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.
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