John Swofford

ACC Tournament to the Big Apple?

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The speculation and rumors have been swirling about college basketball circles ever since the realignment discussion began. With the addition of a few prominent former Big East schools now in the ACC — Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame — along with Louisville for 2014-15, it makes sense for the ACC to upgrade its conference tournament location into the premier market in the country: New York City.

Sure, the Big East may feel like the ACC not only poached several of its schools from their conference, but also stole their conference tournament location from them if this were to happen, but, let’s be honest, the Big East is a shell of what it was once. Yes, adding Butler and Creighton among others makes for a pretty nice basketball league, but these schools will never have the luster or fan bases that Syracuse and Louisville have.

ACC commissioner John Swofford told USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach: “This is a very prominent city from a media standpoint, from a sports standpoint. It has not been in our footprint in our past, but it is now, as of today. We want to treat it with the appropriate level of importance we think it has.”

The issue is, of course, the Big East will host their conference tournament at Madison Square Garden through 2017. Plus, the Atlantic 10 is at Barclays Center through 2017, as well. Even if the new Brooklyn arena was available though, Barclays isn’t the Garden. It’s a nicer and more modern venue and probably more convenient to get to given the many public transportation options surrounding the arena, but there aren’t many arenas that can match-up with Madison Square Garden.

Added Notre Dame’s Mike Brey:

If you’re going to be the best basketball conference, you have to rotate through New York City. I will be confident that we’ll get through here. I don’t know how long. Obviously, we’re in Greensboro, (N.C.) for two more years. But I think it’s something that’s going to have to happen given how this league has changed as of today.

If the ACC were to host their conference tournament at MSG, it wouldn’t be for several years. For the time being, Greensboro will remain as host for the tournament, but it seems inevitable that New York City plays host to the ACC tournament in the coming years, at the very least on a rotating basis.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.