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Would moving SEC tourney to Nashville annually be an edge for Kentucky?

By LARRY VAUGHT

If Kentucky could pick anywhere other than Rupp Arena for the Southeastern Conference Tournament, my guess is that Nashville would be the first choice. And now it certainly seems likely that may just happen.

The tournament was played again in Nashville last March when the Wildcats lost to Vanderbilt in their first game to set the stage for a NIT bid — and first-round loss at Robert Morris.

Now SEC commissioner Mike Slive is sure sounding like Nashville could be the permanent hope for the tournament.
Slive said Tuesday that  league athletic directors voted unanimously to “authorize the conference to explore a primary site for the men’s basketball tournament.” He didn’t say “permanent,” but that’s certainly what it looks like.

There is certainly precedent for that. The football championship game and baseball tourney both have permanent hopes — and both have been successful.

“We’ve been very successful with our permanent site in football in Atlanta. We’ve been very successful in our permanent site in Hoover (Ala.) in terms of baseball, so the ADs (athletic directors) felt it was time for us to explore the possibility of a primary site for the men’s basketball tournament,” Slive told the Associated Press.

The SEC tourney is already slated to be played in Nashville in 2015, 2016 and 2019 after returning to Atlanta in 2014. Recent tournaments have also been played in Tampa and New Orleans. No site has been announced for 2017 or 2018, but one has to think that could easily be Nashville now, too.

Kentucky fans like New Orleans, Tampa and Atlanta. But they love Nashville. It’s a short drive for most Big Blue fans and the downtown area has plenty for fans to do. There are hotels in all price ranges and some UK fans can even drive back home or a few miles outside the city to attend.

Big Blue fans enjoyed having the football team play in the Music City Bowl. Kentucky should have a horde of fans in Nashville Aug. 31 when the Mark Stoops’ era begins when the Cats play Western Kentucky — and new coach Bobby Petrino.

The question could be how well other SEC athletic directors — and coaches — like the idea of UK having a distinct advantage with the tourney in Nashville. Sure, UK will have more fans in Atlanta, New Orleans or Tampa than other teams, too. But having the tourney annually in Nashville will make it even easier for the Big Blue mist to cover Nashville.

So what do you think? Are you in favor of the tourney moving to Nashville permanently and would it give UK an edge?

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18 comments

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  1. Patty Sue Sutherland

    I do not believe the SEC being played in Nashville would give an edge to Kentucky any more than it being played in any other city. UK fans will travel to the ends of the earth to watch the CATS play in the SEC Tourney or any other tournament game!

    1. larryvaught

      Patty Sue, you could well be right

  2. william "VIC" Allen

    I don’t think it would give them an advantage. Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter where we play, our fans will follow. I have been taking my two grandsons so the SEC tournament since they were 5 years old, and their 16 now, plus to the Final Fours. I will continue, regardless where we play.
    GO BIG BLUE!

  3. Sarah White

    Of course, it is my least favorite venue. I don’t think the seating is as good as other places, and it holds fewer people so ticket scalpers have a great time jacking up the prices. On top of that, when it is Nashville, I have to stay at home and drive back and forth! Boo!

  4. UKFMLY

    You could play the SEC tournament on the MOON and UK would have an advantage.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

    GO BLUE OR STAY HOME

  5. April

    I’d love for it to be in Nashville all the time since that is right in my back yard and I now know how to get great seats! As for the advantage, Kentucky has that no matter where the Tourny is played because the BBN travels to cheer on our team!

    1. larryvaught

      You certainly did have great seats this year April

  6. LindaS

    I hope after the renovations at Rupp they will play there. I did enjoy NOLA and would love to go back.

  7. LindaS

    BTW does anyone know if the attendance was down this year? I never heard or did not pay attention.

  8. TrueBlueJohn

    Linda, I don’t think we will ever see the SEC tournament in Rupp again. In the eyes of the rest of the world, that is too much of an advantage for UK.

  9. Dana L. Short

    Has everyone forgotten “Rupp South” aka The Georgia Dome? Catlanta’s always fun.

  10. Dana L. Short

    Has everyone forgotten “Rupp South” aka The Georgia Dome? Catlanta’s always fun!

  11. Karen Sprinkle

    As others have pointed out, Cats fans will travel anywhere the Cats are in the tournament, so I don’t believe Nashville is an advantage. Theoretically, the advantage would lie with Vandy since Bridgestone Arena is a few blocks from the Vandy campus, so their players could sleep in their own beds each night of the tournament. I’m sure if they took a poll, the Nashville merchants would be in favor of Nashville being the primary site, given that the Big Blue Mist, even in off years, provides a big boost to the local economy. And I agree with TrueBlue, Rupp Arena will never host the SEC tournament again for the reason he listed.

  12. Rog the Rambler

    Atlanta is best. It’s more neutral for ALL! More UK fans can go because the number of seats. And the weather is just a little nicer for walking to the dome. Last it is RUPP SOUTH.

  13. Dana L. Short

    Has everyone forgotten “Rupp South” aka The Georgia Dome? Catlanta’s always fun!!!!!

  14. Marine Corps BBN Member

    I don’t like Nashville because of the elevated floor. I don’t care what anybody says, it makes the players nervous. I am happy to gho to Catlanta! Plus, we have free room and board there! Family lives there so it cuts my expenses!

  15. Kokamo Joe

    Although UK fans will travel to the ends of the earth, even more of them will travel if the tournament is played closer to home.

    Will it be an advantage to UK? Of course. Games there are like home games, and UK does not lose home games.

    What about Vandy? It does not matter. Vandy fans are not crazy supportive as we are. There are times when UK fans flock to a regular season game at Vandy and have almost as many fans as Vandy has.

    The NCAA is about money. UK means money. So what if the moves gives us a leg up.

  16. Jackie

    NASHVILLE!!! It’s closest to KY…..and I’m moving there. Theoretically, it would be more of an advantage for Vandy and the Vols because they are closest to Bridgestone. But UK fans always win the attendance battles.

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