In some conferences in which the chances of receiving an at-large bid are slim (and that’s generous in some cases), there’s been a move to ensure that the regular season champion receives some perks in the conference tournament. In the case of the Big Sky that means the regular season champion gets to host the conference tournament, an eight-team affair scheduled for March 12-14.
In the case of Sacramento State (11-3 Big Sky), which is a half-game out of first place and has hopes of making its first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament, this brought about an important question that needed to be addressed. With their home court deemed unsuitable to host a conference tournament for capacity reasons (it can only hold just over 1,000 spectators), where could the Hornets host the event should they win the regular season title?
Friday afternoon, the Big Sky conference announced that it has come up with the answer.
After inspecting Sacramento State’s recreation and wellness center, the conference determined that the event could be played there should Sacramento State earn the right to host. Preparations will begin immediately, and the good news for Sacramento State is that they’d be able to use the perk meant to reward the regular season champion.
Roughly 3,000 seats, a portable court, a lighting structure, and basketball stanchions will be moved to “The WELL” to create a suitable venue for the championship. The Sacramento Kings NBA franchise will provide the basketball stanchions.
“It’s a beautiful facility,” said Big Sky Conference Deputy Commissioner Ron Loghry, who toured ‘The WELL’ on Thursday. “Everyone on Sacramento State’s campus is working hard to make it a reality. It will be a great venue for the championship.”
With a site determined, the job now for Sacramento State is to go about earning the right to host by winning the regular season title. Brian Katz’s team, led by senior guards Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney, plays its final home game of the season against North Dakota on Saturday.
Following that are three straight road games to end the regular season, and they’ll need help in the form of at least one Eastern Washington (11-2 Big Sky record) loss as well.