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C-USA switches 2013 tourney venue from Memphis to Tulsa


Once Memphis announced it would leave Conference USA for the Big East after the 2012-13 season, the odds of Memphis staying as host of the 2013 league tournament seemed slim.

Now they’re zero.

The conference announced Monday that it’ll move the 2013 tourney to Tulsa’s BOK Center. The C-USA board of directors considered several options, but decided the same venue that hosted the 2010 event would be fine.

“The University of Tulsa and the state-of-the-art BOK Center were excellent hosts in 2010, which was the first time we had hosted both championships in the same city. “We know the Tulsa community will show the same great support and welcome our other teams and fans,” C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said in a release.

Except, as Gary Parrish notes, it probably won’t do much in attendance.

The 2010 tourney averaged 8,120 fans when the Golden Hurricanes played, a figure that disappointed tourney officials. They’re hoping the 2013 event draws more than 10,000. Not happening.

Unless there’s a discount on Tulsa airfare or a sudden surge in interest by every fan base, there’s little reason to think this mish-mash of schools will draw fans to Tulsa. Not only is Memphis more centrally located, but the Memphis area has about twice as many people living there.

Guess officials don’t mind the swipe at Memphis for bolting even if it hurts the pocketbook.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.