ACC tourney to N.C. in ’19, ’20
The Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament will return to North Carolina after its two-year stay in New York.
Commissioner John Swofford said at a news conference Thursday that Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena would host the event in 2019 followed the next year by the Greensboro Coliseum, located a short drive from the league’s headquarters.
The announcement came one day after the league said it would hold its 2017 and 2018 tournaments in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which marked a shift from the tournament’s Southern roots after waves of league realignment. The tournament has been held in North Carolina for 50 of 61 years, including in Greensboro earlier this month.
Greensboro will host again next year, followed by Washington, D.C., in 2016.
Swofford said the league’s 15 schools wanted to pursue new opportunities while not abandoning the tournament’s regional ties, though he acknowledged the New York announcement probably caused some unrest among league’s traditionalists.
“Hopefully we’ve hit a sweet spot as we look ahead and going forward,” Swofford said.
When Louisville arrives in July to replace Big Ten-bound Maryland, the league will have seven former Big East schools compared to only five charter members from 1953.
The tournament began in North Carolina State’s Reynolds Coliseum in March 1954 and has been held in seven cities and 11 venues.
The Greensboro Coliseum has hosted the tournament 25 times, including earlier this month when Virginia won, and has been the longtime host of the ACC women’s tournament. Charlotte has hosted it a dozen times, most recently in 2008.
“This is the known quantity right here,” Swofford said of North Carolina. “We don’t think there’s much risk in New York either, but this is known. All of our schools recognize that.”
Swofford also said the league is still considering whether to move up its tournament championship game from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night, possibly as early as next year.