The vision is enticing. Fourteen major schools flood into Kansas City for the SEC Basketball Tournament. Thousands of Kentucky fans take over the Power and Light district for four days and nights.
Florida fans turn Westport into "Gator Beach" for a weekend. Frank Martin brings his Gamecocks on a tour of KC BBQ joints.
Kansas City hotels and motels are booked up. Restaurants and bars overflow with Razorback faithful. Missouri can once again call Kansas City "Tiger Country."
The only problem with this scenario is, unless some major things change, it will never happen.
The SEC wants it. Tiger fans want it. But Kansas City officials have said, "no, thank you."
KC officials weighed the Big 12 tournament versus the SEC tournament, and voted Big 12.
The reason is simple: KC can have the Big 12 event every year, while the SEC wants to sign up for one or two years.
There is no way the SEC will lock its tournament into Kansas City for the long-term. Not when they have domes in Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa, Houston and St. Louis. Not when they have NBA arenas in Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Houston and New Orleans (although the Pelicans' building is a dump).
In a perfect world, Arrowhead Stadium would have a removable roof, and would be available to host the SEC, while the Big 12 could reign downtown at the Sprint Center. But, absent two first-class venues (and don't even mention Kemper Arena), Kansas City is a one-tourney town, and for the foreseeable future, that tournament is the Big 12.
MU officials don't like it, but the Big 12's commitment to Kansas City runs deeper than the SEC's.
So, when it comes to the excitement sweeping through Kansas City this week, Tiger fans will once again find themselves on the outside looking in. It is a sad scenario for a Mizzou fan base that used to live for this week.
If you are looking for winners and losers, I guess I count the Big 12 as the winner, but there's no way the SEC's a loser, not when they have so many other great host cities. The only real losers might be my MU friends, who can no longer prowl Westport bragging about what they will do to KU or K-State.
Of course, in the end, perhaps all area hoops fans are losers.
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