|The ACC could have chosen to keep 12 in its tourney and make it somewhat competitive. But nah. (US Presswire)|
Most ACC talk these days surrounding the conference's expansion and unrest over Florida State's intentions has to do with football. Obviously. It's the offseason, and if any conference movement/realignment/settlement talk is going to continue, it's almost certain going to be factored by football.
(Except for the A10 and CAA, really. And that's something we'll be getting more into on the blog later this week.)
But as for the ACC, commissioner John Swofford did offer up one basketball story worth reacting to during his chat with reporters on Wednesday at the league meetings in Amelia Island, Fla. You see, when Syracuse and Pittsburgh drop their bags and settle into the community in their new conference, it will be -- for at least 15 minutes -- a 14-team league. And instead of keeping the ACC tournament at the 12 teams it's been in recent years, the league will of course invite the kit and caboodle to the league tournament. It will remain a come-one-come-all event, 14 teams playing in the league tourney, according to Swofford.
Not a surprise. Many leagues take all their teams and bring them to the conference tournament party. I just hate it, is all. The 16-team Big East tournament experience is bloated, bland and basically a waste of a Madison Square Garden mid-March Tuesday electric bill. I wish these leagues put a premium on regular-season performance by lopping off at least two, four or six of the cellar dwellers each year. Don't reward a team with minimal conference wins by getting to play at the conference championships.
Instead, the conference tournament setup mimics the philosophy behind these league mutations: chase the dollar and get as many programs into the barrel as possible. Under the new tournament format, the ACC tournament would start one day earlier, on Wednesday of championship week, and the 11 seed would play the 14, the 12 against the 13.
In other words,the electric company wins.
My guess at the other motive for doing this: ensure your best chances at playing inside MSG or the brand-new Barclays Center in Brooklyn down the road, maybe as early as 2015. Get every team, every fan base up there. Promise that to the building's brass, and you've got a better chance at moving the tournament into America's biggest city. Make no mistake: that's an idea that won't ever go away so long as Syracuse is a part of the ACC.