The Sun Belt Conference has been playing their basketball tournament in Hot Springs, Ark. since 2009, but starting in 2014, the exciting tournament will be played in the wonderful city of New Orleans, La. Games will be played in Lakefront Arena, which hosted the Sun Belt tournament in 2002.
Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson said of the move via SunBeltSports.org:
New Orleans is a great destination for our basketball championships and the recent renovations to Lakefront Arena make it an excellent venue to showcase our league. In addition to being a great geographical fit for our membership, New Orleans has an incredible track record of hosting great sporting events – including the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl which has had a Sun Belt participant since the inaugural game in 2001. The city’s great restaurants, shopping, entertainment and accommodations, provide Sun Belt fans numerous things to do when away from the arena.
Middle Tennessee is leading the conference with a 12-1 record. South Alabama is second with a 9-4 record in conference play. There are some talented teams and several teams have the ability to make a late run. Western Kentucky, who has a 6-6 conference record, made a late run last year to win the conference tournament in Hot Springs.
Richard Pitino is doing a very good job in his first year as head coach of Florida International and have the ability to be last years WKU.
The move to New Orleans is an excellent one for the conference to be more relevant in college basketball. It will be a little easier for teams to get good recruits, as they now have the ability to sell the tournament and the big arena when they make their visits to campus.
Dates to the 2014 tournament have not been released yet.
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