I'd largely echo the sentiments above me. Above all else, location is critical. While by no means fact, it is heavily suspected that one ticket to team success is access to invitationals. This does not mean 'Travel halfway across the country.' for the vast majority of teams. I admit to being amused that Beckendorff traveled all the way to Wright State, but, for their level of competition, that's appropriate. Nearly all teams can't claim that. It's too costly, and the need just isn't there. Now, my region is full of invitationals, both B and C level. It wasn't always like that, of course; many of these tournaments only proliferated recently. This has been for the long-term benefit of the region at large.
Yes, there are varying levels of competitiveness. It's for this reason that we often see out here out-of-state competitive teams traveling to us. Hamilton (WI) makes an appearance on occasion, and Ladue (MO) has made a trip up here for a few years now. I understand why the latter feels the need to trek 5-6hr north. The competitive level of the Saint Louis region in general is not that hot (not to mention, invitational-free), and the same goes for southern Illinois just across the river. It's difficult to wait for the State tournament to get any kind of challenge, then. For those not aiming for top fifteen nationally, though, closer is better. It saves money and makes SO stronger locally.
I'll be interested in hearing commentary on issues pertaining to tournament weekend. Do you think that earlier is better? If you have a later Regional or State competition, does that change?