Center of the sports universe

If you clicked on “SportsCenter” late Saturday evening to catch up on the day’s highlights, you undoubtedly noticed the constant updates coming from UFC 196 at the MGM Grand Garden. First, it was the report of Miesha Tate’s stunning upset of Holly Holm — who herself was coming off an even more stunning upset of Ronda Rousey back in November. Then, as the 10 o’clock hour rolled around, word got out that the flamboyant and heavily favored Conor McGregor lost to Nate Diaz in the night’s main event.

Throughout Sunday afternoon on Fox, Las Vegas Motor Speedway was in the spotlight as host of the NASCAR Weekend-capping Sprint Cup race. And if you flipped back over to ESPN on Tuesday night, you’d have heard renowned play-by-play voice Brent Musberger and bombastic color commentator Dick Vitale calling the West Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament final between Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s, live from the Orleans Arena.

Make no mistake, Las Vegas was the center of the sports universe the past few days, and it arguably will remain in that role for the next week-and-a-half, thanks to college basketball’s March Madness reaching fever pitch. Taking place throughout the rest of this week are the Mountain West Conference men’s and women’s tournaments (Thomas &Mack Center), the Pac-12 Conference men’s tournament (MGM Grand Garden) and the Western Athletic Conference men’s and women’s tournaments (Orleans Arena).

Then we get Selection Sunday, and on March 17-18, the two best days of the year to spend in a sports book as the men’s NCAA Tournament gets in full swing.

No other city in the world can offer — nor even handle — so many high-profile events and the tremendous crowd of tourists they bring. Las Vegas, take a bow. But the party’s just getting started.

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