Despite Conflicts In Vegas During Tourney Week, The Mountain West Has Found A Way To Remain In Sin City For 2020
San Diego and Phoenix were among the cities who were interested in hosting the 2020 Mountain West Tournament
The MWC Tourney will remain in the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas
The Mountain West has decided to remain at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for the 2020 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, per reports.
The conference’s athletic administrators and coaches had to make a decision on the tournament location because of a construction trade show, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, which is being held in Las Vegas the same weekend that the tournament would occur. It caused the Mountain West to explore other options to avoid potential conflict with two major events going on in the city during the same weekend.
The committee had the option of pushing the tournament up a week to remain in Las Vegas but avoid the trade show, hosting the tourney in San Diego at Viejas Arena, or exploring neutral site locations such as Phoenix or Sacramento, among others.
It did initially appear that the tournament was headed to the West Coast in San Diego for 2020, but the conference seems dedicated to continue to hold the tournament at the Thomas & Mack, which has been the host since 2007. The Mountain West is one of the few conferences in D-I basketball that holds its tournament at the site of one of its programs.
Because the conference’s tournament championship has and likely will continue to have its championship on a Saturday, unless changes to scheduling occur, the Mountain West will be one of the first conferences to award its tournament bid in 2020. The final is expected to take place the Saturday before the week of Selection Sunday, a meaty eight days before the brackets are released.
This season, the Ohio Valley Conference will be the only league that will play its tournament championship the Saturday the week before Selection Sunday. The Big Ten and Missouri Valley also have their tournaments the same weekend.
The Mountain West signed a three-year deal back in 2015 to keep the tournament at the Thomas & Mack Arena until 2019. The MGM Grand Arena, which hosted the Pac-12 Tournament from 2013 to 2016, does not appear to be viable option for the conference at this time. The arena, which holds 6,000 fewer attendees, is not financially tied to the conference similarly to the Thomas & Mack.
The Pac-12 is slated to have its tournament held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas until at least 2019. The West Coast Conference holds its tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and will continue to do so until at least 2019.
For now, the Mountain West Tournament will continue to be held at the Thomas & Mack Center until further notice. The trade convention returns to Las Vegas in 2023 and 2026, which could potentially allow the conference to revisit the tournament location.
As the adage goes, things are meant to stay in Vegas.