My Take: On which was better Food... Jackson by a mile... Hotels.... Jackson Facility: Frankfort for teams and athletes. As far as fans I like Oman better in terms of food choices and prices. However, the seating was better at Franfort. Attendance: I think the tourney really suffered. Freed, Union, (Lambuth) all drew tremendously better than the Mid South teams. The Town... Out side of Buddy's Pizza. Jackson is the better town.
My Take: On which was better Food... Jackson by a mile... Hotels.... Jackson Facility: Frankfort for teams and athletes. As far as fans I like Oman better in terms of food choices and prices. However, the seating was better at Frankfort. Attendance: I think the tourney really suffered. Freed, Union, (Lambuth) all drew tremendously better than the Mid South teams. The Town... Out side of Buddy's Pizza. Jackson is the better town.
I would say this as well: there are a lot of issues that need to be worked out with time, and I believe they will. The attendance IMO really only suffered compared to the night sessions where Freed and Union were both playing at the same time. Those two teams both drew tremendously well, and they packed Oman Arena out in the evening sessions, but the daytime sessions where Union and Freed weren't playing were never tremendously strong attendance-wise in Jackson. Having said that, I have a hard time believing that the attendance will EVER reach the levels it did for those Freed-Union nights, regardless of where the tournament is held.
The main issue that I kept hearing when I was there was the number of volunteers they had in Frankfort (I was told it was in the neighborhood of 40 people for most of the week) compared to Jackson (where there were literally hundreds of volunteers at the tournament). I know that could be partly due to the fact that the people in the city of Frankfort really couldn't have known what to expect from the tournament. My hope is that in future years - and I believe it will come true at least to a certain extent - the tournament committee will have an easier time finding volunteers to help make the tournament great.
That's a tough time to engage folks in the local community that are interested in basketball. You're always going to be up against Kentucky and Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, plus the Kentucky high school basketball Sweet 16's are huge events. If Georgetown defects to the NCAA, that will be another big blow for the folks in Frankfort by taking out the local school angle. Cumberlands, Campbellsville, and Lindsey Wilson are all in the two hour drive range, give or take a little bit. Still, that's not like having G-town that is a 20 minute drive away. Lots of things for Frankfort to overcome if it's ever going to match Jackson for volunteers and spectators.
With all the teams that are leaving for the NCAA, especially the KY/TN schools, where can the tourney go that would draw a lot of interest and be centrally located? On the Friday of the tourney we went into a restaurant and the person at the counter wasn't really aware of the event happening a few blocks away. Oklahoma would be another logical choice given all the Sooner and Red River teams but I'm not sure of the arenas in the area. It's a shame there isn't more coverage and recognition because there is some good basketball being played.
Oklahoma might run into the same problem with a bunch of schools also leaving the association from out that way. If the two divisions ever merge back into one, the problem is solved by going to Sioux City and the Tyson.
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