LAS VEGAS – Entering the final month of the regular season, college basketball teams are beginning to focus their attention on March Madness options, and among them, the new Vegas 16, a 16-team post-season tournament played at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, March 26-30.
Organizers have selected a group of individuals to serve on its inaugural “men’s basketball tournament committee.” The committee’s roles will include team selection, seeding the bracket and consulting on event management.
The committee will be chaired by former Arizona and UNLV Director of Athletics Jim Livengood. Livengood, who resides in Las Vegas, is a former chairman of the 2003 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. He is joined on the committee by the following:
- George Raveling – Director of International Basketball and Global Sports Marketing for Nike Basketball and a former college head coach who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015
- Debbie Antonelli – Former NC State student-athlete and current analyst for men’s and women’s college basketball on ESPN, CBS, Fox, Raycom Sports and Westwood One
- John Balistere – Basketball consultant for MGM Resorts International and current head coach at Boulder City High School (Nev.)
- Brooks Downing – President & CEO, bd Global (Tournament Promoter)
“I truly believe the Vegas 16 is one of the most exciting initiatives to happen to NCAA post-season basketball in many, many years,” Livengood said. “We have assembled an A-list committee who are some of the most influential people in basketball. This will be an absolute home run.”
Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament field is March 13 and organizers expect to announce the Vegas 16 bracket shortly thereafter. The event, which tips off March 26 and is similar to the post-season NIT, features 16 teams playing a single-elimination tournament over five days in one location. The action tips 13 days following the field announcement to give teams and fans ample time to schedule travel to Las Vegas.
Downing, whose company manages three other college basketball events during the regular season in Las Vegas, said, “This is much like a bowl game in many respects. There will be ancillary activities for the teams and fans upon arrival, the event gives our teams two extra weeks of practice, and it culminates in a world-class city on a high-profile stage.”
An announcement on a national television broadcast partner is expected in the coming days. Full info on the Vegas 16 can be found at www.vegas16.com or follow on Twitter at @VegasSixteen.