College Basketball Conference Tournaments Canceled, Playing Without Fans

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Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Eze Dike

Several collegiate conferences have taken action to prevent against the spread of COVID-19 by either canceling their conference tournaments that begin this week, or playing them without fans.

Right now, the list includes…

  • Ivy League (canceled)
  • Big West (no fans)
  • MAC (no fans)

We’ll continue to update this piece as more conferences restrict attendance or cancel their tournaments.

Is There a Betting Impact?

We are a sports gambling establishment, so even if sports gambling is at the bottom of the priority list on a piece of national news, we tend to cover it anyway.

Most conference tournaments are played on neutral courts, which in theory means that teams with big fanbases nearby will lose an edge they otherwise had.

But it’s difficult to truly quantify the impact a favorable crowd has on home-court advantage — travel, rest, familiarity with the shooting environment and more also play a part.

The MAC Tournament is played in Cleveland, and most of the MAC schools are centrally located. The furthest is Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill., which is about six hours from Cleveland. The closest are Akron and Kent State, which are both just under an hour.

In the Big West, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton are all located nearby Anaheim, where the tournament will be played while UC Santa Barbara and of course Hawaii may not have much of a fan presence there anyway.

Overall, there’s not much of a betting impact that we can actually measure, so proceed as you were when handicapping these games.

We’ll be sure to update this post if teams start missing all their shots because of strange sight lines or if refs suddenly no longer call any fouls because there’s no crowd to get on them.