The Big East has Madison Square Garden. The ACC has Greensboro and its Coliseum (for the most part). The Pac-12 has a cavernous Staples Center.
The Atlantic 10? Many people probably struggle to name its recent champions, let alone where its played. Its conference tournament has been hosted in five different venues in the last 15 years, including its current home of Atlantic City, where the Boardwalk Hall is really best suited for anything but a sporting event.
This sort of nomadic journey to crown a conference winner may have finally found some sort of consistent location today, as the Atlantic 10's commissioner Bernadette McGlade announced that the conference tournament will be hosted in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York beginning in 2013, the new home for the New Jersey Nets.
Sure, this sounds great for the Atlantic 10. Very rarely is it a league associated with things that are progressive, prominent and cool. Additionally, it could easily leverage the crowd and attention received from the Big East Tournament. With that league championship game held roughly 18 hours before the Atlantic 10's, perhaps some of those fans would venture over the Bridge to check out a fresh new scene.
The problem with this, however, is the dreaded conference reshuffling threatens to prevent any sort of long-term relationship between Barclays and the A-10. With the Big East crumbling and its contract with MSG expiring in 2016, there's no doubt current conference commissioner John Marinatto would seek to start a new on the other side of the East River. That or the ACC, aiming to go 16-teams deep with representation in every relevant East Coast market, becomes a far more sought after conference tournament than the Atlantic 10's, and a brand new, long-term tradition is forged between them and Barclays.
Details on the agreement will likely be made public during a Wednesday press conference. At this time seems like McGlade just came up with a short term solution to a lingering problem. If they are shut out of the Barclays Center four years from now, nothing has been solved and their struggle to build roots in a large market continues.