John F. Silver
Mohegan Sun is the likely landing spot for the women’s tournament, news that surprises no one.
The men’s tournament?
Reports are saying that Memphis is the leader and the Fed Ex Forum will host. Memphis wins out over Philadelphia’s The Palestra for the amenities of that arena.
Here’s the Hartford Courant’s Paul Doyle on the report.
All signs point to the Mohegan Sun Arena as the choice for the women’s tournament and the FedExForum in Memphis for the men’s draw. But Aresco and league administrators insist that there are other candidates still in play, although it appears that the league is keeping other options available in the event that negotiations hit a snag.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco told the Courant that the men’s and women’s tournaments are unlikely to be in the same region.
That takes the XL Center and Mohegan Sun seemingly off the rotation for the men’s tournament — a blow to the XL Center and its new management staff.
The women’s tournament is in Connecticut — providing a home field advantage — because the fan base comes out to the game. At Mohegan, the women’s tournament will be sold-out when UConn plays (the Arena is smaller than Gampel).
One big problem is that Hartford gets disqualified from the men’s side. The American Athletic Conference will be silly to move the women’s tournament out of its hotbed. There is too much money an interest that it would give up. But in doing so are they harming the men’s fans by not allowing dual hosting in the same year?
The men’s and women’s fanbases are different and the men’s tournament is one of the jewels of the league.
There is talk of a rotation for the men’s tournament to spread it around. That would be a good move with Memphis clearly a terrific choice.
The XL Center in Hartford is certainly a venue (with some work) that can host a major event. It’s a good size and will draw a good crowd.
Perhaps a five city rotation — Memphis, Hartford, Florida (Tampa/Orlando), Dallas, Philadelphia would work well.
What doesn’t seem fair is the notion because the women’s tournament draws so well and the league won’t want to move out of Connecticut that it impacts the men’s side.
Maybe in men’s years the women’s tournament can be moved out. Or, perhaps, the notion that a state can’t host two tournaments gets squashed.
The loss of the women’s tournament will be bad for the XL Center and Hartford. There was thoughts early on in the process that Hartford could host both tournaments. Now, it’s looking likely that the first week of March the civic center is going to be empty.
Kevin Duffy: AAC needs to embrace variety in men’s basketball postseason sites (CT Post).
American closes in on key decisions that will mark first year of new conference (Orlando Sentinel)