Ken Hutton and Gaither Shaw, both 67, might be the only two Syracuse fans in the Greensboro Coliseum this week. Hutton, a retired management association executive from Kennett Square, Pa., and Shaw, an investment adviser from Mountainside, N.J., are Syracuse class of '69 alums who bought their non-refundable tickets in Section 122 before the university announced its self-imposed postseason ban in advance of NCAA sanctions for violations in the football and basketball programs.
It didn't matter to them, however. As college basketball fans, Hutton and Shaw were coming anyway. “Gaither's sister lives outside Winston-Salem, so we stay with her,” Hutton said.
And it's not like Hutton and Shaw don't have a rooting interest. They were roommates in graduate school at Virginia's Darden School of Business from 1969 to '71.
“We started out going to Virginia games, then we started going to the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden,” Hutton said. “Nobody in the Northeast knew what they had in that tournament, but coming from the ACC, we did. So we got courtside seats for almost nothing.”
Since Syracuse joined the ACC, it has made Hutton and Shaw's postseason plans more convenient so they can follow both of their orange-clad teams. They have been in the Greensboro Coliseum for every game this week.
“Why wouldn't you come for the whole tournament?” Shaw asked.
They will be back next year when the ACC tournament moves to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and plan to attend the event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., after that.
“That will be a rude awakening for ACC fans,” Hutton predicted. “There's nowhere to stay in Brooklyn. You have to stay in Manhattan.”