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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

March 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Pac-12 tournament outbound from LA, and what took so long?

The Pac-12 has announced a press conference with commissioner Larry Scott tomorrow to announce the future of the conference basketball tournament. Since the announcement is going to be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, would it be too big a leap to assume the Grand is going to be unveiled as host?

To which I say: Finally.

The Staples Center in LA was absolutely dismal for the league and its image. TV images of empty crowds were pathetic, and it wasn’t only in this down year of Pac-12 basketball. The thing wasn’t a consistent draw even in the halcyon years of 2007-08 in Pac-12 hoops.

To be honest, the format I’ve always favored was a north-south split, with the event alternating every year or every two years, in Phoenix and Portland. But I can see the argument for continuity in one site, and Las Vegas makes great sense.

The league has never really found the right place for its tournament. Back in 1987-90, when it inaugurated a league tournament, it played on campus sites, and if memory serves, at the old Forum in LA one year. But campus sites don’t really work in a big conference, and they’re inherently unfair to those visiting.

Then the tournament went to LA, kowtowing to the wishes of Fox TV. I think that’s been an esthetic disaster; LA is simply too big to care about hosting a conference tournament.

Now, to Vegas. Hit me.

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