Basketball: Potential Miami Hurricanes NCAA Tournament destinations, ranked

Salt Lake City tops the list of potential NCAA Tournament destinations for the Hurricanes. (VisitSaltLake.com photo by Steve Greenwood)

Salt Lake City tops the list of potential NCAA Tournament destinations for the Hurricanes. (VisitSaltLake.com photo by Steve Greenwood)

Miami had a relatively short stay in Brooklyn, losing in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament to a North Carolina squad that looks really, really good.

Next on the travel agenda: a big TBA for next week.

The Hurricanes will learn their NCAA Tournament destination on Sunday, expecting to be somewhere in the 7-to-9 range for seeding purposes. Bracketologists have them traveling far, potentially to Utah, Oklahoma, Northern California or Western New York. UM will host an on-campus party at its Rathskeller bar at 5 p.m. Sunday.

A completely subjective ranking of Miami’s potential landing spots (note: I am business traveler in my early 30s, ranking mostly off quality of nightlife/entertainment, ease of travel and arena experience. You may have Orlando first because you’re taking the kids to Disney. Do you, friend):

1. Salt Lake City. Mountain scenery abounds. Hikers and outdoorsy types will find plenty to do, and for skiers and riders, the spring slopes are less crowded. The airport is rated among the country’s best. I’ve never been, but everyone keeps telling me SLC is spectacular.

2. Indianapolis. Not warm, but plenty of restaurants and bars sit near an arena considered among the NBA’s best. There’s a reason big events keep coming here. They love basketball, too. Considering the other options, nonstop flights are relatively short and cheap.

3. Sacramento: Long flight and a rep as a cow town, but it has mild weather and a new downtown arena, the Golden 1 Center, which blows away the former home of the NBA’s Kings. Best of all, it’s about an hour away from Napa Valley. Cheers. Pro tip: direct flights to San Francisco (less than 2 hours away) are easy to find and reasonably priced.

4. Orlando. A nice little downtown area, a short drive from Miami. Warm weather. Great sightlines in the arena. Orlando is fine. It’s fine.

5. Milwaukee. Good: Lots of beer and dining options. Not good: Chilly, and a very blah arena. I have never been. Chicago is 90 minutes away.

6. Greenville, S.C. Scenic and boasting what Forbes called one of America’s Best Downtowns. Sure, why not? It also has decent weather (high 50s, most likely) and good BBQ. The arena is nothing special, though.

7. Buffalo. Tried to revitalize its downtown area, so there are more hotel, shopping and dining options than ever on Lake Erie (and a casino, if you’re into that sort of thing). Counterpoint: temps in the 20s and 30s. I’d bring my hockey skates.

8. Tulsa. Nice arena and the Blue Dome district gets good reviews, but not a whole lot going on. Nonstop flight from Miami will run you $600-plus.

Note: Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando and Salt Lake City host first and second round games March 16 and 18. Greenville, Indianapolis, Tulsa and Sacramento host March 17 and 19.

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