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(Mary Altaffer, AP)

(Mary Altaffer, AP)

NEW YORK — After small crowds and sloppy basketball made Day One of the ACC Tournament forgettable, the morning session of Day Two was exactly the opposite. Along with that, after wondering if the ACC Tournament was ever going to be a success without a “hometown team,” the traveling Orange of Syracuse reminded us that New York City is part of Cuse’ town, as they come out in droves and covered 90% of the Barclay’s Center in Syracuse orange.

Sadly for the ACC Tournament, Syracuse wasn’t able to find a way to beat Miami, thus eliminating themselves from the tournament. All game long, Syracuse could not find a defensive answer to Miami’s offense. Everytime Syracuse got close to taking the lead, Miami came up with big shots to keep them ahead.  

“We haven’t been able to stop anybody,” said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. “Today we got a few stops, but not enough.”

Syracuse’s star point-guard, John Gillon, was unable to get anything going on offense. Gillon went 3-9 from the field and only mustered up eight points. Forward Andrew White III picked up the slack and put up an impressive 22 points. Despite being in an offensive funk, the slumping Gillon was the one who took the final shot for Syracuse, not White III, with only a few seconds remaining in the game.

”I was just trying to get the ball up as fast as I could and just knock down the shot,” said Gillon. “That was the only thing that was going through my mind at that time.”

Regardless of the result, the ACC found out that there is a market for having the ACC Tournament in New York. With the Barclay’s Center echoing with chants from the traveling Syracuse fans, the atmosphere for basketball was in prime condition. With that being said, Boeheim thinks that the ACC Championship should remain up North or move to a big city, but not just because of the fact that Syracuse had a home crowd.

“I think New York is a great place,” said Boeheim. “I think the big city is where it (the tournament) should be played.” