Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim didn’t need to be in the ACC tournament to pump some fuel into it.
Following his team’s second-round loss to Miami Wednesday, Boeheim took a shot at the league for having the conference tournament played in Greensboro, N.C. He said that, for business and recruiting reasons, it needs to stay in major cities such as New York, Washington and Atlanta.
“I’m not going to be around much longer to care about it, but I think that’s where the value is,” he said. “I think there’s a huge value in playing the tournament in those places. There’s no value in playing Greensboro – none. It’s there because the league’s been there and the office is there, and they have 150 people that the ACC needs. That’s why it’s there. It should not be there.”
Syracuse lost 62-57 to the Hurricanes at the Barclays Center. This is the first year that the conference has brought its signature event north of the Washington, D.C., area and just the 13th time it has been outside of the state of North Carolina.
Greensboro has hosted the tournament 26 times in its 64 years. It is also the site of the league’s offices. Tradition undoubtedly has been a factor in the league keeping the tournament in Greensoboro, although strong attendance has been another.
Boeheim has poked fun at Greensboro and ACC outposts previously. In 2013, Syracuse’s last year in the Big East, he said he felt a little sadness leaving the league for the ACC because he was familiar with the Big East’s cities and its restaurants.
“Now I got to go down to Clemson, South Carolina,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a couple Denny’s down there.”
In March 2014, though, the most recent year it was in Greensboro, Boeheim made nice, saying he was “fine with the tournament wherever it is. It’s just about the basketball.”
But Boeheim’s rationale Wednesday for keeping the tournament in larger cities had nothing to do with dining and more about finances. He said that “Madison Square Garden made the Big East.” He noted that the Big Ten will play its conference tournament there next year, ending its regular season a week early just to get into the famed arena, which still holds the Big East tournament.
“They all say it’s a business,” Boeheim said. “Well, then, let’s start acting like it’s a business.”
The league will hold the tournament at the Barclays Center again in 2018. It is scheduled to be held in Charlotte in 2019 and Greensboro in 2020, although the state of North Carolina’s HB2 law that has been widely criticized as discriminatory against the LGBT community may jeopardize those events. The ACC has pulled championship events from the state already, joining the NBA and NCAA in boycotting the state. Washington and Atlanta are possibilities to bid for those tournaments should they become available. Atlanta last hosted the ACC tournament in 2012 at Philips Arena, one of six times the city has had the event.
“I think the big city is where it should be played,” he said.
The city of Greensboro had a response on its Twitter account.
“We kindly disagree,” the post read. “But I guess you can lose in the 1st round anywhere. At least it’s a quick ride home.”