Watch the officiating in today’s UConn vs. Cincinnati quarterfinal of the AAC tournament. It might have a decidedly Husky bias.
If a few calls here and there go UConn’s way, don’t be surprised.
The AAC desperately needs UConn to advance past Friday’s quarterfinals.
Attendance on Day 1 at the tournament, which was moved from Memphis to Hartford after last season was dreadful. Even for the UConn game.
According to the Hartford Courant, even UConn only drew 5,431 for their quarterfinal game. Attendance at the earlier games was rumored to be in the hundreds.
To be fair, nobody in Hartford could have imagined UConn would be playing on Thursday (without a bye), so advanced sales couldn’t have been strong.
Even still, that’s a bad start for the tournament in Hartford. It’s a bad look for the AAC, which also struggled to fill FedExForum for non Memphis games last year. The tournament is moving to Orlando next year and one can’t imagine it doing any better there.
Perhaps the best solution is one floated a few years ago – play the event in the historic Philadelphia Palestra. It seats less than 10k, is a wonderful venue for college basketball purists, is located in the home city of one of the stronger programs (Temple) and central to few others (UConn, Cincinnati).
Surely, Memphis fans would want to visit the City of Brotherly Love. Philly is a college hoops down and the tournament could build a local following.
I asked AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco about the Palestra last year. He said the logistics didn’t work.
Perhaps he should re-think that. They don’t appear to be working anywhere else either.