Syracuse opts to not move its court setup for Duke game

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

Might the Carrier Dome go big -- really big -- for the Duke game? (USATSI)
The seating setup will stay standard for Syracuse vs. Duke on Feb. 1. (USATSI)

Three weeks back we passed along word that Syracuse was considering altering the Carrier Dome setup for the big home game vs. Duke next season.

Turns out that won't be happening.

After flirting with the concept of a new design for the Dome -- primarily: putting the court in the center of the football field to maximize capacity for ticket-buyers -- the university has instead opted to stay put. The bleachers will be rolled out and the basketball court will remain tucked on the south side of the stadium.

The Duke game is scheduled for Feb. 1. The Post-Standard's Mike Waters relayed the news late Thursday, in coordination with the release of the ACC's 2013 conference schedule (though this game's date was already public knowledge).

Joe Giansante, Syracuse's executive senior associate athletic director, confirmed the school's decision Thursday.
"It was considered and studied intensely,'' Giansante said. "We considered it very seriously. A lot of things pointed us in the direction of being able to do it, but several pointed in the other direction.''
Giansante listed factors such as moving season-ticket holders, sight-lines for temporary seats and the logistics of moving the court for the Saturday game against Duke and then hosting a women's game at the Dome on Sunday and a men's game against Notre Dame on Monday.
"It wasn't just one factor,'' Giansante said. "There were many factors that we took into consideration.''

It would've been a cool sight and probably a record-breaking one. Had the court been placed in the middle of the Dome, a new on-campus attendance record (a record Syracuse already owns -- 35,012 for the final Big East game vs. Georgetown last season -- and breaks every few years) more than likely would've followed. Expectations for the alternative would've had more than 50,000 tickets sold.

There remains a chance a centered Carrier Dome court could come down the road. Perhaps when the opponent is big enough and timing around the game doesn't compromise other activities planned in the dome. That could be for a Syracuse game, or maybe even for future NCAA tournament regionals, which Syracuse will bid on again later this year.

As is, the Duke-Syracuse game will still probably be a huge to-do. GameDay will be on site and it will be Duke's first trip to play Syracuse in the middle of New York.

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