With four men’s and three women’s college basketball postseason conference tournaments plus one college bowl game being held in Las Vegas, it’s not surprising that the NCAA is rethinking its ban on having its men’s basketball tournament there. Over the past two weeks, the Mountain West, Pac-12, WAC and WCC have held their tournaments in the desert and one high-profile ESPN personality who was assigned to call the WCC Tournament likes that idea. That personality is none other than Brent Musburger who as we know, loves to make references to the point spread and his “friends in the desert.”
After attending three conference tournaments in Las Vegas last year, NCAA President Mark Emmert appears to be softening on preventing any Championships from being played there:
“I think the membership is trying to figure out what’s the right way to approach this issue again,” Emmert said at the Intercollegiate Athlete Forum in New York. “Where does the membership want to be in this space? How do you manage what often seems to be a hypocritical stance? Let’s talk about it.”
And bringing this back to Musburger, he feels the time is right for Las Vegas to host NCAA Championship events especially after seeing sold out crowds for the WCC and the Pac-12 Tournaments:
“Nobody puts on a show like Las Vegas,” he said. “The fans love to come in. Are you going to put the Pac-12 in Los Angeles and have an empty stadium? You’re better off coming to Vegas.
“If I didn’t have the Big 12 tournament, I would stay right here. This is the capital before March Madness starts. I tell everybody, at least once you have got to come out as a fan and go into those sports books for the first week of the (NCAA) tournament.”
Isn’t that quintessential Brent? But what about the fear that the players might go to the casinos to gamble or get involved in a criminal element like point shaving? Musburger says it’s easy, tell the kids to “stay out of the sports books” and says the idea of point shaving or fixing a game is obsolete, “It isn’t like guys are running around town trying to fix games,” he said. “That era is long, long gone.”
Not only that, Musburger told Rich Eisen that he’s going to be in Vegas for the NCAA Tournament:
Brent Musburger just told me he's going to Vegas w his wife for March Madness:
Me: "You bringing a book to read?"
Him: "Yes, called Maker"
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) March 14, 2016
And if the NCAA Tournament ever held one of its championship events in Las Vegas, you know the one man who would be front-and-center at the event would be Musburger.