In a very short time, Larry Scott, Pac-12 commissioner and his astute executive team, will start taking bids on where to host the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament.
The contract is up after this coming basketball season at the Staples Center, so 2013 is wide open and it is anybody's guess as to where the event will take place.
One thing is certain, it should not return to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. They just flat do not deserve the game any longer, the tournament for most part has been poorly attended and despite the storied program at UCLA, Los Angeles is not a good college basketball town, it is all about the Lakers.
Begs the question, who does deserve the tournament? It actually is a hard question to answer, so let's examine some of the choices.
Seattle---Even though it is the NBA, they lost the Seattle Sonics, so just how good of a town for basketball is Seattle? The Seattle U. Redhawks, have drawn well so far in Key Arena since returning to D-1, despite having below average teams. The Huskies do well, but if they did not have such a winning team their crowds by most estimates would be sparse. Seattle will place a bid for the tournament, so that does show some interest. That bid will be for Key Arena to host.
Las Vegas--Rumors always abound about Vegas being a site for post season. The Big Sky even toyed with it this year, but a crowded field which already sees the Mt. West, WAC and West Coast Conference playing there, it seems like a long shot. Once thing is for certain, Las Vegas knows how to promote and put on events, so don't automatically count them out.
Sacramento---The closest Pac-12 team is the Cal Bears, but Sacramento is a great basketball city. They might lose the Kings, but the way the great fans have supported the team through some terrible losing seasons and the passion for basketball makes this a choice to at least look at in the future. It would probably be even a better choice if the Kings left, as the community would be starved for basketball.
Salt Lake City---Would be a great advantage for Pac-12 newcomer Utah, but Salt Lake City is a great basketball town and Utah is a great basketball state. It does not get any bigger than the Olympics so there are many people in town who know how to put on quality events. For sure, this city needs to be on the list and highly considered.
Portland--A funny college basketball town. The city's two D-1 teams, Portland State and U. of Portland do not draw well. Kentucky came to town last year and so did Duke, playing Portland and Oregon, respectively and neither game came even close to selling out the 20,000 seat Rose Garden. But on the positive side, in 2009 the first round NCAA regionals sold out quickly and the 2012 NCAA regionals in Portland are expected to do the same. Portland needs a look.
Tucson---Without question, this would be a good choice. Actually it would be my first choice. The fans of the Wildcats deserve it with their support they have shown over the years, even in the short down time and above all, Arizona has held up Pac-12 basketball at a high level for so many years, it would be nice to reward them for it.
Spokane---Thought I would throw it in, for one reason. They have an active sports commission who has attracted some very nice, high profile events to the area, so it would get the community support and the backing of people who know what they are doing when it comes to hosting not only basketball, but other sporting events.
Of course all these above cities, do need to make bids and I am certain all of the above are at least thinking about making plans to bid and some have already said they will, such as Seattle.
Here is just a thought for the Pac-12, cause even though they might not listen to Craw's Corner, they do read this blog in the offices.
Pac-12, don't get locked into one city. Rotate this tournament around to all of the above and even more additions. After one year, it gets old and stale in the same venue, it creates a lot more buzz, if a new venue is the site of Pac-12 men's tournament each year. It also would help the league promote and market their game, fans in these cities would really have something to look forward too and there is nothing better than spreading the excitement, after all the Pac-12 is a big area.
Pac-12 basketball needs a big shot in the arm, rotating the conference tournament would be a great start.
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