September 19, 2011
When Syracuse makes its ACC tournament debut at the Greensboro Coliseum in either March 2013 or 2014, legendary coach Jim Boeheim probably shouldn't expect a warm reception from local fans.
Boeheim ensured that Monday during a speech at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham, Ala., where he addressed the ACC possibly holding its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden instead of its traditional Tobacco Road home. A Birmingham News reporter was on site to record his response.
"Where would you want to go to to a tournament for five days?" Boeheim quipped. "Let's see: Greensboro, North Carolina, or New York City? Jeez. Let me think about that one and get back to you."
Boeheim's lack of enthusiasm about Greensboro reflects his overall disappointment about Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving the Big East for the ACC. A traditionalist who'd prefer 10-team geographically sensible conferences in which every basketball team built rivalries by playing each other twice a year, Boeheim didn't hide his disgust that the era of super conferences has apparently arrived.
"If conference commissioners were the founding fathers of this country, we would have Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina in the United States," Boeheim said. "This audience knows why we are doing this. There's two reasons: Money and football.
"We're going to end up with mega conferences," Boeheim said, "and 10 years from now either I'm going to be dead wrong -- and I'll be the first to admit it -- or everybody is going to be like, why did we do this again? Why is Alabama playing Texas A&M this week and going to Texas Tech next weekend? And why is Syracuse going to Miami in basketball this week and next week they're going to play Florida State?"
Even though Syracuse has been studying its realignment options for over a year now, Boeheim said he was so out of the loop that as of Thursday night he'd have been shocked if someone told him the school was ACC-bound. The disappointment of leaving the Big East is tempered by the fact that Boeheim didn't like the league's current bloated alignment, but it still saddens him that Syracuse is leaving some of its oldest rivals behind.
"We've played St. John's for the 50 years I've been at Syracuse, and Georgetown for 40, so yeah, there's some nostalgia there," Boeheim said. "There's some heartbreak, no question about it. But it is what it is. Things do change. The Big East changed over the years. It's not that frustrating now because we have a 17-team basketball conference. If we had a nice, 10-team league, I'd be more upset. But we don't have that anymore."
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