John Swofford

ACC Tournament to the Big Apple?

Leave a comment

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

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
Leave a comment

Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.