Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Boeheim, Syracuse Recruits Want ACC Tourney at MSG
Maybe Jim Boeheim won’t have to eat at Denny’s after all.
According to ESPN.com sources, the ACC is “thoroughly investigating” moving their tournament to Madison Square Garden sometime after the current deal in Greensboro, N.C., expires in 2015.
Perhaps no school would benefit more than Syracuse from such a move.
The Garden is Syracuse’s second home and fills up with Orange fans every year for the Big East Tournament.
“I think it would be good for the league,” Boeheim told SNY.tv Thursday. “It’s a great venue. It’s all up in the air. Obviously, there’s contracts in place and all that stuff so I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”
The Big East has a contract with the Garden through 2026, but it remains possible that the Garden could get out of the contract if the new-look Big East — which now lacks perennial NCAA Tournament Final Four contenders Syracuse and Louisville — doesn’t bring in fans the way the old tournament did.
The pressure is now on St. John’s, Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and new schools Butler, Creighton and Xavier to deliver the way the old league did.
Still, whatever the new Big East does, the ACC is likely to be the best basketball league in the nation with Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame now joining the league.
“What a powerful basketball conference that has become,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey Tweeted Thursday. “It will quickly become the league to get 8-10 NCAA bids.”
Imagine an ACC Tournament Final Four featuring Syracuse, Louisville, Duke and North Carolina in the World’s Most Famous Arena?
“There is great momentum to get the ACC tournament to New York City and ESPN really wants it to happen,” one ACC coach told SNY.tv.
“Makes perfect sense,” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas told SNY.tv Thursday.
The ACC has never had its postseason tournament North of Maryland/Washington, D.C., but the league now features seven former Big East schools and its geographic footprint is moving North.
“It’s all in the early stages of discussions about where the tournament will be played in the future,” Boeheim said.
“It’d be great to play someday there [at the Garden],” he added. “But whether that can happen or not I don’t know.”
Syracuse’s recruits, especially those from the New York area, would love to see it happen.
“I hope the ACC Tournament does move to MSG,” said Roselle (N.J.) Catholic senior forward Tyler Roberson, who will be a freshman at Syracuse next season.
“All of my friends and family would get to see me play. I also never there before so it would be a fun experience.”
Chris McCullough, a 2014 Syracuse commit from New York City, would be a sophomore at Syracuse in the spring of 2016, the first year the ACC could potentially have its tournament at the Garden.
“If the ACC tourney is in MSG I would really like that,” McCullough said. “It means I can have my family there to support me. I think it would be great if I can get a chance to play in the Big Apple.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.