By JR Cummings on March 14, 2014
Leading up to Selection Sunday this weekend, many fans around the nation are watching their teams in their conference tournaments. I looked at the average distances between conference tournament locations and the teams that attend them in the eight major conferences to see which tournament is the most centrally located. The following slideshow is a compilation of my findings.
The new AAC settled on the FedEx Forum in Memphis as their tournament location. The expanse of the AAC is quite wide, stretching from Southern Florida up to UConn. This year, the average distance to Memphis is 680.07 miles, the biggest in the nation. In 2015, the subtraction of Louisville and Rutgers and the addition of Tulsa, ECU and Tulane will drop it to 634.79, but is still the largest. Condolences to fans of any AAC school out there.
The PAC-12 moved their conference tournament from LA to Las Vegas when they added Colorado and Utah to the fold. Ironically, while the move made it marginally easier for the newer members, the average distance grew from 589.75 Miles to 614.17 Miles. Overall, the PAC-12 would improve their average and help the OR and WA schools by moving their tournament to Northern California or maybe even Reno, NV, but the draw of Vegas and LA are too big.
The Catholic 7 created their own conference by adding Butler, Creighton and Xavier and forming a city-based basketball-centric league headquartered at MSG. However, the departure of nearby schools like UConn, Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt from the equation and the addition of Butler and Creighton, the average distance a Big East team must travel is 482.64 Miles. Without Creighton, by far the largest outlier, reduces that average by almost 100 miles.
In response to the loss of three schools recently, the Big 12 added geographically convenient TCU and inconvenient WVU. Since 2008, the tournament has been held in the Sprint Center in KC, which is an average of 431.12 miles. Removing WVU from the calculation reduces the average to 383.59 miles. While it could be more centrally located considering all but two of the school are south of KC, the Sprint Center is a doable tournament location.
The SEC has been alternating between the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, either of which is pretty central. The heart of the SEC is obviously in the deep south. Both averages are under 400 miles, plenty doable for each school's fans. If you were to take Texas A&M out of the calculation, the largest outlier in the conference, the average plummets to 329.55 for Atlanta and 368.19 for Nashville.
The core of the ACC is in NC, where four schools reside, making Greensboro much more centrally located than one would think at an average distance of only 350.96 miles. The departure of UMD and addition of Louisville next year will raise that average to 361.7. In 2016, however, the ACC will move to the Verizon Center in DC, which will please their new northern brethren, but makes the average much higher due to the number of southern schools.
The Big 10, stretching across the rust belt, has done an excellent job selecting their tournament location. Rotating between Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indy and the United Center in Chicago, the average distances for each school is below 350 for both venues. With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, it helps even out the east/west divide between the two cities and brings that average down even further. Kudos to the Big 10 for getting it right.
Unsurprisingly, the Atlantic 10 offers its fans the easiest travel distances to the conference championship, sans one school. With so many schools stuffed in the corridor between Richmond and Rhode Island and only three of its schools more than 350 miles away from New York (St. Louis, Dayton, Duquesne), the Atlantic 10 is by far the most dense and convenient conference for fans to attend their conference tournament. The Atlantic 10, your winner.
August 2, 2015 by Tim Letcher
John Calipari loves the spotlight. Read More
July 30, 2015 by Taylor Sturm
UConn is without leading scorer Ryan Boatright, but returning talent and transfers could lead to a great season for the underrated Huskies. Read More
Villanova disappointed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, but why they enter the 2015-16 season as a legitimate national title contender. Read More
The Marquette Golden Eagles may be down, but they aren't out. Find out if this rebuilding team can compete in the Big East in the 2015-16 season. Read More
Gonzaga should run away with the WCC in 2015-16. Find out if they could be a dark horse for the national championship. Read More
July 30, 2015 by Tim Letcher
The Iowa State Cyclones are set for a big season in 2016. Read More
July 29, 2015 by Taylor Sturm
North Carolina will enter the season as the No. 1 team, but can they avoid under performing as they have the past few seasons? Read More
The Cincinnati Bearcats head into the 2015-16 season with high expectations, and deservedly so when you consider their returning roster. Read More