LAS VEGAS - The Western Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that the 2011 and 2012 WAC Basketball Tournaments will be held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
"We are excited that the WAC Tournament is moving to the Orleans Arena," Fresno State's head women Adrian Wiggins said. "It is a great venue that will provide an excellent college basketball atmosphere. This will be a great opportunity for our conference to showcase the great basketball talent we have in the WAC."
The 2011 WAC Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament will be held March 9-12 and will include the top eight teams in the regular-season standings.
"The Orleans is a great facility and the opportunity to compete at a neutral site in Las Vegas will generate excitement among the student athletes and the fans," Fresno State's head men's basketball coach Steve Cleveland said of the decision.
The move to a neutral site was recently approved by the WAC Board of Directors. This marks the second time that the WAC Basketball Tournament will be played in Las Vegas. From 1997-99, the tournament was played at the Thomas & Mack Center when UNLV was a member of the conference.
"We are excited to build on our relationship with the WAC by hosting their championship basketball tournaments," said Darren Davis, Orleans Arena Executive Director. "As we saw last year, these tournaments are significant tourism draws for our community, and we are excited to welcome another major conference in Las Vegas."
In April of this year, the conference announced that the 2009 WAC Volleyball Tournament will be held at the Orleans Arena. The Fresno State men's basketball team participated in the 2008 Las Vegas Classic at the Orleans Arena, which also hosts the annual collegiate basketball Las Vegas Invitational and several other sporting events including AVP Volleyball, Las Vegas Wranglers hockey, Las Vegas Gladiators arena football, the West Coast Conference's basketball tournaments and several boxing and mixed martial arts events.
"Over the last couple of years, it has become more critical and important to find a neutral site to satisfy the concerns of our men's and women's coaches," WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said. "WAC fans have shown that they enjoy traveling to Las Vegas and I am certain the Orleans Arena will create a great tournament atmosphere."
This is the first time the WAC has held their basketball tournaments at a neutral location since 1994, when Salt Lake City's Delta Center served as the host.
The 2010 tournament will be played in Reno, Nevada at the University's Lawlor Events Center. This past year, Nevada also hosted the tournament as the Bulldog women won their second-straight conference title and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
About The WAC
The Western Athletic Conference was formed in 1962 and is comprised of nine member institutions: Boise State, Fresno State, Hawai'i, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State. The WAC crowns team and individual champions in 19 sports - eight men's and 11 women's. The WAC office is located in Denver, Colo. For more information on the conference, visit www.wacsports.com.
About The Orleans
Located at 4500 W. Tropicana Ave., The Orleans includes more than a dozen restaurants, an 18-screen movie theater, 70-lane bowling center, 850-seat showroom and the 9,500-seat Orleans Arena. More information on The Orleans Hotel and Casino can be found at www.orleanscasino.com.