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2011 NIT Championship: Why Is No. 1 Boston College Playing At McNeese St.?

While Boston College was left out of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, they did receive a No. 1 seed in the NIT bracket, a small consolation, but still: it's postseason basketball, and a chance to win some games in March Madness' other tournament. 

BC finished the regular season 20-12 and 9-7 in the ACC, losing to Clemson in the conference tournament. The Eagles will be facing the McNeese St. Cowboys, a No. 8 seed that earned an automatic NIT big by winning the regular season title in the Southland Conference. Wait, so why is McNeese St. hosting Tuesday night? A good question! 

Originally, WEEI reported that the Eagles "passed on hosting" the first round NIT game, and then on Monday, head coach Steve Donahue told the Boston Globe that, "Our building's not available. That's what I'm told.'' 

BC is apparently readying Conte Forum for the men's and women's hockey postseason games. But BC Interruption speculates that the university likely didn't want to host an NIT game against McNeese St. on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EDT, a situation that is surely a losing proposition financially. Is it finally time for BC to get a basketball-only arena? BCI says yes: 

In my humble opinion, Conte Forum is first and foremost an ice hockey facility. The student sections behind the baskets stink for the most part, and the donor-based seating in the bottom of Conte doesn't create any sort of home court advantage. The students are too far away from the action up in the bleachers on the second level, and I'm sure the lack of a proper basketball atmosphere is a big reason why students aren't showing up for our games. Simply put, Conte is a one of the best college hockey arenas in the country and just a 'meh' basketball facility.

Just don't ask me where you'd put a basketball-only facility on campus. With a capacity of 8,606, Conte is already the second smallest basketball arena in the ACC, behind only Miami's BankUnited Center. It's also just the 129th largest in Division I. A basketball-only facility would have to seat just as many fans as Conte Forum currently does for basketball, especially for games against North Carolina, Duke and other high-profile opponents, and there's really nowhere else on campus you could build the thing. Not with adequate parking, anyhow.

Boston College tips-off against McNeese St. Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EDT.