Could ACC's Expanded Footprint Lead Basketball Tourney To New Markets?
The 61st ACC Men's Basketball Tournament begins today in Greensboro for the 26th time, but "not everyone is ... thrilled about playing" there, according to Kevin Gorman of the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said he is "looking forward to the challenge of the tournament." But he "wasn't as enthused about the location of the venue or sharing the ACC tourney's storied history with his team." The ACC "has the second-oldest continuous conference tournament in the country, behind only the Southern, which has played every year" since '22 (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/11). In Pittsburgh, Paul Zeise reports Notre Dame coach Mike Brey "spent the early part of this week educating his players" about how the ACC Tournament, "not the Big East tournament, set the standard." Some coaches "would like to see the tournament moved out of North Carolina because they believe it gives the state's schools -- Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and North Carolina State -- an unfair advantage." Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said that now that the conference footprint "has changed ... moving it around probably makes the most sense." Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said that North Carolina-based schools "get a bad rap for wanting to keep the tournament in Greensboro." But he conceded that the "best thing for the conference now that it has stretched out would be to take the tournament on the road." He added, "We have new members and they have had their tournament in other places, in New York, and so you have to listen to those people and figure out what it is the best for our conference" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/12).
GRASS ISN'T ALWAYS GREENSBORO: A Greensboro NEWS & RECORD editorial notes the city recognizes that this year "marks the beginning of a new era" for the men's tournament, as there is "almost no doubt" that Madison Square Garden could be a future site for the the event. But despite the chance of an eventual move, Greensboro "is home," as the ACC "began here, it’s anchored here and it holds title events in many of its sports here." Greensboro "doesn’t have the marquee attractions" of N.Y., but the ACC Tournament "isn’t a fashion show or Broadway play." Greensboro Coliseum "is an outstanding facility that keeps improving," as its amenities, "including the ACC Hall of Champions, are first-rate" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 3/12).
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes at a time when the ACC Tournament "means as much as it ever has, especially in terms of determining a true champion, it’s time to think about moving the championship game back to Saturday, when it was played" before '82. Sunday "has made sense for a long time, but college basketball has changed and the ACC has changed." Selection Sunday "is now a far bigger deal than the ACC championship game." The tournament "isn’t the three-day convention-slash-party it once was, with fewer fans making a long weekend out of it." There are some "very real and tangible reasons not to move the championship game up to Saturday, including giving up prime national television slots on Saturday and Sunday," but it is a "good time for the ACC to start thinking about it" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 3/12).
TECH UPGRADES: In Greensboro, Mark Thompson reports spectators with mobile devices inside Greensboro Coliseum this week "should find it easier to share their experiences in real time on social-media websites." AT&T recently "installed a system of technology that essentially wires the coliseum as one large antenna." The new equipment "was in place for the ACC’s women’s tournament last week." Coliseum Deputy Dir Scott Johnson said, "There’s a significant investment on their part to upgrade that system. And when Verizon saw AT&T was doing it, they jumped on and said, 'Well, AT&T is doing it, we want to do it too.'" Verizon "will have a truck on site that works like a mobile data system" for the ACC Tournament (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 3/12).
NEVER FELT LOVED: In Baltimore, Jeff Barker writes as "familiar as Maryland became with Greensboro Coliseum," the school "could never quite shake the sense that they were guests at somebody else's party." The ACC Tournament for years "has had a distinctly North Carolina flavor," and Maryland "sometimes felt diminished in a sea of Carolina or Duke blue." Former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell said, "It was always like we were the visiting team." Including this year, the tournament "has been held in North Carolina 19 times since 1990 and outside the state five times" (Baltimore SUN, 3/12). A Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER editorial states it "will be interesting to see as well how fans bid farewell to Maryland, departing after this year for the Big Ten Conference." It is "unlikely there will be bouquets on the floor when the Terps take their final bow" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 3/12).