John Swofford

Report: ACC looking at New York for conference tournaments

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The ACC is returning to the Greensboro Coliseum this March, the first of three straight years, to hold its conference tournament. After that, the ever-expanding ACC is looking to take its annual tournament elsewhere.

Friday afternoon, Brett McMurphy of ESPN reported that the ACC is interested in holding its conference championship tournament in New York’s Madison Square Garden or Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in the future.

However, the ACC may wait for quiet some time before they schedule a weekend trip to the Big Apple. According to McMurphy, neither MSG or Barclays Center submitted a bid to host the ACC tournament from 2016-2021 during the September deadline.

Following the 2014-2015 season, the ACC will decide on whether it will continue to play in Greensboro through 2021 or pick a different location. Washington, D.C., Tampa, and Atlanta are all being considered as possible destinations. Although, the ACC will play in the Philips Arena and not the Georgia Dome if the move is to Atlanta. The ACC wants a traditional basketball arena, as the Georgia Dome was eliminated from contention along with Orlando, Miami, and Pittsburgh, according to ESPN.

Philips Arena and the Verizon Center in D.C. have each hosted the ACC tournament once.

The Barclays Center is slated to host the Atlantic 10 conference tournament until 2017. Back in October, the Big East and Madison Square Garden agreed to a 10-year deal, adding six more years to the current one which runs out in 2016. However, as the Big East dwindles day-by-day, “The World’s Most Famous Arena” may be up for grabs in the near future.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.

VIDEO: UNCW maintains two-game lead atop CAA standings

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Early in Colonial Athletic Association play, multiple teams made cases for themselves as contenders for the regular season title. But in recent weeks a clear favorite has emerged: UNCW. Kevin Keatts’s team won its 20th game of the season Saturday afternoon, moving to 12-2 in CAA play, with a 78-68 win over James Madison on NBC Sports Network.

The Seahawks, who have now won 11 straight games, were led offensively by Craig Ponder, who scored a team-high 19 points with Chris Flemmings adding 17 and 11 rebounds and Jordon Talley’s 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. UNCW shot just over 39 percent from the field, but they outscored James Madison 30-12 from beyond the arc and forced 17 JMU turnovers.

James Madison played without a key cog in leading scorer Ron Curry, who suffered a knee injury in the Dukes’ win at Charleston Thursday night. Tom Vodanovich scored 17 points and Winston Grays 15 for the Dukes, who are now 19-8 overall and 9-5 in CAA play.