After the athletic department teased some non-conference schedule news yesterday evening, ESPN's Andy Katz is up and atom bright and early this morning with some changes to the multi-team event that Marquette will be participating in over Thanksgiving weekend:
The tournament, played over Thanksgiving weekend, has been at the Anaheim Convention Center, but has had plenty of sparsely populated games. So, the plan is to move the first two days of the tournament to Cal State-Fullerton's Titan Gym. The final day of the event will be played at the Honda Center in Anaheim to give it more of an elite ending. And to raise the profile of the event, the name will no longer be the Anaheim Classic but rather the Wooden Legacy.
Well, okay then. This makes sense for this year, at least. I don't think Cal State-Fullerton is supposed to be the full time host of the event, but Titan Gym is only about 7 miles from the Honda Center, so no big deal as far as transportation goes. Heck, neither building is even that far from the Anaheim Convention Center, so none of the teams will need to change their hotel arrangements. I'm not entirely sure how the whole thing ties in with John Wooden other than "SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA," but okay.
Here's what I don't get: using Titan Gym AND the Honda Center. The Anaheim Convention Center seats up to 7,400 people for basketball, but in three games against Drake, Georgia Tech, and Pacific in the Anaheim Classic last year, the Cal Golden Bears drew an average crowd of 1,747, and that's including a crowd of 2,527 for the title game against Pacific. So they're moving the first two rounds to Titan Gym, which seats 4,000. That makes sense to me: smaller building, better atmosphere, two of the games will be home games for the Titans.
So if you're making that improvement to the event, why are you putting the final day of the tournament in the 18,000+ seat Honda Center? Two schools located five hours down the road couldn't draw 3,000 people to the event, so you're going to go to a BIGGER building? I don't understand how that's going to "give it more of an elite ending."
Now we wait to see if this was the news that the athletic department was talking about yesterday...
UPDATE: It was.