Posted at: 02/18/2013 7:13 PM
Updated at: 02/18/2013 7:18 PM
By: J.P. Murrieta, KOB Eyewitness Sports 4
Last week the Mountain West announced their intentions to keep the Conference Tournament in Las Vegas through 2016. That’s good news to Lobo fans who flock to Las Vegas every March. UNM head coach Steve Alford is still looking to get it moved to another arena other than the Thomas and Mack Center.
“I think the conference tournament is first class, but all us coaches have concerns at having it at one site to where it doesn’t rotate or it’s not your traditional neutral site,” said Alford during this week's conference call.
The coaches have voted on this issue for the past five years and nothing has changed. “I’m not sure if there’s anything we can do about that,” Alford said.
Alford says the vote has always been unanimous among the coaches to move it to a neutral floor, but the coaches have gotten resistance from the school presidents and athletic directors.
“The coaches have been up for anything that’s not in the Thomas and Mack Center,” explained Alford. “Fans like it in Vegas and I think the coaches don’t have a problem with it being in Las Vegas. Coaches are going to complain about it, and I’m one of ‘em,” he said. “It’s as good of a tournament as I’ve ever been in, my only complaint is that it’s in the building of an institution of our league. It is an NCAA bid that’s on the line and making the tournament is a big deal. If you want true fairness, that’s always been my complaint, being at a host institution all the time.”
“Nobody will be able to tell me any different that it’s not a tremendous advantage for UNLV,” Alford said.
Of the 10 times the tournament’s been held at the Thomas & Mack Center since 2000, the Runnin’ Rebels have played in the tournament title game six times (winning it three of those years).