It's no secret that I want the ACC to take over as Madison Square Garden's tenant for the third weekend of March for all of eternity. No city in the ACC footprint can offer what the Big Apple can - a walkable city with superb public transportation, sightseeing, shopping and cultural events.
Two problems stood in the way, however. First, the ACC seemingly didn't invite either New York arena to enter bids, which then led to the Big East and Madison Square Garden recently extended their agreement. I view the whole situation as a total disaster - why bother destroying your Northeast competition if you're not going to appropriately plunder?
But now, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, there's hope:
Because of the Atlantic Coast Conference's increased footprint in the Northeast, the ACC is interested in holding a future men's basketball tournament in New York, an ACC school official told ESPN.
However, because of the league's changing membership, the ACC is now considering other options for future tournament sites, the source said.
Besides New York, other cities being considered to host the 2016-21 ACC tournaments are Atlanta (Philips Arena), Charlotte, Greensboro, N.C., Tampa, Fla., and Washington D.C.
Coupled with a prior report by Andy Katz that the ownership of MSG feels confident they could escape their contract with the zombie Big East due to changing membership, I think we can correctly assume that a deal could get done if the ACC wants it. Madison Square Garden wants an annual tenant, which makes sense. The ACC just needs to be commit to it.
Also positive, McMurphy reports some bids to host the tournament have been rejected, including Pittsburgh. That's probably for the best - I can't imagine too many ACC fanbases really all that excited about spending a week in Pittsburgh in March. Miami is the only eliminated city worth a look, but obviously only if NYC isn't an option.
The question is, will the ACC be bold enough to lock down the Garden as its permanent home? I get that the conference is stuck in the safe cocoon of the familiar Greensboro Coliseum like a 30-year-old afraid of leaving mom's basement, but it's time to grow up. Otherwise, lets pull down the facade and just play half-court "make it, take it" in Swofford's driveway from now on and be done with it.
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