After a one-year trial run in Memphis, the American Athletic Conference announced Monday afternoon that its second league tournament will be hosted by the city of Hartford in 2015.
Hartford's XL Center is host to many UConn men's and women's basketball games each season. It's located in the heart of downtown, in a city that lacks nightlife but certainly has the hotels to accomodate a big event like the AAC tourney.
The decision of course comes less than a week after both the UConn men's and women's team won national titles in basketball, matching a feat made for the first time a decade ago, when the Huskies wore the crown in both sports following the 2003-04 season.
"The success of UConn's men's and women's teams this year has made Connecticut the center of college basketball nationally," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. "This event will enjoy tremendous fan support and our visitors will enjoy the many attractions in Hartford and its surrounding communities.”
The XL Center seats 16,294.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said in a statement, “While this is great news for next year, I am even more excited for what this means in the future. I believe we can and should be in consideration for more NCAA tournament events, and I will continue to push to bring those games to our state."
Boon as it is to Hartford, it's only a one-year setup, per reports: Orlando is set to host the 2016 and 2017 AAC tournaments.
As for Memphis, our own Gary Parrish is based out of that city. He shed a little light on why it's out of the discussion for the time being.
On that note, I'll say this: Every administrator/coach/writer/fan I talked with loves Memphis as a tournament site b/c of arena/bars/etc. …— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) April 14, 2014
… But the lack of quality hotels downtown is a major negative. There just aren't enough nice places to stay downtown. That's an issue.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) April 14, 2014
Louisville, which was a one-year transitional member of the American (Cards are headed to the ACC next season), won the league's inaugural tournament in March.
The American will be an 11-team conference next season: Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, USF, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa.