Memphis will host 2014 American Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Championship
June 11, 2013
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., one of the nation's premier basketball venues, will be the site of the 2014 American Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Championship, Commissioner Mike Aresco announced.
"We are very excited to have the first American Athletic Conference championship at FedExForum," said Aresco. "We received significant interest from many outstanding venues. FedExForum is an outstanding facility and the Forum, the city of Memphis, the University of Memphis and the local community will combine to create a wonderful inaugural event that our teams, coaches, administrators and fans will embrace and enjoy."
Added Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen, "It's an exciting day. It's been an ongoing collaboration taking place between FedExForum, the University of Memphis, the city of Memphis and others involved in this process. This is monumental and dynamic for this new conference. We believe it will be a great tournament for this city, our fans and for Tigers everywhere."
The dates of the 2014 championship are March 12-15. Each game of the 10-team tournament will be televised on the ESPN networks. The championship game on Saturday, March 15, will be televised on ESPN. The tournament will begin with two first-round games on Wednesday, March 12. Two quarterfinal doubleheaders will be played on Thursday, March 13, followed by a semifinal doubleheader on Friday, March 14. Game times will be announced at a later date.
"At the league meetings a few weeks ago, all of the basketball coaches said the best place to hold a tournament was here in Memphis," said Memphis men's basketball head coach Josh Pastner. "In fact, Coach (Rick) Pitino, even though he wasn't at the league meeting, he had called and said the best place was here. That, number one, is a credit to the entire fan base and all of Tiger nation: the fans, the city and the entire Mid-south to make this environment what it is. For all of the other coaches to say the best place to be is right here, that's just a rare credit to the fans."
FedExForum has a seating capacity of 18,400. It is located off historic Beale Street and its vibrant and popular entertainment district.
FedExForum is the home to the University of Memphis men's basketball team and the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. The building also has hosted regional rounds of the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. After the American Athletic Championship, it will host the South Regional semifinal and final rounds of the 2014 NCAA Championship.
The first season of men's basketball under The American banner will include a very strong nucleus of teams, starting with Louisville, the 2013 national champion. Memphis is coming off a 31-5 season, which included advancing to the third round of the NCAA Championship. Temple also played in the third round of the NCAAs while compiling a 24-10 mark. Cincinnati finished 22-12 while participating in its third straight NCAA tourney. Connecticut, UCF and Houston all enjoyed 20-win seasons.
"I'd like to give credit to Tom Bowen for him to be able to put this together to get the conference's first tournament here," Pastner said. "When you think of the other top economic schools in the conference, what Tom Bowen did to get that together is not easy. That's a big thing not only for this University, but also for this city."
For 2013-14, the American Athletic Conference will include the University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, University of Houston, University of Louisville, University of Memphis, Rutgers University, University of South Florida, Southern Methodist University, and Temple University.