People seem to be forgetting that the tournament used to draw proverbial flies in Philly, even when the league had three Philly teams. I don't think playing in the Palestra would change that (and that assumes Penn would even rent the place out to the league, which is not a given). Sure a large VCU crowd will show up, but they show up in Brooklyn and everywhere else the tournament is played. There will also always be a sizable Dayton contingent. Ditto. I would include Bona here, but it's not clear to me they'll ever win more than 10 games a year again in the free agent era of college basketball. Besides, they can probably drink more conveniently in Brooklyn, DC, Atlantic City or Pittsburgh than in the immediate environs of the Palestra. I just don't think either Philly or the Palestra, as iconic as it might be, will move the needle.
I think it's worth noting that when the A10 drew flies was when it was at the Spectrum. Look, there are really only 4-5 consistent fanbases in the A10. The rest only show up when their team has a chance to win the conference. Joe's isn't even that awful this year and they draw around 1,800 for home games. I doubt they'd show up this year for games at the Palestra and same for La Salle.
Barclays isn't a bad arena by any stretch, but there might be 500 people at this game right now, and even the games tomorrow will be sparsely attended. They don't sell seats in the upper sections and the lighting is so dark in the seating bowl that you can't tell how empty the place truly is.
There's no perfect fit for an arena, but I think back to the Bonnies tourney in Charleston and then picture how that would have felt if they played in Charlotte's NBA arena instead. Despite what's announced, most of these games aren't exceeding 5K in attendance.
I might be in the minority here, but at the very least, the pillow fight should be held at campus arenas or eliminated in its entirety. Have only the top 8-9 make it that way you can avoid landmines to any team with the prospects of an at large bid.
DC is probably the best location for the tournament due to teams within 2-3 hours of the arena + alumni bases of each school in the DC area. Besides the final, Entertainment & Sports Arena could likely hold a majority of fans outside of the final or maybe semis.