<
>

3-point shot: SEC aims for tourney roots

5/29/2013

1. The SEC is constantly looking for consistency as a league in college basketball; football has never been the issue. Kentucky and Florida are regular national players, but the rest of the league has struggled. One thing it needs is a destination for its conference tournament. Commissioner Mike Slive told reporters at the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., Tuesday that there was a unanimous vote to put the tournament in one location, with reports calling Nashville, Tenn., the likely destination. Perfect. The SEC needs to grow the tournament in one spot. Nashville can support it locally, and it's close to Vanderbilt, Tennessee and, of course, Kentucky, and not far from Arkansas, if the Hogs were to re-emerge as a player. Nashville is also a destination city in the Southeast. The SEC tournament is slated for Nashville in 2015, '16 and '19; the 2014 edition will be at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Putting the tournament back in an NBA/NHL-size arena makes more sense, since it should be more intimate. The Big East had and will continue to have Madison Square Garden. The Pac-12 is trying to make Las Vegas its tourney home. The Big 12 has a good thing going with a rotation of Kansas City. Mo., and Dallas, while the Big Ten is doing it right with Chicago and Indianapolis. The ACC had Greensboro as its home, outside of a few years when the event rotated elsewhere, but that league is changing, so spreading out to the Northeast will work given new membership. But the SEC can't take its show on the road as much. Having one home would definitely help the conference tournament grow.

2. Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn handed in his resignation, and while the football program has struggled, Bohn hit a home run on his basketball hire. Bohn took a chance when he hired Tad Boyle, a former Kansas player, from nearby Northern Colorado. Boyle coached the Bears for four years, reaching the CIT in his final year. The big state schools don't usually look to a lesser-known state school to raise a program's profile -- yet Boyle has turned the Buffs into a major player in the West and in the Pac-12. The Buffs have gone to the NIT semifinals, won a Pac-12 tournament and a game in the NCAA tournament, then got back to the NCAAs last season. Basketball is a happening in Boulder now. The buzz is real. So while Bohn might have had his faults and the football program can be put atop the list, he got basketball right and should be given credit for taking a chance on Boyle. Boyle returned the loyalty by staying in Boulder this past spring when he could have pursued other opportunities.

3. Missouri coach Frank Haith took in Baylor transfer Deuce Bello for two years; the guard must sit out a year before playing. The Tigers have found a way to benefit from being in Big 12 territory but playing in the SEC. Missouri can be a home for wayward transfers who don't want to leave the area but can still play in a different conference. It will be interesting to track how often Missouri gets a transfer from the Big 12. Haith has gone with transfers quite a bit since taking over in Columbia two years ago. He'll likely continue on that path, with transfers complementing high school recruits.