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March 7, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Is Pac-12 tourney moving to Las Vegas?

According to multiple sources, the Pac-12 is nearing a deal to move the men’s basketball tournament to the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas next year.
Here’s a collection coaches talking about the tournament and its future..
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar:
(Thoughts on possibly moving to Las Vegas)
“There have been a lot of positives to the tournament being in Los Angeles, but I have a lot of respect for (Pac-12 commissioner) Larry Scott and his vision. I’m sure there’s a lot of research going into this and how they make this decision.”
California’s Mike Montgomery:
(Thoughts on rotating the Pac-12 tourney)
“There’s got to be healthy discussion about a change. Whether we look at rotating it on a yearly basis or a two-year basis I don’t know. We’ve had in different sites before and different venues and it’s not worked out great necessarily. The best thing is to pick a spot where people get used to going that’s a good place where we can draw and has a lot of attraction for everybody.
“Certainly it would be great to have it in Washington, it would be great to have it in Oregon and it would be great to have it in the Bay Area, but I don’t know if that’s probably the best way to do it from the standpoint of establishing yourself and getting some consistency.
(It is working in LA?) “We sure haven’t drawn very well. I think we got to take a serious look at something else.”
(Is Las Vegas more appealing?) “I think it would. I think it’s worked for the conference that have gotten on there. I think it would be a solid attraction all of the fans around the league. We had the thing at Arizona years ago I can remember. This was way back when and it seemed very much like an Arizona invitational. It was so skewed that way that it didn’t seem right for everybody else.
“I think if you go to a place like (Vegas) you’re going to have people from all over the conference saying ‘You know what? Let’s go down. We’ll get show tickets. We’ll maybe play golf and do some other things and enjoy basketball so they would make it trip and plan on it year after year.”
UCLA’s Ben Howland
(Thoughts on rotating the Pac-12 tourney)
“They need to find somewhere where they’re going to keep it and develop some continuity year in and year out for the people that put it on and also for the fans that come.”
(Is it working in LA?) “We’ve had some good tournaments here in LA. It’s not the ACC tournament where people are showing up 40,000 strong no matter where you have it. I was in the Big East and it was always great for everybody to go to New York each and every year. I think fans looked forward to it at Madison Square Garden and it was a big deal. The league is trying to do a good job marketing it under the new leadership and the conference office, which has only been there a couple of years. They’ve done a good job trying to market it and push the conference tournament. The bottom line is wherever you have it you want to have fans from all of the teams try to make it a yearly event where this is something that you go to each and every year. So it’s got to be fun for the fans.
(Thoughts on moving to Las Vegas) “It’s something that’s been proposed. I know they’ve talked about San Jose. They’ve talked about Phoenix. They’ve talked about Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a major draw because there’s a lot things and people are excited to go to Las Vegas. I’m not sure where the league stands on it to be honest with you.”
USC’s Kevin O’Neill
(Is the tourney working in Los Angeles?)
“I think if you judge by the attendance, you’d have to say no. I don’t know what the answer is for the conference tournament. I’m sure Larry and his group will figure that out like they have many other things. But I’d have to say based on overall attendance you’d have to say no at this point.
(Are you in favor of rotating the tournament?) “I think we should play home sites to be honest with you. If we want to make money, if we want to reward people for finishing higher give four byes and play at the home sites of the other eight. Here’s a novel idea let’s have charters and fly that night and play the next day at the other person’s home site if you win. I just think that would be a little bit different. And it would be a little bit intriguing. You could knock out the whole week. Start earlier in the week to finish your games on Saturday. Start Tuesday and go from there.”

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