SALT LAKE CITY -- The Mountain West Conference basketball
tournaments are returning to Las Vegas after a two-year run of low
attendance in Denver.
The league will hold the men's and women's tournaments in Denver again next spring, then return to Las Vegas from 2007-2010 with an
option for two more years after that.
"I don't think it was a failure on Denver's part. I just think
they felt that there was more to offer in total in Las Vegas," MWC
commissioner Craig Thompson said at the league's media day
The tournaments will return to the Thomas & Mack Center, the
home arena of UNLV. Some coaches complained that playing for the
conference title at home gave the Rebels an unfair advantage. But
Thompson noted that from 2000-2003, UNLV only won the tournament on
his home floor once, in 2000. The Rebels did also make the finals
in 2001 and 2002.
Attendance for the men's tournament in 2004, the first season it
was in Denver, averaged 8,322 -- more than 5,100 fewer than 2003 in
Las Vegas. Last season attendance at the men's tournament increased
slightly to 8,974.