Tuesday, November 13, 2007

College Basketball Conference Tournament Reviews

Good evening, this blog is loving the return of the college hoops season! Having ventured to 14 separate conference tournaments since 2004, this blog figured it would write up some grades (mainly Bs) for each of the tournaments, as well as some commentary.

Tournament: Atlantic 10
Year Visited: 2007
Location: Atlantic City, pre-determined
Weather: Shitty. 30s and blizzard followed by 40s and windy
Ticket Cost: $300.00 for 11 games
Seat Location: 2nd Row
Free Stuff: Pontiac "spike bag," Geico winter hats and cups, Atlantic City pens, Salt Water Taffy, Atlantic 10 bottle

Good tournament, quality of play was high, sent 2 teams to the NCAAs. Fans generally friendly, sweet venue in Boardwalk Hall. Unfortunately fairly expensive for food and lodging. Close to malls. Average of $27.27 per game on tickets not bad. Was able to get a hat for 10 bucks the last day of the tourney. If it weren't for the weather and the crappy hotel, this could have been a lot more fun. Overall Grade: B

Tournament: Atlantic Sun
Year Visited: 2004
Location: Nashville, (rotates), pre-determined
Weather: Balmy. 60s and sunny
Ticket Cost: < $50.00 for 7 games (Pun City went to 3)
Seat Location: Front Row
Free Stuff: Foam distractor from Troy State's boosters

Quality of play was low, but intensity was great. Saw a miracle 11-point comeback by Troy State over Georgia State within the last 3:00. First-ever exposure to Central Florida's awesome fight song. Very new arena (Curb Events Center) at a scenic campus (Belmont). First come-first served seating. One high school-esque concession stand, those are great for the prices. Was able to get a hat for 5 bucks the last day of the tourney. $16.67 per game is awesome, especially since it could have been better if Pun City went the all-session route. This blog would have liked to have spent more time there, but feels it got the gist of it. Overall Grade: B

Tournament: Big Ten
Year Visited: 2006
Location: Indianapolis, (previously rotated), pre-determined
Weather: Unseasonably awesome. 70s and sunny
Ticket Cost: $50.00 for 1 game
Seat Location: Upper deck. Moved to 2nd of 3 decks for 2nd half.
Free Stuff: National Guard towel, t-shirt; Big Ten beads, AT&T ball, 7up cans

Pun City tacked on the Big Ten to a 3-conference trip. It was not a great move in hindsight. The amount of free stuff and great location of Indianapolis were nice consolations to this blog being dead tired the whole day. Ticket cost hurt. Having to drive 6 hours after the game ended at 5:00 and work the next day hurt more. Pun City would love to get to this whole tournament some time instead of just seeing the final while worn out. This is weak, but Pun City thinks it's only fair: Overall Grade: Incomplete

Tournament: Big West
Year Visited: 2005
Location: Anaheim, pre-determined
Weather: Expectedly great. 70s and sunny
Ticket Cost: $50.00 for 7 games (Pun City went to 3)
Seat Location: 10th row. Moved to front row for 2 games.
Free Stuff: Discount at ESPNZone and Disneyland. Pun City won a basket with Big West pencils, cheese, crackers, Mickey Mouse lawn ornament, Disneyland blanket, wine glasses, Disneyland book, concert tickets, and an ESPNZone gift card in a halftime contest.

Cool tournament. Quality of play was high, sent 2 teams to the NCAAs. People were friendly, winning the halftime contest was huge. Interesting venue, this blog doesn't think it hosts too many sports outside of just this tournament. $7.14 per ticket is a good deal, although the final alone cost $25.00 and this blog's cost was actually $16.67 per game. Conveniently across the street from Disneyland, although this blog didn't partake. Overall Grade: B

Tournament: Colonial
Year Visited: 2007
Location: Richmond, pre-determined
Weather: Great. 50s and sunny
Ticket Cost: $50.00 for 11 games
Seat Location: 8th row in the corner
Free Stuff: VCU Ball, Richmond Press Gazette Newspapers and pencils, GMU Pom, Army bag, Health Center Stress ball, Massager, Tape Measure

Probably the ideal tournament. Very high quality of play, very intense games, lots of free stuff, friendly people. George Mason lasting the entire run of the tournament and more than justifying this blog's asking for (and receiving, thanks Moike) a GMU jersey was a huge plus. The Richmond Coliseum is a decent venue, although in the middle of nowhere as far as retailers. Pun City enjoyed its stay in Richmond, a very underrated town. Ridiculously awesome price of $4.55 per game is groin-grabbingly amazing. Overall Grade: A+

Tournament: Conference USA
Year Visited: 2006
Location: Memphis, pre-determined
Weather: Great. 60s and sunny
Ticket Cost: $150.00 for 11 games
Seat Location: 15th row, halfcourt
Free Stuff: UAB towel, various pompoms (Memphis, UAB)

A pretty cool tournament. Level of play high with 2 NCAA teams. Sold out atmosphere when Memphis played. Empty when they didn't. $13.64 per game a good value. Memphis is an awesome town, primarily downtown. Extremely friendly people. Unfortunately no real sponsors with freebies coupled with expensive concessions. Although, getting food outside the arena is much better anyway (albeit not cheap either). Half-bizarre, half-awesome FedEx Zone is a little surreal but of note. Fans can play FedEx-themed games there, fun and corporate, so a double bonus there. Tickets checked like crazy. Overall Grade: B

Tournament: Horizon
Years Visited: 2004, 2005
Location: Milwaukee, based on seed, very challenging to plan
Weather: Lousy. 30s, brisk
Ticket Cost: $20.00 for 1 game
Seat Location: 5th row and 30th row, UWM student section
Free Stuff: UWM pom pom

