For the first time since 2004, Hartford's XL Center will not host the women's Big East Tournament. The Big East, which is now officially known as the American Athletic Conference, has reached an agreement to play the tournament at Mohegan Sun.
“We look forward to this partnership,” said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco, via the Hartford Courant. “Mohegan Sun Arena offers our student-athletes, coaches and fans the best of many things –a world-class facility, a great destination and committed management. We feel that being at Mohegan Sun will enhance an already very successful women’s tournament experience.”
And Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, echoed Aresco's sentiments.
“We could not be more pleased to have been selected as the site of the American Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship,” he said. “We believe we are the absolute best location for this tournament. Mohegan Sun has a long history of producing world-class events and we will work with the Conference to create an experience that is truly memorable for not only the student-athletes and coaches, but for each and every person who attends.”
Because there will only be 10 teams in the AAC for the 2013-14 season -- UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and Cincinnati, along with new members SMU, Houston, Temple, Central Florida and Memphis -- the tournament will span just four days, beginning on March 7. The March 10 championship game will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2, according to the Courant.
Louisville will leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014-15, and the AAC will welcome new members Tulane, Tulsa and East Carolina at that time.
The Mohegan Sun-AAC Tournament partnership is a one-year deal with a conference option for the 2015 championship, reports the Courant.