As a child of New York City during the 1960s, Jim Larranaga gazed south and thought
And he absolutely wants his conference to take its tournament to his hometown.
The possibility emerged last week during the ACC's winter meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In considering venues for the 2016-21 tournaments, ACC officials eliminated four that had submitted bids:
Among bids, that left Greensboro, N.C.,
But as ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy first reported and sources later confirmed, the ACC wants to also consider two New York arenas, the venerable
Neither building bid on the ACC tournament before last year's deadline, and neither has since. But the ACC would welcome late entries to the race.
Last week's ACC-New York discussions were more conceptual than detailed, but that doesn't dampen Larranaga's enthusiasm.
"If we go to Madison Square Garden, it will be the greatest exposure we've ever gotten as a league in the New York metropolitan area, where the recruiting ground is very fertile," he told me Friday. "Playing in the Mecca of college basketball, Madison Square Garden, is a thrill for every college player."
Larranaga, whose Hurricanes are 18-3, 9-0 ACC, knows. As a player at
"And the fans will absolutely love a long weekend in New York, where you can go to a basketball game in the afternoon and a Broadway show at night," Larranaga continued. "Or, if your team is playing at night, you can go shopping in the afternoon.
“There’s just so much to do in New York City that I think our fans from all over, not just the Syracuses and Notre Dames who have been in the
The tournament’s northern-most outpost was Landover, Md., and the late, once-great Capital Centre. Virginia won its lone championship there in 1976, followed by
The following season,
“With more Northeast schools, I’m sure that’s something that needs to be looked at,”
No doubt, and it’s not just the Northeast schools. Notre Dame has long enjoyed considerable New York support, while ACC staples such as Virginia,
The Big East has staged its tournament at Madison Square Garden since 1983 and last year extended that partnership through 2026. But with the so-called Catholic 7 — Providence, St. John’s,
A future Big East with the likes of
Meanwhile, the Barclays Center is booked through 2017 with the Newport News-based
"The major media markets like NYC, Wash DC, ATL have to be on the table," Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage said via email. "All of our schools have a good alumni presence in metro NY, and the city itself generates so much enthusiasm. … A lot more study needs to go into the tournament future site discussion."
Atlanta (8), Washington (9) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (14) were the largest media markets to bid, and all made the cut. New York is No. 1.
The ACC is losing its primary D.C. presence with
Greensboro, home to the conference office and central to the league's four North Carolina schools, is the tournament's most frequent home. But the city can not match the centralized lodging and entertainment offered in downtowns such as Atlanta, Washington, Charlotte and New York.
That said, led by New York, those destinations are far pricier and would preclude some from attending.
Commissioner John Swofford last publicly addressed future tournament sites in October at the ACC's preseason media gathering in Charlotte.
"My guess is in listening to the athletic directors (that) the next eight or 10 years will probably look somewhat similar to the past decade in which we had the tournament in North Carolina as its home base, in Greensboro and Charlotte, and bounced it out periodically to other parts of our footprint," he said. "We've got some attractive opportunities."
Including, perhaps, the occasional visit to New York.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP