Jeff Reed – Why New Orleans? Must Be the Lake


Jeff Reed Author PageToday I will again address my annual tirade of when the Sun Belt Conference tournament is in New Orleans.

We will start with the reasons why it is in NOLA, a city I dearly love as a long-time member of the WhoDat brotherhood.  But other than the fact that it is New Orleans … well that is about it.

Tuesday, Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson was on The Drive with Brad Bobo and Kara Richey on Jonesboro radio station 95.7 The Ticket. He gave us this gem:  “I’m a proponent of all 12 teams going to the tourney. I don’t know if we’ll ever have the luxury of the set-up we had in Hot Springs.”

OK. That kinda tells you all you need to know. Hot Springs was the ideal location, per the commissioner, and so we are in New Orleans, on the University of New Orleans campus at Lakefront Arena, which is close to, uh, Lake Pontchartrain. And we know that is the top scenic attraction to the Crescent City.

We bring up the tournament because it begins today for the women. UALR, the regular season champion, is on tap to play at 11:30 and Arkansas State, the runner-up, is set to play around 5. Since we don’t have the luxury of driving to Hot Springs to watch you can view on ESPN3.

OK so a lot of this is whining and we all know how good the media is at whining. But Hot Springs was the ideal location for the event and would still be there if the commissioner had not listen so closely to the belly-aching of his presidential friends at Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee because they felt Hot Springs provided too much advantage to a certain Arkansas State. Of course if the commissioner would want to listen to those presidents now he’d have to dial long distance because they bailed on the Sun Belt for Conference-USA.

Anyway all that changes nothing. The games will be played in New Orleans. Arkansas State and UALR are the favorites for the women and could meet in the title game, which would have looked awfully good for the conference crowd-wise if it were played in Hot Springs. But still we have ESPN3.

As for the men, the Trojans are better off than Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are sitting at home and UALR is the sixth seed and will play on Thursday.  But the Trojans have played well as low seeds. They won as an eighth-seed a few years ago.

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Jeff Reed is editor of


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