Great tournament games deserve better environments

Auburn and Alabama have faced off in basketball three times this season.

They played in front of an awesome and racaus sellout crowd in Tuscaloosa.
Then they played in front of a sellout crowd in Auburn Arena, which has become the second best basketball environment in the SEC.

Today they played the rubber game of the season series in St. Louis in front of a crowd that was mostly biding its time until the Kentucky game tipped off.
That’s less of an indictment of basketball fans in this state and more the failure of the SEC to take into consideration the fans when choosing a location for its conference tournament.

The SEC is not alone. The ACC has left its roots in the Carolinas to play its tournament in Brooklyn. The Big 10 and the Big East both decided to play at Madison Square Garden, even though some fans had to travel more than 1,000 miles to get to the tournament site.
Tonight, Duke and North Carolina will predictably play in Brooklyn. It’s akin to McGill-Toolen and Murphy having to travel to Dothan to play each other in the state basketball regional finals.

The solution for adding excitement and doing right by college fans is to choose a central location and establish a tradition for the conference tournament. In the SEC that means Nashville. But Memphis or Atlanta could certainly fit the bill.
The outstanding teams playing in the tournament deserve an environment to match.

For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.

Stephen Root