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Is It Time to Move the Conference Tournament?

If the conference wants to be seen as a big boy conference then it needs to be moved to a netural site.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas is a tourism destination, it's a great city to watch big fights, see the strip, and watch good conference tournament basketball. A lot of the major conferences play their tournaments in big tourism cities that will draw fans. However, each city usually only hosts one conference tournament but Vegas is actually host to four which to me seems very overcrowded. The Mountain West Conference Tournament is held at the Thomas and Mack Center which is also home to conference member UNLV. Some believe that it gives them a significant home court advantage. Has the time come for the conference to move the tournament for men and women's basketball to a location that presents a more neutral setting for everyone?

The fact that smaller conferences have their tournaments at neutral sites and the Mountain West have it at a venue of a conference member is laughable. Las Vegas is also used by the PAC 12, WAC and WCC conferences at almost the same time. The casual fan will go to the PAC 12 over the Mountain West due to conference exposure and big name players assoicated with the conference. The AAC chooses to rotate their tournament with it being hosted in Hartford this year followed by Orlando in 2016 and 2017. The Big West has their tournament in Anaheim at the Honda Center no other school plays there.

Thomas and Mack is a great venue but UNLV plays there all year. The Rebels have been playing scary good lately despite losing last night at home to SDSU in what was a very competitive game. Any conference tournament game for them is obviously a home game. The team will likely prepare for it that way also. Meaning in no travel, no sleeping in hotels, among other necessities.

With that being said I believe its time for a change. Vegas is a great host but change is good. So my choice for the new host city would be Los Angeles. There are no schools there, but almost every Mountain West school has a pretty decent alumni base in California which would bring crowds. If a sport like swimming has their conference championships in Texas, which is completely neutral to everyone then they could move basketball. Just my opinion but would be open to hearing others.