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A Different Kind Of Madness In Las Vegas Next March

Written By Marc Meltzer | Updated:
NCAA Basketball Players Run Across Court

March Madness is a busy time for college basketball fans in Las Vegas. Before the NCAA tournament begins there are a handful of conference tournaments being played at venues throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Starting next year there will be more college basketball games to wager and watch in person in Las Vegas.

FOX Sports and AEG recently announced the College Basketball Crown will debut in Las Vegas next year. The 16-team post-season college basketball tournament will occur at MGM Grand Garden Arena and T-Mobile Arena from March 31 to April 6.

The tournament will tip off after the NCAA Basketball Championship begins next year1. The championship game for the College Basketball Crown will take place on the off day between the Final Four and the championship game of March Madness.

The tournament will consist of teams from Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East that do not qualify for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball tournament. There will be two automatic qualifiers from each conference.

A committee will choose additional at-large teams to participate in this made-for-TV tournament.

College Basketball Crown joins busy college basketball post-season

The College Basketball Crown tournament will join a busy college basketball season. There are already four post-season college basketball tournaments.

  • March Madness – NCAA Basketball Championship
  • NIT – National Invitational Tournament
  • CBI – College Basketball Invitational2
  • CIT – CollegeInsider.com Tournament3

The most serious college basketball fans know that the three smaller tournaments have already crowned a champion. Seattle University won the CBI. Norfolk State University won the CTI. Seton Hall won the NIT.

The NIT has been the consolation tournament for teams that didn’t make March Madness. Between the college transfer portal and NIL (Name Image and Likeness) deals, college sports are changing rapidly.

Nearly 20 teams decided to skip4 the once prestigious college basketball tournament to focus on the next season. This could change with the Fox organizing the College Basketball Crown.

It’s possible teams like St. John’s (Big East) and Indiana University (Big Ten) that skipped the NIT this year would participate in the post-season event organized by their TV partner that is paying millions of dollars for rights to broadcast their games.

The commissioners of the participating leagues all support the College Basketball Crown and look forward to their teams competing in the event in Las Vegas next year. In a press release for the post-season tournament5, Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitt said:

“It is sure to be an exciting post-season opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches and fans across the country.”

This is more support than the commissioners have shared for the other post-season college basketball tournaments.

Las Vegas continues to grow as a sports town

There was a time when the Las Vegas sports scene was headlined by the National Finals Rode0 (NFR) event every December. A lot has changed.

Las Vegas is now home to the Golden Knights of the NHL and Raiders of the NFL. If all goes as planned Las Vegas will become home of the Oakland A’s of MLB and an NBA expansion team in the next few years. This would round out “The Big Four” professional sports.

Even though Las Vegas isn’t home to an NBA team yet, the league has a footprint in Sin City. The two-time WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces are among the most popular local teams in Las Vegas.

The league showcases its young players at the Las Vegas Summer League. Last year, Las Vegas hosted the first In-Season tournament semi-final and championship game.

There are also numerous lower-level professional teams in Las Vegas:

  • Aviators (AAA baseball)
  • Silver Knights (AHL hockey)
  • Lights (USL soccer)
  • Desert Dogs (Lacross)
  • Knight Hawks (IFL football)
  • Thrill (Volleyball)

In addition to being home to all levels of professional sports, Las Vegas is home to the UNLV Rebels. This doesn’t even include Las Vegas being the home of UFC.

The MMA league is based in Las Vegas and holds numerous events in Las Vegas. In September, the UFC 306 will be the Aces (WNBA) to take place at The Sphere.

Last year F1 hit the streets with the Las Vegas Grand Prix. This year the Super Bowl was played at Allegiant Stadium.

There’s plenty of room for special events like the College Basketball Crown.

Sources

  1. NCAA DI MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMP INFO ↩︎
  2. College Basketball Invitational ↩︎
  3. CollegeInsider.com Tournament ↩︎
  4. “Notable” Teams to decline 2024 NIT invitations ↩︎
  5. FOX SPORTS & AEG LAUNCH THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL CROWN: A REIMAGINED POSTSEASON COLLEGE HOOPS TOURNAMENT ↩︎
Photo by AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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Written by
Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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