OCU will host the 2017 Sooner Athletic Conference basketball tournament.
The tournament will be March 3 to 4 in Abe Lemons Arena in Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center.
“The conference basketball tournament is the end of the season tournament for our conference, and the champion of the tournament receives the conference’s automatic birth to the national tournament,” Athletic Director Jim Abbott said.
Hosting the tournament gives the university a home-field advantage since no travel is necessary, he said.
“It’s great for our teams, we get to sleep in our own beds and play on a court that we’re intimately familiar with,” Abbott said. “It’s good for our fans, they don’t have to travel to Arkansas or Texas or literally anywhere. It’s good for our students, they can just walk across campus and attend the games. So there are lots of benefits for it.”
Junior Guard Leah Cheney thinks the team will play better since they won’t have to travel or sleep in a hotel.
“It’s exciting to be hosting the tournament,” she said. “We have the home court advantage now and it’s easier to play on a familiar court we’ve played and practiced on. Other teams may be tired from traveling, so that can affect how they play.”
The tournament will bring in people from out of state, including teams, coaches, fans, and family members.
“People tend to like our facilities,” Abbott said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to show off Oklahoma City and our campus.”
The tournament is designed a little differently from past years, Abbott said.
“We will host the semi-finals and finals for men’s and women’s basketball,” he said. “Depending on how well our team does, we could also host a quarterfinal game, and that will just be our team playing.”
The semifinals will be two women’s and two men’s games, each featuring four teams.
“The tournaments have always run successfully; we’ve won our fair share of games in those tournaments,” Abbott said. “I really haven’t heard any complaints from conference members, so they’ve all been pretty positive.”