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2017 College Basketball Conference Tournaments

Posted by Sean Rowland on February 27, 2017

Palestra and Playoffs together is mouthwatering

Palestra and Playoffs together is mouth-watering

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It’s my favorite time of year again! The College Basketball season is winding down and the first conference tournament of the year begins tonight. While the NCAA Tournament is the core of March Madness, the Conference Tournaments should not be overlooked as there is plenty of excitement within each bracket. Since this is a stadium website, I like to break down each College Basketball conference and their respective tournament location. It’s not as fun when more conferences nowadays need a plane ticket just to travel to a road game, but nonetheless, long-time lovers of this sport can’t resist getting excited when the calendar hits late February. This year, we welcome the Ivy League to the party, a bittersweet change that ends the 14-game championship. Every conference and tournament location is placed below into one of three categories: “Good”, “OK” and “Bad”.

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Good

  • Big East:     New York, NY – Madison Square Garden

    • I know it is not the classic Big East, but at least there are still five original members
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  • Big Sky:     Reno, NV – Reno Events Center

    • Great move by the Big Sky last year. This is a spread-out conference in the western half of the US and with Vegas already packed with other tournaments, the next best choice is Reno. The Events Center is relatively new and mid-sized, a venue that fits wonderfully.
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  • Big XII:     Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center

    • Perfect spot in a basketball-rich city that loves the conference and always supports this tournament well.
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  • Big West:     Anaheim, CA – Honda Center

    • The California Bus League features most if its members in SoCal, so Anaheim is a great host
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  • Ivy:     Philadelphia, PA – The Palestra
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    • This post is about best tournament locations, not whether a conference should have a tournament. With that in mind, Yes! The Palestra is an incredible place to watch basketball already. Can you imagine the atmosphere on a doubleheader semifinal or a championship final? My one qualm: What if Penn gets in for future years as a #3 or #4 seed? That’s quite unfair to the other teams if they don’t bring their own fans. We’ll see how it plays out.
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  • MAC:     Cleveland, OH – Quicken Loans Arena

    • Excellent location and fans travel well here. It’s a great tournament made even better by a natural bracket with no double-byes.
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  • MEAC:    Norfolk, VA – Norfolk Scope Arena
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    • Norfolk is probably the best option around for this league.

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  • Missouri Valley:     St Louis, MO – Scottrade Center

    • Hands-down, Arch Madness is the best conference tournament in the country.
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  • Ohio Valley:     Nashville, TN  –  Nashville Municipal Auditorium

    • A long time home for the OVC tournament that is a natural fit. The venue is perfect for the crowd size and the atmosphere has been pretty good in recent years.
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  • Pac-12:     Las Vegas – T-Mobile Arena

    • New arena, same great neutral site. Vegas baby.
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  • Southern:      Asheville, NC – Asheville Civic Center

    • The Southern Conference has struck gold as they enter their seventh year here. Crowds have been good and Asheville is a terrific city
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  • Southland:     Katy, TX – Merrill Center

    • Small arena in a Houston suburb that is an ideal host for the Southland
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  • Sun Belt:     New Orleans, LA – Lakefront Arena

    • New Orleans is centralized and offers a lot for visiting fans. Great move in playing this year’s edition at the Lakefront Arena as that is a much better venue for the Sun Belt, than the Smoothie King Center.
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  • West Coast:    Las Vegas, NV – Orleans Arena

    • Big crowds fill this casino arena just off The Strip as each team brings a high number of fans. They are doing very well here

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Ehh

  • America East:    Campus Sites

    • 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 solid location for them. Side Note: They have unusual spacing between the games with AE’s long-time format as three rounds are spread out over 11 days.
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  • Atlantic-10:     Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena

    • Well, it’s not Atlantic City…but it’s a bit better than Brooklyn as Pittsburgh can be considered more “centralized” than Brooklyn. Though Duquense gets an advantage here.
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  • Atlantic Sun:     Campus Sites

    • Campus sites are fine for this constantly evolving conference. They still could try for better…how about Savannah and the Civic Center? It’s a nice destination town within driving distance of most schools
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  • Conference USA:     Birmingham, AL – Legacy Arena at the BJCC

    • Similar boat as the American Conference (just realized their league names are similar). At least Birmingham is kind of the middle for this far-reaching conference.
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  • Horizon:     Detroit, MI – Joe Louis Arena

    • Detroit and Oakland certainly will have an advantage in the Motor City and I think that Detroit is a fine host. But, I still believe Fort Wayne would be a perfect fit for the Midwestern City School league.
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  • MAAC:    Albany – Times Union Center

    • Despite it being Siena’s home court, Albany has been the best of the many places tried by the MAAC the last few decades. I wish they would consider Newark’s Prudential Center as it is closer to the core of the league’s teams.
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  • Mountain West:    Las Vegas – Thomas & Mack Center

    • See above (UNLV’s home). How about Salt Lake City?
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  • NEC:    Campus Sites

    • Not ideal, but there probably isn’t a suitable place for them in the NYC Metro area
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  • SEC:     Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena

    • Nothing at all against this fine city and arena, but both Atlanta and the SEC are Kings of the South. This event should stay in Atlanta.
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  • Summit:     Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford Premier Center

    • The Sanford Premier Center is a beautiful new arena and Sioux Falls is a fine town to host an event. It’s just that the Summit League is so spread out that it is understandably hard to get fans to make the trip.
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  • SWAC:     Campus Sites
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    • Sadly, the right move to head back to campus as the amount of empty seats at any attempted neutral site is embarrassing

 

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Bad

  • ACC:     Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
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    • C’mon man, Brooklyn? I hate these big leagues and their spread out schools. I long for the days of seeing the teal and purple court in Greensboro. Games were routine sellouts as most schools were within a six hour radius from the tourney.
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  • American:     Hartford, CT – XL Center
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    • It really doesn’t matter where the tournament is since this conference is a random mix of teams stretching halfway around the world. The American did take a step back this year as Hartford is a slightly less desirable destination city to bring in fans than last year’s site: Orlando (just slightly).
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  • Big South:    Campus Sites

    • Surely they can do better as the league footprint has plenty of mid-sized cities that could host. Roanoke, Greenville, Florence, Greensboro. Even going to Myrtle Beach would be worth a shot.
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      ..
  • Big Ten:  Washington, DC – Verizon Center
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    • Blasphemy! Well, I guess if you are going to expand to Maryland and Rutgers for $ and TV eyeballs, then anything is fair game. I’ll miss Indy and hope Maryland loses early so that there are a lot empty seats.

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  • Colonial:     Charleston, SC – North Charleston Coliseum

    • A great city and warm climate for a tournament…but, it’s not even close to 70% of the league’s members. My heart longs for the good ol’ days in Richmond when this was a Virginia-centric league.
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  • Patriot:     Campus Sites

    • OK Patriot, it’s time to take a step and grow up…especially since you decided to make the curious move to 10 teams a few years ago by adding Boston and Loyola (MD). Allentown and the relatively new PPL Center would be perfect.
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  • WAC:     Las Vegas, NV – Orleans Arena

    • What kind of crazy teams play in this league again?
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