Welcome to Part 2 of this Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis during Championship Week. In Part 1, we touched mostly on game action and coaching news from Thursday, but there was much more to get to. That is what this is for.
First, we talk about the new reality for a number of conference tournaments in light of a comment that caused a real stir. The ACC Tournament is in New York this year and next, which is a little different from its many years in Greensboro and Charlotte, especially the former. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was asked about that, and his comment got quite a reaction out of many people:
“I think the big city is where it should be played. I think it should be played here, Washington, Atlanta. That’s where the tournament should be played.
I’m not going to be around much longer to care about it, but I think that’s where the value is. I think there’s a huge value in playing the tournament in those places. There’s no value in playing Greensboro, none. It’s there because the league’s been there and the office is there, and they have 150 people that the ACC needs. That’s why it’s there. It should not be there.”
You can find the full quote, should you desire a little more context (I believe it is given enough justice here) at this link.
This caused quite a reaction among media in Greensboro and other parts of North Carolina. In fact, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Miami Marlins, announced that it will hold a promotion on April 11 entitled, “Jim Boeheim (No) Value Night.” The city of Greensboro poked fun at Boeheim, tweeting, “We kindly disagree. But I guess you can lose in the 1st round anywhere. At least it’s a quick ride home.” Syracuse is still winless in their young ACC Tournament history after losing to Miami on Wednesday.
From there, we go on to the big subject: bubble talk. That subject will surely dominate the conversation for the next few days, and now several bubble teams are done and have to wait it out. Georgia Tech faded down the stretch and then lost to Pittsburgh in the opening round of the ACC Tournament; the Yellow Jackets might have played their way out. Utah lost to Cal in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals, which probably punches their ticket to the NIT. Syracuse is widely believed to be on the bubble, though with the wins they have, they might well be in.
We talk about the issues the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will have to deal with in selecting the at-large teams. We have had a lot of soft bubbles recently, but this year’s just might take the cake. Not helping, as we have discussed on this podcast and in this space before, are the down years in the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West, as well as a dearth of mid-majors that have resumes that might make them locks, or close to it. There are no Monmouths this year; as I wrote a few days ago, if Monmouth had the same resume this year as last year, they would seemingly be a lock.
With that in mind, we look at other teams like Rhode Island and the case they have, which starts to look better, as well as UT Arlington and Middle Tennessee. It leads us to the bigger subject of scheduling, including non-Division I schools and the home/road disparity seen when evaluating teams from the Power 5 plus Big East against mid-majors. Mid-majors struggle to get even four or five home games in non-conference play, while power conference schools rarely play true road games; Boston College in 2013-14 stands out in this respect, as the Eagles played just four home games in non-conference play (one against Division II Philadelphia University) and five true road games, along with four more at neutral sites.
We hope you enjoy our discussion about the bubble, and look forward to checking in with you again before Championship Week is complete.