takes away unfair home-court advantage for the pre-set host.
Atlantic-10: Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
…….I booed Bernadette McGlade when attending this tournament at Atlantic City. She is taking this great, niche conference and trying to make it
…….bigger than what it is with constant change. AC was a perfect home.
Atlantic Sun: Campus Sites
…….Strictly campus sites is better than a pre-determined host. They still could do better, how about Savannah and the Civic Center?
…….It’s a nice destination town within driving distance of most schools
Big Sky: Campus Sites
…….Hard to say what is best for the Big Sky. Maybe campus is the way to go. A few years ago, I tossed out Boise and the CenturyLink Center,
…….a nice mid-sized venue and city for the conference.
MEAC: Norfolk, VA – Norfolk Score Arena
…….It was in Winston-Salem previously, but has now been moved to Norfolk this season
MAAC: Springfield – MassMutual Center
…….Fans haven’t been big on Springfield (I think the spot is better for the America East). Newark’s Prudential Center, is closer to the core of the league’s teams.
…….Though getting dates would be tough with the Devils and Pirates in town.
Mountain West: Las Vegas – Thomas & Mack Center
…….Yeah, Vegas is awesome, but UNLV has a distinct advantage. How about Salt Lake City?
NEC: Campus Sites
…….Not ideal but not sure there is a suitable place for them in the NYC Metro area
Patriot: Campus Sites
…….Have the first round on campus and then put the final eight teams in Philadelphia’s Palestra. This would make for a great Thursday-Sunday event
…….and I’m sure the city would offer a lot alumni.
American: Memphis, TN – FedEx Forum
…….Honestly, who gives a crap where it is. This conference is a random mix of teams stretching halfway around the world
Colonial: Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Arena
…….Tradition be damned. The Colonial did this to itself and as many Virginia members are gone, so is Richmond, site of many memories
…….and a great gathering spot each year for fans. Sad.
Conference-USA: El Paso, TX – Don Haskins Center
……See notes on the American (AAC)
Horizon: Campus Sites
…….Move it to Fort Wayne, IN and the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. This Midwestern City School league deserves a neutral, urban site
SWAC: Houston, TX – Toyota Center
…….This event will probably be played in front of a 90% empty arena. They tried the Southland move by playing in Garland, TX for a few years
…….but it didn’t work out. Struggling conference overall for everything and I feel bad that they just can’t get this right either.
Summit: Sioux Falls, SD – Sioux Falls Arena
…….See notes on the American (AAC)
WAC: Las Vegas, NV – Orleans Arena
…….Who plays here again?