After a lackluster first round at the ACC tournament, I heard some broadcasters say that Friday’s quarterfinals felt like the real start of the tournament.
Maybe it should be, at least in terms of games at one site.
The play matched the lack of enthusiasm and the lack of atmosphere that was common for years during the first round of the ACC Tournament. None of the games were particularly well played and none were very entertaining except to possibly the four fan bases that were happy to see their team move on to the quarterfinals.
Here’s an idea that I’m quite sure the ACC never would consider: Have those first-round games played at the home sites of the higher-seeded teams Tuesday. I guarantee that the combined attendance for those four games would be more than the combined attendance for the two Thursday sessions.
If that is done, the quarterfinal winners no longer have to play four consecutive days should they make the championship game. And, by doing that, you can reseed so that the No. 1 seed plays the lowest seed surviving the first round, the No. 2 seed plays the second-lowest seed among the first-round winners and so on.
The way it’s done now, if there is an upset after the first Thursday game, the regular-season champion doesn’t play the lowest-seeded remaining team in its first game.
This also would allow the full book of ACC Tournament tickets to be sold for a lower price that’s a little more reasonable. You know that fans of the top four seeded teams weren’t thrilled that they had to pay for four Thursday games that they probably cared little about.
Certainly the fact that the tournament was in Atlanta and not in Greensboro where it’s supposed to be is a factor in low Thursday attendance. But the apathy of fans of the top-four seeds had to be a factor as well.
Are UNC and Duke fans saving their money for first- and second-round NCAA tournament tickets and the short trip Greensboro next weekend? Quite possible.
I blogged two years ago, I think that the ACC Tournament has lost so much luster that I wonder if it’s really needed any more. A writer unearthed that blog opinion last year and I was quoted in an A1 News & Observer article.
We know it’s not going to go away, but reasonable solutions have to be found when you see attendance so low. Even when it was at Greensboro last season, the Greensboro Coliseum wasn’t full for the UNC-Duke championship game. There's no real solution for that and you have to blame the economy, I suppose.
The big tournament that starts next week has simply taken on so much more interest when, in many cases, winning the tournament this week isn’t needed to get there. The teams that need to win the ACC Tournament to make it to the NCAA tournament have very little chance, particularly when it involves winning four games in four days.
Yes, Connecticut did win five games in five days to win the 2011 Big East Tournament, but that is very much the exception.
Give the lower eight seeds a day of rest and give seeds 5-9 a Tuesday home game and they at least have a slightly better chance of a miracle run.
Having said all of this, I realize that the ACC or the schools never are going to go for it. But I can always hope.