Vegas 16 selection chairman Jim Livengood said he still believes the postseason basketball tournament will work, but it won’t take place this year.
“We really thought over the last two weeks we still had a good chance,” said Livengood, a former UNLV athletic director. “We felt we needed more confirmation and assurance that teams would be there.”
The Vegas 16 launched last year, but had trouble from the start when organizers invited eight teams. Sparse attendance at Mandalay Bay Events Center marked the debut of the tournament, won by Old Dominion, but organizers believed they had a strong concept that would eventually catch on.
Livengood said he still believes in the format, which is modeled after football bowls where fans travel to experience the host city as much as the game itself.
But Livengood said playing two weeks after Selection Sunday was problematic because many teams didn’t want to play so long after conference tournaments had ended. He also said competing with the more established College Basketball Invitational and CollegeInsider.com Tournament was difficult.
“Also, more and more we were seeing from a contractual sense if you weren’t in the NCAA Tournament or (National Invitation Tournament), you were not in the postseason,” Livengood said.