Coach K: Nobody does ACC tourney better than Greensboro

lkeeley@newsobserver.comMarch 13, 2013 

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Duke's Mike Krzyzewski acknowledges fans as the team leaves the court as Duke readied for their NCAA tourney opener at the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday March 15, 2012.

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com

— The ACC tournament in Greensboro has been kind to Duke. And, if Mike Krzyzewski had his way, the tournament would always be there, conference realignment be damned.

“During my 33 years in the conference, nobody does it better, it’s not even close, than the people in Greensboro,” Krzyzewski said in a radio interview released by the school. “I would like to see the tournament always be in Greensboro.”

The Blue Devils are on a nine-game win streak in Greensboro, dating to the 2006 tournament. They will try to extend that streak starting Friday in the 7 p.m. quarterfinals against Maryland or Wake Forest.

Duke has made the final each of the past six times the tournament has been in Greensboro (2011, 2010, 2006, 2004, 2003, 1998). The Blue Devils are 16-2 in that span.

Tradition, though, is largely a laughable idea in the era of conference realignment. With the addition of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame next year, the tournament will have to add another day, likely starting play on Wednesday. Charter member Maryland leaves and Louisville comes for the 2014-15 season, leaving the remaining founding schools (five) outnumbered by the institutions that have joined the ACC since 2004 (seven).

When Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College joined the ACC, the tournament went to Washington, D.C.. In 2007, it went to Tampa, and it was in Atlanta in 2009 and 2012. Duke a combined 7-2 in those years.

The current seniors, Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Todd Zaforovski, have only experienced the event in Greensboro and Atlanta. From Plumlee’s perspective, one location was clearly better.

“It was much better here (in North Carolina),” Plumlee said. “I think you should have it wherever the fans are going to come out. With Syracuse coming in, whether that’s New York, when you have a city like that, I think people will travel for sure.”

New York and Washington are on the short list to potentially host the tournament between 2016-21. Atlanta, Tampa, Charlotte and, yes, Greensboro are, too. Through 2015, the tournament will stay in Greensboro, the Blue Devils can stay at the same hotel they always do, Krzyzewski’s wish will be fulfilled and, for a weekend, the ACC will feel somewhat like the old ACC.

But if the league office is fielding suggestions for new venues…

“If it’s at Madison Square Garden,” Quinn Cook said with a smile,” that would be fun.”

Out with the old. In with the new.

Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley

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