Big Sky, Reno Announce Basketball Championships Agreement - News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky, Reno Announce Basketball Championships Agreement

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The Big Sky Conference postseason basketball tournaments are headed to Reno. The Big Sky and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority announced Friday a three-year agreement that will bring both men's and women's tournament to western Nevada.

Beginning next season and continuing through 2018, both tournaments will be played at the downtown Reno Events Center. Constructed in 2005, the REC can accommodate 5,000 fans when set in a basketball configuration.

Reno won the bid over a number of other interested host cities, including Missoula, which put in a proposal to host the women's tournament.

“This was an exhaustive process,” said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. “Reno and the folks we worked with did a spectacular job representing their community. We're extremely excited about going to Reno for our championships.

“One thing that always impressed me about Reno is that it's a lot like the communities we have in the Big Sky. It's a very similar feel. I know we're going to be welcomed. The coaches and the fans attending are going to feel very good about going to Reno.”

All 12 men's and all 12 women's teams from the conference will participate in the upcoming tournaments, which will extend over six days.

The dates and tournament format will be announced at a later date, though the likely schedule will be the top four teams in the standings earning byes to the quarterfinals, with teams seeded 5 through 12 meeting in four first-round games.

That would put either men's or women's first-round games on day one, the four other first-round games on day two, men's or women's quarterfinals on day three, the other quarterfinals on day four, four semifinals on day five and the two championship games on day six.

“It is a great honor for Reno to be chosen as the host city for the Big Sky Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments for the next three years,” said Reno Tahoe USA President and CEO Christopher Baum.

“We're looking forward to providing a modern, neutral, high-capacity playing facility for this prestigious sporting event, and we eagerly anticipate hosting the thousands of athletes, coaches and spectators it will draw through 2018.”

Moving to a predetermined, neutral site for its men's and women's basketball tournaments ends more than two decades of the Big Sky Conference awarding its conference tournament to the regular-season champion.

The league has also limited the number of teams in the tournament in previous years. In 2015, the top eight men's and top eight women's teams qualified.

Seven communities submitted bids to host either the men's or women's tournaments, or both. Five finalists were selected by a committee comprised of a university president, two athletics directors, a senior woman administrator, a faculty athletics representative and an outside consultant.

The committee toured each city and venue in February and March, and then forwarded a recommendation to conference administrators and university presidents.

“Our committee looked at a number of different criteria,” said Big Sky Conference Deputy Commissioner Ron Loghry. “Finding a neutral home for our championships was one of, if not the most important, pieces of the puzzle. All of the cities we visited did a tremendous job showcasing their cities and venues.

“Our committee is confident Reno provides us the best opportunity to showcase our men's and women's basketball programs in a neutral, predetermined setting. Our student-athletes and coaches will have a great experience, as will our fans.”

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