Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 | 10:20 a.m.
Following an embarrassing road loss, its fourth in a row, Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Taylor Bern discuss the state of the Rebels as they prepare to host rival San Diego State on Saturday.
The Mountain West Conference will continue holding its postseason basketball tournaments in Las Vegas.
The league announced Friday that its board of directors approved a three-year deal with Las Vegas Events to hold the men’s and women’s championships at the Thomas & Mack Center through the 2016 season.
“Las Vegas is a destination city, and in recent years has become a hotbed for NCAA basketball,” Craig Thompson, the Mountain West commissioner, said in a statement. “Extensive research has proven that MW fans prefer this location over any other, and our partnership with Las Vegas Events and the Thomas & Mack Center enables us to put on a first-class event, filled with the excitement and competitive spirit that defines Mountain West basketball.”
The lower bowl seats at the Mack are already sold out for this year’s event March 12 to 16, following a pattern from past tournaments where the average attendance exceeded 12,000. That includes sellouts of 18,500 for the 2010 semifinals and the 2011 semifinals and championship.
Some Mountain West coaches have previously argued hometown UNLV is at an unfair advantage because the tournament is played in its home arena.
However, the Rebels last won the tournament in 2008, and fans from other universities have outnumbered Rebel supporters in recent years. In total, UNLV has won three of the 11 Mountain West tournaments at the Mack, San Diego State has won four conference tournaments and New Mexico won last year for its second title.