Louisville's one-season stay in the American Athletic Conference is being debated, even if the Cardinals are not represented.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – We do know several spots where the University of Louisville men's basketball team will NOT play its conference tournament next season?
Madison Square Garden is out for both the men and women. Sad.
So is the KFC Yum! Center.
And Freedom Hall.
I'm talking about the American Athletic Conference Tournaments. That is the league where U of L will be a muted one-year visitor next season before upgrading to the ACC. The good news is that the ACC certainly sounds as if it wants to get its conference tournament back into New York City after Louisville, Syracuse and Pittsburgh are all on board.
The AAC – what a difference one letter makes – is staging its league meetings in Ponte Verde, Fla., this week. U of L is not represented. Neither is Rutgers, which will depart for the Big Ten after one year in the AAC. The Cards and Scarlet Knights are simply house guests, just passing through for one interesting season. Bring your money, but not your opinion.
U of L's future in men's and women's hoops is being decided. Although the league likely will not make a decision this week, the list of sites for the men's and women's tournaments is going to be cut to a reasonable number.
Madison Square Garden is out for both the men and women. Sigh. Double sigh. Make that a triple.
So is the KFC Yum! Center. Great venue. No chance the league will reward or feature a temporary member.
Scratch Freedom Hall.
Even Cincinnati does not appear to be getting much love, probably because the town has a couple of truly ordinary basketball facilities with awful amenities.
So where will Rick Pitino's defending national champions be sent for conference tournament play? Don't get too excited. It's a pretty blasé list:
The XL Center in Hartford and Mohegan Sun Arena, which is also located in Uncasville, Conn. Philadelphia (Temple), Tampa (South Florida) and Memphis (Penny Hardaway University) are also pursuing the event.
I'm putting my money on one of the two sites in Connecticut or Memphis. Fannies in the seats won't be as much of an issue in those spots. Memphis would be the best spot to attract Louisville fans, not that the league will consider that important.
What about the women?
Do you really have to ask?
In the Big East, the Number One bylaw for women's basketball was that the women's tournament had to be played in the driveway of coach Geno Auriemma. He didn't need much help to keep a choke-hold on Big East basketball, but the league obliged.
UConn athletic director Ward Manuel told Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant that the Huskies would like both the men's and women's events to be played in Connecticut. But Manuel was emphatic about the women's tournament being played in Connecticut. The likely choice is the XL Center in Hartford, which hosted the final 10 years of the Big East Tournament.
"The fan base in our state is what separates us," Manuel said. "So many of our fans support the tournament. They don't just come and show up for our games. They come and support the first couple of days, and it's a great atmosphere for women's basketball.
"Now it's down to the presentations and what's been put together by each of the different facilities," Manuel said. "But UConn has one vote. I've been saying I would love to have both tournaments in Connecticut, but we'll see. We'll see where it goes."
Sorry, Ward. No offense to Hartford, but hopefully the one and only AAC Tournament will go to Tampa.