Pitt wants to host ACC tournament in a hockey arena

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The agonies of realignment keep roiling. When the ACC added Boston College to the fold, it seemed strange to see the likes of Duke and Clemson make road trips to Boston. It will be more so with Syracuse and Pitt on the schedule. Imagine how traditionalists will feel when the league tournament is staged north of the Mason-Dixon line.

That day is coming. We don’t know when, but we do know — thanks to David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press — that the first Yankee attempt to commandeer the league’s post-season spectacle has been made.

Teel notes that the ACC tournament has not been played north of Maryland in nearly 60 years of existence. That may change soon, as the city of Pittsburgh has reportedly submitted a bid to host the tournament at Consol Energy Center at some point between 2016-2021.

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson and basketball coach Jamie Dixon told me the city’s Consol Energy Center submitted a bid. Home to the NHL’s Penguins, the arena opened in 2010 and last season hosted second- and third-round NCAA basketball tournament games. College hockey’s championship weekend, the Frozen Four, is scheduled at Consol for 2013.

“We’d sure love to have it here,” Pederson said. “Pittsburgh’s proven it can do great things. The NCAA tournament sold out here in a short period of time. The city gets behind it. One of the things that’s great is you can stay downtown and walk to the games. … And thanks in large part to what Jamie’s done, people here are enthusiastic.”

Dixon has coached the Panthers to eight NCAA tournaments in nine seasons. He knows prying the ACC’s signature event from its traditional base will be difficult, but hey, the league took the tournament to Tampa, Fla., in 2007, so why not the Northeast?

Teel notes that Greensboro, NC has a lock on the tourney for the next three years. The Greensboro Coliseum is a bit of an odd duck. It’s technically the home arena for the UNCG Spartans, a team that never comes close to filling the venue’s 22,000-plus seats. It’s more frequently used for concerts, NCAA tournament games, and, for some ungodly reason, a stage production of Tyler Perry’s Madea Gets a Job. It’s very central to the Tobacco Road schools that form the heart of the historical ACC, but there’s no telling what the future holds now that the northern carpetbaggers have entered the fray.