NEW YORK (AP) — If it were up to Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, the Atlantic Coast Conference would be in no rush to return its men’s basketball tournament to Greensboro, North Carolina.
The city that has hosted the ACC tournament more than any other was quick to jab back at the Hall of Fame coach, and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski also came to Greensboro’s defense.
The ACC is holding its tournament in New York city for the first time, a nod to the conference’s relative new eastern block of schools that includes former Big East members Syracuse, Boston College and Pittsburgh. It’s the first year of a two-year deal to play college basketball’s premiere conference tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home of the NBA’s Nets and NHL’s Islanders.
Speaking after his team’s 62-57 second-round loss to Miami on Wednesday, Boeheim said “there’s no value” in holding the tournament in Greensboro — which has hosted the tournament 26 times — as opposed to major cities like 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,” the 72-year-old Boeheim 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.”
The ACC holding its tournament in New York has been a sensitive issue for a conference with southern-region roots. And it didn’t take long for Greensboro fire back at Boeheim.
“We kindly disagree. But I guess you can lose in the 1st round anywhere. At least it’s a quick ride home,” the City of Greensboro’s official Twitter account fired back.
Boeheim and the Orange have yet to win an ACC Tournament game no matter where the event has been held. They went one-and-done in Greensboro in 2014, in Washington last year and now Brooklyn after sitting out the 2015 tournament due to a self-imposed postseason ban for NCAA violations.
Krzyzewski, who has helped Duke win more ACC tournaments than any team, said it was important for the conference to move the tournament around and that it was “huge” to come to New York. But he also does not want the conference to stray too far from its roots.
“Well, obviously, there’s been great value having it in Greensboro because this is the tournament that everyone copied,” Krzyzewski said after Duke beat Clemson 79-72. “And if we didn’t have the support of an entire city to support us and keep adding to their beautiful coliseum, this tournament and this league would not be where it’s at.”
The ACC Tournament is scheduled to be back in Greensboro in 2020, though there is some uncertainty about ACC events being held in the state of North Carolina. The conference has already pulled some events — including its championship football game last year — out of North Carolina in protest of a state law its schools believe promotes discrimination.
The ACC plans to make a decision in the coming months on whether men’s basketball tournaments currently scheduled for 2019 in Charlotte and 2020 in Greensboro will be relocated.
“So if the powers to be want it to eventually go back — stay in Greensboro or visit or whatever, so be it,” Coach K said.
AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.
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