May 15, 2012, 11:40 AM EDT
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Conference USA is considering moving their 2013 conference tournament from Memphis to Tulsa.
The reason why: with Memphis heading to the Big East, the conference members who will remain don’t want to give the Tigers an extra advantage when it comes to earning an NCAA tournament bid.
(To be fair, it would be stunning if Josh Pastner’s team required the automatic bid to reach the tournament next season.)
The conference will come to a decision next month, and the big question is whether or not Conference USA is willing to sacrifice revenue because they aren’t pleased with the Tigers leaving.
Memphis has won six of the last seven Conference USA tournament titles, with five of those victories at FedEx Forum (the other came at UTEP in 2011).
The one year Memphis didn’t win the tournament was 2010, when Houston won four games in four days to earn the league’s automatic bid at the BOK Center in Tulsa.
That’s also the only year out of the last seven in which the hometown team did not reach the tournament final, and the listed attendance was 8,476.
That number is a far cry from the 11,769 who attended the 2011 final in El Paso, and if a move is made the powers that be need to be sure that fans will make a concerted effort to attend (Conference USA school map).
With money being a major motivator in realignment Conference USA could make the decision to leave money on the table essentially out of spite. That may not be the best idea.
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