Friday, March 10, 2017

Jim Boeheim ... Kindly Be Quiet

So Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim decided to trash the city of Greensboro, NC on his way out the door of the 2017 ACC Tournament on Wednesday.  Boeheim's post game press conference after the Orange's loss to the Miami Hurricanes featured the ACC's signature grump with his "get off my lawn" moment:
"There's no reason to play in Greensboro," Boeheim said Wednesday. "The only reason they play there is because the league offices are there, it's always been there, and there are like 150 people who like to have meetings. It should not be there."
The current ACC Tournament is in Brooklyn for the first time.  Ya know ... New York City.  Close to Syracuse.

Boeheim is correct that the tournament should be in New York and Washington and Atlanta.  Here's the thing -- it also should be in Greensboro (or Charlotte, for that matter which is both big and geographically important).  No, Greensboro can't hold a candle to New York.  Not one soul would truly believe that.  However, the soul of the ACC is there.  It may not be the Big Apple, but it does have value to the league.

Let's rewind a bit about the ACC.  The ACC Tournament was the very first conference tournament.  The league names the tournament champion as the true champion of the conference.  The league was once comprised of 8 members with four being based in North Carolina and two in South Carolina (by the way, Virginia isn't too far away from that either).  The league was created in Greensboro and the league offices remain there.

Greensboro has held the tournament 26 times and is scheduled to host the 2020 tournament.  Raleigh has hosted the event 13 times while Charlotte has done so 12 times (and will host in 2019).  So, yeah, that's 51 times in 64 years that the event has been held in the state of North Carolina.

Yes, the league is different now.  Those eight schools (minus South Carolina and Maryland) blew up to 15 with members now in Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Kentucky and Indiana.  The ACC wanted to expand its brand and now has a nice hold on the eastern seaboard and cities like Boston, New York, Washington, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Miami and Atlanta.  The ACC wanted this.

But Syracuse wanted it too.  Maybe Boeheim didn't, but his university saw the writing on the wall and not only left the Big East before it crumbled but may have actually been the straw that broke the conference's back.  The Big East and New York City were made for each other and had a symbiotic relationship.  It was cool.  While some ACC lifers cringed about moving the ACC Tournament to New York, I'm fine with it.

However, the ACC has a similar relationship with the state of North Carolina and Greensboro in particular.  The city is part of the fabric of the league -- a league Syracuse joined.  Does it give North Carolina schools an advantage?  Maybe.  But there are four schools right next to it so none of them have an advantage over the other.  Oh, and no one complains that the Big East tournament was always held in Madison Square Garden and gave Syracuse and advantage.  Or that Kansas City has hosted 15 of 20 Big 12 tournaments and that Kansas has been in the finals of that event 12 times (winning 10).

Then again, Syracuse went one-and-done in the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn.  Duke and North Carolina are in the semifinals.  Again.

Greensboro won't host the ACC Tournament as much as it used to.  The league expanded in order to reach more people and the league would be foolish to not have the event in New York from time to time.  But it would be just as foolish to forget its roots and abandon Greensboro.

Abandoning their roots is what killed Boeheim's cherished Big East, by the way.

The ACC will rotate the tournament.  I could see them doing what they are currently doing.  Have it in Greensboro, Charlotte, Atlanta or Washington and then back to New York for a year or two.  Maybe there will be an outlier and they have it in Boston, Miami or Indianapolis but the ACC's foray into Tampa didn't go so well.

Don't worry, Coach Boeheim.  You will be retired when the ACC goes back to Greensboro in 2020.

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