Conference USA’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments have a new home that, thankfully, is a little closer to everyone. Conference ADs voted Tuesday to hold the 2015 tournaments in Birmingham, Ala. They also considered proposals from Shreveport/Bossier City, La., El Paso, Texas, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Hattiesburg, Miss.
Last season’s tournaments were held in El Paso, nice venues, but two time zones away from West Virginia in the westernmost outpost in the conference. Next season’s men’s tournament and women’s semis and title game will be held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. The women’s early rounds will be held at Bartow Arena on the UAB campus. The two arenas are about 2.3 miles away from each other, which means getting back and forth likely will take a vehicle. In El Paso last season and Tulsa the season before, the two venues were within walking distance.
Overall, the city offers plenty of hotel rooms and other amenities. SEC football media days is held in the area, so it’s no stranger to large crowds. And chances are the venues will be a little more up-to-date than UAB’s football home, the (ahem) seasoned confines of Legion Field.
So, do you think Birmingham will attract Herd fans to the conference basketball tournaments?