Source: AAC, Mohegan Sun near tourney deal

By Carl Adamec

Mohegan Sun Arena is the home of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and hosts the Connecticut high school boys and girls basketball state championship games.

Some women’s college basketball is close to being added to its schedule of events.

According to a source familiar with the situation, the new American Athletic Conference — which includes the University of Connecticut — and the Mohegan Sun are near a deal that would bring the first AAC women’s basketball championship tournament to the arena in March, 2014. The length of the deal is still being negotiated.

Mohegan Sun Arena holds about 9,500 fans.

The AAC will begin play in 2013-14 with 10 members — UConn, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, Temple, Central Florida, Memphis, SMU and Houston. The regular season league schedule is expected to be 18 games with each league team playing the other nine home and home.

The format for the tournament is to be determined. But when Miami (Fla.) made the Big East a 10-team league for the 1991-92 season, it was a four-day event with two first-round games (7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9) followed by the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final.

Hartford’s XL Center has been home to the Big East women’s basketball tournament since 2004. The 2013 championship game between Notre Dame and UConn on March 12 drew 9,085. The Huskies’ quarterfinal session against DePaul drew 7,759 while the semifinal session that saw UConn take on Syracuse drew 7,621.

Two years ago, the Big East looked at Mohegan Sun Arena as a possible site for the women’s tournament. It never got there, reportedly in part, due to reservations of at least some Catholic school members to having the event at a casino. The Big East signed a two-year deal with the XL Center that expired this year. With the departure of the Catholic 7, those reservations are gone.

The Huskies have never played at Mohegan Sun Arena.