Since the day they arrived in the ACC, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame have been telling everybody that the league's men's basketball tournament HAD TO move to Madison Square Garden. Which made a whole lot of sense. In its heyday, the Big East Tournament was the week's largest attraction in the country's largest city, making it the epicenter of the college hoops universe. We all remember. It was only last year we were there. Now? Well, this happened. And now either Seton Hall or Providence will play for a Big East title in this year's tournament.
So when I saw a report this morning that the ACC Tournament was potentially heading to New York in 2017, it only made sense that it would be held in MSG. And instead... ACC finalizing details to play its tournament at Barclays Center.
First, the good: A New York location is a win for the ACC's Northeast schools (specifically Syracuse) and it shows that the league is capable of leaving its North Carolina confines when pushed hard enough. Holding the ACC Tournament in New York will break down some of the "regional" feel of it and position it as the showcase conference during championship week. The state-of-the-art Barclays Center is also a gorgeous venue by all accounts.
Now, the bad: It's not MSG. And it's not in Manhattan (though yes, it's still in New York City). As a long-time Knickerbockers fan, I also have my own issues with the Barclays Center's permanent tenants (the Brooklyn Nets), but that's another story.
Admittedly, I can get over the "Barclays Center isn't MSG" nonsense, and it's pretty likely you can, too. But there are still some hurdles in the way of making this happen. For one, the Atlantic 10's still slated to play there until 2017. Pete Thamel's original SI.com story above has no details on how that situation would be rectified, but ESPN's Andy Katz grabbed some additional information soon after. According to "sources," the A-10 will only vacate their deal a year early if the ACC enters into a non-conference scheduling agreement. To me, that means this thing's pretty likely, since it's not like we don't play those teams already. But we'll see, based on how quickly everything is negotiated.
One interesting note within the SI.com article, though was this nugget, which will probably both disappoint you and make you laugh out loud:
The ACC has no chance to move to Madison Square Garden in the immediate future, as MSG has a deal signed with the Big East through 2026. Multiple sources described that contract as "air tight." A source with direct knowledge of the contract said that Joseph M. Leccese, the Big East's lawyer with prominent firm Proskauer Rose, spent an inordinate amount of time making sure that MSG couldn't get out of the deal with the Big East. (The Garden is considered the Big East's best asset.)
"The Garden is considered the Big East's best asset." But I thought that was Georgetown? (/trollface)
ESPN also follows up on this item with something even funnier, however:
A source with connections to MSG told ESPN during the season that the arena would love to have the Big East and the ACC in the same week but that would mean having the Big East move earlier in the week, a move that is unlikely to occur.
"Unlikely to occur" until there's four straight finals of Providence v. Seton Hall. Then at that point, it's likely on the table since by all accounts that would make the Big East a mid-major conference.
So what do you think? Thrilled? Disappointed? Some combination of the two? Share your thoughts below.