ACC Tournament Returning To Verizon Center In '16; Timing Odd With Maryland Out?
ACC Commissioner John Swofford yesterday announced that the conference's men's basketball tournament "will be held at Verizon Center" in '16, despite the fact that the ACC is "losing its only school within 100 miles" of DC with the Univ. of Maryland departing for the Big Ten next year, according to Mark Giannotto of the WASHINGTON POST. Verizon Center previously hosted the event in '05, and '16 will mark the "fifth time the ACC tournament has taken place" in the DC area. A total of 121,806 spectators "attended the six sessions" in '05. Since the ACC "expanded its footprint to include former Big East schools such as Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville, speculation has centered around the league's desire" to hold the tourney in N.Y. for the first time. While Swofford last month said that the ACC had interest in N.Y., Madison Square Garden "has a contract with the Big East tournament" through '26 and the Atlantic 10 "has a contract with Barclays Center" through '17 (WASHINGTON POST, 11/14). In Baltimore, Jeff Barker asks, "Is there irony here?" Former Maryland coach Gary Williams "long pressed for the ACC tourney to return to the Washington area" (Baltimore SUN, 11/14).
MEET ME IN THE MIDDLE: In Greensboro, Mark Thompson asks, "Why did the ACC select Washington -- and why now?" DC "makes geographic sense for the ACC." With the addition of Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame and Louisville, the nation's capital "reflects a fairly central location for the league's 15 schools." Verizon Center also makes sense because it "includes 106 luxury suites, a high-definition center-hung scoreboard, an indoor basketball practice facility and 10 dressing rooms." But it "remains to be seen" how soon after '16 the ACC "returns to North Carolina with the tournament." The event "has never left the state of North Carolina for more than one year at a time, always returning to Greensboro or Charlotte" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 11/14).