Could ACC Split Basketball Tourney North/South? | Syracusefan.com

Could ACC Split Basketball Tourney North/South?

cuse522

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Obviously the newcomers to the conference aren't going to have as much pull, especially when we're talking about the ACC where the basketball kings are on Tobacco Road. Still, the almighty dollar has to have some impact on any decisions the ACC makes, so to neglect it's new foothold in the Northeast, especially in New York City, would be a big mistake.

With that in mind, I'm going to make one big assumption - UConn ends up in the ACC along with one other team that fits into the North... That could be WVU, Rutgers, Villanova, Georgetown for hoops only etc. I don't think people should totally write off Villanova in terms of joining for football and basketball. They have investigated a move to the FBS, and the ACC currently has the following cities:

Boston - #7 (BC)
NYC - #1 (Syracuse, TBD)
Pittsburgh - #24 (Pitt)
DC - #9/Baltimore (VT and Maryland are strong there)
Richmond (UVA, VT),
Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh - #25 (UNC, Duke, Wake, NC State)
Atlanta - #8 (Ga Tech)
Miami - #16 (Miami)

Adding Philadelphia (#4) via Villanova would give you every major media market that was geographically reasonable. Tampa/St. Petersburg is #14 which may also mean USF eventually gets some consideration.

At any rate, let's just go with WVU for the tournament consideration, since that's probably the best program you could get out of the above. That leaves the following alignment:

North
Syracuse
Pittsburgh
UConn
Boston College
Maryland
West Virginia
Virginia Tech
Virginia

South
North Carolina
Duke
Miami
NC State
Florida State
Wake Forest
Clemson
Georgia Tech

Your regular season schedule could be something like three home and home's, 2 in division and 1 out of division, then you play each other team once. But let's talk tourney time. It's going to be hard to get Syracuse, Pitt, Uconn, BC and Maryland fans to travel to places like Atlanta, Greensboro, etc in large numbers. Likewise for fans from Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami coming North.

The draw is there though to split the tournament in half and still sell out with a North and South bracket to maximize revenue, drive media hype and keep some of the tournament at MSG. You'd either play down to the North and South champion, then hold a title game in DC or do the final four in DC. You could also rotate the finals back and forth between MSG and whichever South site they pick.

Television wise, it would work out with an off day on Saturday and the title game on Sunday. That extra day would also give fans an extra 24 hours to make the spur of the moment trip to DC or the rotating site, although I'm sure plenty of folks would buy tickets ahead of time anyway.

Tues:
South plays down to 4 (If you were alternating championship sites, the traveling division would play on Tuesday. If not, you could rotate or you could have one session for each division on Tues/Wed. Regardless, you want to start Tuesday in order to have every game televised.)

Wed:
North plays down to 4

Thurs:
12 pm North
2:30 pm South
7 pm North
9:30 pm South
(Or you could do two sessions, but you'd be relegating a division's great games to the daytime)

Fri:
7 pm South
9:30 pm North

Sat:
Off

Sun:
Championship

I think a format like that would be a wise move in order to really take advantage of the conference expansion while allowing students, alumni and fans of all schools in the super conference to have a decent chance of attending games in the tournament. Plus the media would love having a "Civil War" in DC every year between the North and South of the ACC. It would also be cool to dub some of the North vs. South games in-season as a series of games like the Big 10/ACC challenge and play a couple at the Garden and a couple at a neutral site in the South.

Hopefully, for the sake of the conference and for all of us 'Cuse and Pitt folks, the powers that be in the ACC use all of their assets to their fullest to deliver the best product. MSG, Northeast media markets and Northeast fans are certainly a big part of that, as are the rivalries they already have and venues like Cameron Indoor.

I think if they think creatively like this, it could actually create an even better tournament than the Big East Tourney, which is one of my top 5 favorite sporting events of the year.
 

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