Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim not a big fan of playing ACC games early in the season: 'It's just a money grab'

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Following No. 11 Virgina's 48-34 victory vs. Syracuse on Wednesday, I asked Orange coach Jim Boeheim if it was a beneficial thing for his team and all ACC teams to be forced to match up against each other to start the season. Of course, in most cases, power-conference schools opt to schedule low-major fodder to wade into the season.

But the birth of the ACC Network forced a chance for that league's teams this year, with the exception of Duke, which always gets a big-boy matchup in the Champions Classic.

Boeheim hates the idea.

"I wish we'd have won, so when I say it, what I'm gonna say would matter, but when you lose nobody wants [to hear it]," he said. "You never want to to play these league games early. It's stupid. It's just a money grab. They got scheduled games for TV, for the TV contracts so you've got to play games early. And then somebody had the brilliant idea of open up the first game with a league game. I just don't think it's good, I don't think it's smart. You want to build up to the league. The league's the most important thing, so why would you play the first game of the year in the league? Makes no sense to me."

Boeheim would find that most if not all ACC coaches agree with him on this. He made sure to note that you never want to play a team like Virginia right away because of their elite ability on defense and because offenses usually need a bit more time to find a groove. 

As for Virginia coach Tony Bennett, I asked him the same question. After all, reigning national champs being forced to open on the road against a league opponent? It was a bizarre scheduling decision. The last time a team coming off a title in men's basketball opened on the road was UCLA -- 52 years ago.  

"Twenty-four hours ago my answer was different than right now at this moment," Bennett said with a smile. 

He wasn't over the moon about it, but understood why it happened. It did create some -- but not an extraordinary amount -- of additional buzz in this first week of the season. The general expectation is that this is a one-time thing, though. The coaches aren't in favor of it and they're likely to get back to their usual ways in 2020 of playing a patsy or two before facing a true threat in mid-to-late November. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. This is his 10th season reporting on college basketball for CBS. He also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories