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WCC could move away from Orleans Arena for conference tournament

LAS VEGAS — For the past eight seasons, Orleans Arena has been home to the West Coast Conference basketball tournament.

When this year’s tournament concludes Tuesday night, the contract between the WCC and The Orleans will run out.

WCC commissioner Lynn Holzman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the league is in the process of looking at future options.

“Las Vegas and The Orleans have been tremendous partners. We’ve been here since 2009, and the atmosphere has been amazing,” Holzman said. “That said, we have some options in Las Vegas that we are looking at. Ultimately, it’s about making the right decision for our conference members, our student-athletes and our fans.”

The WCC tournament could remain at Orleans Arena (8,000-seat capacity) but the league is also looking at a couple of MGM properties — T-Mobile Arena (19,000) and The Grand Garden (13,000).

“All options are on the table,” Holzman said. “We’ve been talking to The Orleans. They are in the mix. We’re looking at the MGM. It’s part of the overall evaluation … We will give the presidents our recommendation, and they will decide how to proceed. I would hope that in the next couple of months we will come to a decision.”

KEATING FIRED: Santa Clara fired coach Kerry Keating Monday, just two days after BYU eliminated the Broncos in the quarterfinals of the WCC tournament.

Keating compiled a 139-159 record in nine seasons at the helm. Santa Clara won the 2013 College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament title. Two years earlier, the Broncos won the CollegeInsider.com postseason championship.

A national search for Keating’s replacement has already begun.

"Coach Keating has been very dedicated to our men's basketball program over the past nine years," said athletic director Renee Baumgartner. "I thank Kerry for his commitment to our student-athletes."

SAINT MARY’S ADVANCES: Top-seed Saint Mary’s eliminated No. 4 Pepperdine Monday night 81-66 and advanced to the WCC tournament championship game.

The Waves swept the regular-season series with the Gaels. Saint Mary’s shot 67 percent in the first half and led 44-24 at intermission.

EMAIL: jeffc@deseretnews.com