Only a one-bid conference. Play very intense. Extremely drunk crowd. Fun to see the intensity up close from the student section, A-Sun is the only other comparable tournament where Pun City has had access to a student section. Not very corporate because of the late-determined site. This blog would really prefer a neutral site with some corporate sponsorship, but there is something to be said about a sellout crowd blowing the roof off, even if it isn't too cool for the visitors. This blog would like to catch the full tournament some time, but it's tough to do especially when Pun City road trips it each year. Overall Grade: B-

Tournament: MEAC
Year Visited: 2007
Location: Raleigh, pre-determined
Weather: Great, as Pun City figured. 60s and sunny
Ticket Cost: $15.00 for 2 games
Seat Location: 3rd row, halfcourt
Free Stuff: KB Home cup, pen and ball, MEAC pin, Navy pen, lanyard and ball

This blog only got to two games, so not ideal, Pun City realizes. Pun City would have liked to have stayed around Raleigh longer. Also lacking was that they were the opening round games so very few fans were in attendance. Definitely a cultural experience, the vendors in the hall made it seem like an outdoor market brought inside. This was pretty cool though after Pun City finally tracked down a MEAC Tournament shirt. Quality of play was very low. Rivalries were intense but this was mainly in the cheerleading and band departments, not on the floor. This blog wouldn't mind catching the full tourney some time, but it's not a priority. Overall Grade: B-

Tournament: Mid-Continent (Now Summit League)
Year Visited: 2006
Location: Tulsa, pre-determined
Weather: Great. 60s and sunny. Maybe even a little hotter some days.
Ticket Cost: $50.00 for 7 mens games and 7 women's games (Pun City went to 4 Mens and 3 Womens)
Seat Location: 2nd row, behind basket
Free Stuff: Ice cream snacks (3 times), Mid-Con t-shirt, Western Illinois t-shirt, JJ Jumper beads

Good tournament. Watching the womens games wasn't as bad as this blog figured it would be. Plus, it was a good time-killer in Tulsa. In fairness though, Tulsa has a few things to do, so killing time wasn't needed too much. Hosted by a high school, concessions at high school prices, which is awesome. This blog remembers getting a hot dog, chips, and a soda for the same price as a Missouri Valley Conference soda. $7.14 per men's game and $3.57 ($3.57!) per any game is a heck of a deal. Only 1 NCAA bid, but games were intense. Pun City watched Chicago State complete a miracle comeback. Trailing 52-39 with 9:32 left, the Cougars went on a 24-5 run and won 75-66 in regulation. Over 4 points per minute is a nice clip. No vendors around the arena, but easily catchable giveaways in the sparsely attended day games made up for it and then some. Overall Grade: B+

Tournament: Missouri Valley
Year Visited: 2006
Location: St. Louis, pre-determined
Weather: Great. 60s, somewhat windy.
Ticket Cost: $80.00 for 9 games
Seat Location: 40th row, moved to 2nd row for 3 or 4 games
Free Stuff: MVC pens, National Guard t-shirts and wristband, State Farm "spike bag," coffee mug, radio, and calculator

Great tournament. 3 NCAA bids, probably should have had 4 and made a case for 5. Crazy fans, excellent freebies. Concessions way expensive and unfortunately only one mall with food options within walking distance. $8.89 per game is a great deal, especially for this quality of basketball. Pun City liked St. Louis a lot too, really a good spot. Overall Grade: A-

Tournament: Ohio Valley
Year Visited: 2004
Location: Nashville, pre-determined but rotates
Weather: Great. 60s and sunny.
Ticket Cost: $20.00 for 1 game
Seat Location: 32nd row
Free Stuff: None

Pun City was only there for one game, didn't have a chance to take it all in. Only one bid. Gotta do it: Overall Grade: Incomplete

Tournament: Pac 10
Year Visited: 2005
Location: Los Angeles, pre-determined
Weather: Great. 70s and sunny.
Ticket Cost: $240.00 for 7 games (Pun City went to 3)
Seat Location: 50th row
Free Stuff: Game Programs, Foam ball and basket from Cooper Tires

High quality of play. Ushers horrible. Ticket prices steep, although Pun City brought that on itself a bit. Concessions way way ridiculously high. Arizona fans are jags. Parking way high. Overall Grade: D+

Tournament: Sun Belt
Year Visited: 2004
Location: Bowling Green, KY, pre-determined but rotates
Weather: Good. 60s (it was night time).
Ticket Cost: $25.00 for 1 game
Seat Location: Upper Deck, moved to 2nd row
Free Stuff: Foam brick, mini ball, Sun Belt cup, Nokia cup

Only went to one game, extremely friendly people, one-bid league, would have liked to have stayed longer. The amount of free stuff compared with how long Pun City was there is a lot in hindsight. EA Diddle Arena is a great arena. Grade would probably improve after a second visit, but Pun City's tired of the incompletes. Overall Grade: B-

Tournament: WAC
Year Visited: 2005
Location: Reno, pre-determined but rotates
Weather: Great. 70s and sunny.
Ticket Cost: $50.00 for 4 games
Seat Location: 50th row, moved down to 20th row for 1 game.
Free Stuff: Mini ball, WAC Towel with credit card signup

Good quality of play, intense games. 2-bid league. Fairly nice but crazy people. Pun City was tired from a long overnight drive for these. Lawler Events Center is a cool venue. Reno seems worth visiting again. Probably would be cool to catch this one in its entirity some time. Overall Grade: C+

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Blogger GoBrewersGo said...

Is the WAC Towel your Favorite Towel?

9:51 PM  
Blogger Cooler Brian said...

Hahaha, -Nice-. Well I don't use it ever, but I guess that way it stays in mint condition?

10:07 PM  

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