Adam Gold

Should the ACC ditch Greensboro for NYC?

Posted March 14, 2013

Recently, a pair of the better national college basketball writers each encouraged the ACC to take the 60-year-old conference's beloved basketball tournament to New York City.

The reasons for this were obvious to them as well as all of us in the oxygen-consuming universe. Madison Square Garden is the greatest basketball mecca on planet earth. New York is the greatest city ever to hide public transportation amongst the sewer system. And, in case you hadn't noticed, the people of Greensboro, North Carolina spit seeds for a living. Hoops Headquarters -- black 2014 ACC Tournament interactive bracket

In fairness, both Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com and Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel bring up a lot of fair points in their assertion that the ACC Tournament should consider a stint in the Big Apple.

The league's northern expansion puts The Garden well within our geographical parameters. The new ACC bares a very strong resemblance to what used to be the Big East, and if the league only took the men's tourney to New York City, they'd sell more tickets in five days than the NFL does in an entire season. Do understand that Notre Dame, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Louisville will pack the house every single time the ball is tossed up on 33rd Street.

But let's stop trying to overplay the hand. Bringing the crown jewel of the 60-year-old league to MSG isn't going to save the ACC from extinction, nor will it solve overcrowding in schools or help Tiger Woods win five more major championships. And honestly, was it really necessary to refer to Greensboro as a Super 8 to Manhattan's Ritz Carlton? Just make the point and move on without sticking your nose in the air.

Should the ACC take the tournament to Madison Square Garden? Should you have a romantic dinner with Mila Kunis? If the opportunity presents itself, you'd be a Greenwich Village idiot if you said 'no,' and John Swofford is no fool. But the last time I checked, the "World's Most Famous Arena" has a college tournament tenant; the Big East Conference. And until further notice, it's a league that still exists and still wants to call the Garden its postseason home.

Should MSG decide that this iteration of the Big East isn't what they want to hitch their yellow cab to and ask for a restructuring of their contract to allow for some early March flexibility, then feel free to work something out. The ACC is set for Greensboro over the next two years and there are rumors of stops in Charlotte and Atlanta as well as a potential return to Florida. But I'm completely down with the notion of an MSG-ACC marriage.

Well, maybe more of a civil union.

I get it, New York is higher than Greensboro on the big city totem pole. It would be a huge statement to the sports world if the ACC Tournament came to the greatest venue in the greatest city with the greatest collection of cultured human beings. But thumbing a collective nose at Greensboro because it isn't Gotham City isn't going to save the conference.

First of all, let's not pretend that the league treats the tournament like some Barnum & Bailey carnival show. It isn't on wheels. Primarily, the tourney is based in North Carolina, either Greensboro or Charlotte, and it's only ventured beyond the borders of the Old Line State 5 times in the last 20 years.

Second, since when did the Big East tournament become the only "event" during Championship Week? The best teams make the best tournaments these days. Of late, the Big East has had the most nationally relevant squads so it would stand to reason that their tournament would resonate.

Or is it simply because right outside the building you can get a Sabrets with spicy brown or the greatest falafel you've ever tasted in your life? Trust me on that.

If all it took to return to glory was to change the mailing address it would be an easy fix, no?

Here's what I would suggest to Swofford and the folks who help make the big decisions at ACC HQ.

  1. Find out if Madison Square Garden is interested.
  2. Work out a two or three year agreement. Make it the league's home away from home if you can.
  3. Enjoy the City – and your new found relevance (just kidding).

But, I've got news for the big city, national folks, Greensboro, North Carolina is, was and always will be the home base for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Sure, Greensboro isn't the world's financial center, the most important media market and it doesn't have a thousand five star restaurants. It's still who this league will always be, at least until the Big Ten Gordon Geckos it and sells off the pieces.

We love ACC Tournament basketball here more than they do in New York City, even if we are an interstate exit motel with free wifi and a continental breakfast. As the saying goes, "we'll leave the light on for you."

110 Comments

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  • Unc r Hypocrits Mar 15, 8:49 p.m.

    If you are going to add all those high profile basketball schools to the ACC, then it seems to... View More

    — Posted by scousler

    Using a member's home court will NEVER happen. Never.

  • wallhokievt94 Mar 15, 5:08 p.m.

    Greensboro is a great venue. It seats over 22,000. No way to go to NYC.

  • scousler Mar 15, 4:53 p.m.

    If you are going to add all those high profile basketball schools to the ACC, then it seems to be a logical step to stage the massive tourney at a prime venue. MSG seems to fit but what about other spots? Both the Smith Center and the Verizon Center (in DC) have a higher capacity for fans.

    Just about every school coming to the ACC has a large home venue with decent capacity. Why not rotate the location of the event among member schools? If you did that - it might even finally convince Duke to build a bigger home court. This would definitely raise the fan interest level in the event which is held in neutral Greensboro.

    I think the NC schools should revive the Dixie classic - a nice small 4 - 8 team December holiday tournament (inviting maybe half the field from others in the top ten). This would help sustain and revive the tobacco road lore and tradition of NC basketball that an expanded ACC undermines.

  • OGE Mar 15, 4:17 p.m.

    It must be another attempt by the North to control the South!!! We WILL Rise again!!!!!!!

  • Unc r Hypocrits Mar 15, 3:23 p.m.

    To appease the new members? You're kidding, right? Sounds like more from the "let's bend over backwards to welcome our new members so they won't feel bad" crowd. They are joining OUR conference, not the other way around. Sheesh.

  • Toddler10-21 Mar 15, 3:03 p.m.

    Janitors making six figures! LOL!

  • Toddler10-21 Mar 15, 3:00 p.m.

    You have to move it around to be fair to the other schools. The Big East will never be the same without the Cuse. Cuse, Pitt, Ville, and Dame! Lookout ACC!

  • StunGunn Mar 15, 2:42 p.m.

    This is at least the second article that I have read where AG decided to write about some random... View More

    — Posted by magus

    I believe Adam hails from New Jersey, but attended the University of Maryland. Why did he write this? There's over 100 posts and it's not even 3 o'clock. I'd say AG got what he (and WRAL) wanted: plenty of clicks on the story.

  • StunGunn Mar 15, 2:39 p.m.

    you best explain to the good people of Greensboro what you mean by "And, in case you hadn't... View More

    — Posted by tthorne007

    As a poster for a long ago forgotten State-UNC game once said, "Agriculture is better than... View More

    — Posted by tayled

    Gotta agree that the "seed spitting" comment was dumb. And I'll take the "seed spittin'" town of Greensboro over the Rotten Apple any day of the week.

  • StunGunn Mar 15, 2:35 p.m.

    I know Duke students would love it. They could go by home between games.

    — Posted by vile garbage

    OK that was funny.

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