Long-rumored to be a possibility, the Mountain West announced Tuesday that the 2020 men’s and women’s conference tournaments will begin one week earlier than usual. With the move the women’s tournament will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas from March 1-4, 2020, with the men’s tournament scheduled for March 4-7, 2020.
A major reason for the move was the 2020 edition of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG International Construction Trade Show, which will be held in Las Vegas from March 10-14. The impact of the trade show on the city of Las Vegas is a significant one, with more than 125,000 professionals attending according to the Mountain West press release.
With that can come increases in prices for things such as hotel rooms and airline tickets. The hope, as far as the Mountain West is concerned, is that moving the tournament up a week will keep its fans from feeling too much of an impact in their wallets when it comes to making those purchases.
With regards to the 2020 conference tournaments there was interest from some other cities, including Phoenix and San Diego, to host the event should the Mountain West be willing to move. A move to another city could have allowed the conference to leave its showcase event in the same spot on the calendar, with the men’s title game traditionally being played on the Saturday before Selection Sunday.
With the scheduling change, it will be interesting to see how that extra week impacts the way in which Mountain West teams are viewed by the selection committee. But that’s an issue that won’t be a concern for another couple years. And by making the decision to move the event up a week instead of taking the tournament elsewhere, its clear that the Mountain West places a high value on keeping it in Las Vegas.
Also, the 2019 conference tournaments will be the first year in which they are staggered, with the women’s tournament scheduled to run from Sunday through Wednesday and the men’s tournament running from Wednesday through Saturday.