New AAC puts 1st men’s tournament in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The new American Athletic Conference will hold its first men’s basketball tournament at the FedExForum in Memphis next March.
The tournament will be held March 12-15 with all games televised by ESPN’s networks and the championship on ESPN.
FedExForum, which seats 18,400, is off historic Beale Street and home to the Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis men’s basketball team. The arena will host the NCAA tournament’s South Regional two weeks after the American Athletic Conference tournament.
The announcement was made by Commissioner Mike Aresco, who lauded the tournament as a “wonderful event that our teams, coaches, administrators and fans will embrace and enjoy.”
Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen called it an exciting day after a collaboration involving the arena, the university and city of Memphis.
“This is monumental and dynamic for this new conference,” Bowen said. “We believe it will be a great tournament for this city, our fans and for Tigers everywhere.”
Memphis coach Josh Pastner said all of the league’s basketball coaches agreed at the conference meetings recently that the best place to hold a tournament was Memphis. He said even Louisville coach Rick Pitino called into the league meeting to endorse Memphis for the tournament.
“For all of the other coaches to say the best place to be is right here, that’s just a great credit to the fans,” Pastner said in a statement.