|John Swofford (above) will be at the helm of the best hoops league in the country by this time next year. (US Presswire)|
Wherever it can end up, so long as it's not North Carolina, the ACC should absolutely be relocating its conference tournament as soon as possible.
ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy reported late Friday that the league has finally gotten hold of its senses and is now debating internally whether to make its pitch to move the ACC hoops playoffs to somewhere outside the comforts of North Carolina's border. The state has hosted the ACC tournament almost every year since its inception. It's successful and makes sense, but we've reached a point where other big cities could and should be afforded an opportunity to turn it into something less provincial.
The ideal place would be Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but, when the next major cycle of bids for conference tourneys were handed out last fall, neither of those buildings -- astonishingly, in my opinion -- opted to pick up the ACC tournament through 2021.
The ACC is still reportedly looking into how New York might factor into the future of its league, along with:
Besides New York, other cities being considered to host the 2016-21 ACC tournaments are Atlanta (Philips Arena), Charlotte, Greensboro, N.C.; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington D.C.
The 2013-15 ACC men's basketball tournaments will be held in Greensboro, but beyond that the ACC is looking to move the tournament to a variety of cities.
On Friday, league athletic directors, staff members and faculty advisers completed three days of the ACC's winter meetings in Fort Lauderdale.
Atlanta and D.C. could be strong choices, but New York is the target it should set its tractor beam on. The ACC has such strong sidewalk support in the greater New York area, it'd be dumb not to tap into that market, especially with the infusion of big-time programs that are headed the ACC's way. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Notre Dame are all leaving the Big East to join the ACC in the next year or two. (Louisville and Notre Dame just have to sift through the paperwork and shake a few hands, basically; SU and Pitt are buh-bye at the end of this season.)
The Big East and Madison Square Garden have a restructured deal that lasts for the next 13 years. But with the changing landscape of the conference and how the Big East has a different future roster of programs from the ones it had at the time of that contract agreement, I have no idea what it means going forward. Could something be voided there if the Big East in 2017 looks nothing like the Big East of 2012?
If there's any sliver of hope the ACC can get in with any major New York City-area arena, it should go for it. The joint would sell out all the same as Greensboro has but would bring in new blood and that ever-sought-after expanded "footprint" for revenue.
(OK, fine, you got me. Plus, it's close to me, and I'd like to go to one of these one day without having to get on a plane.)
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.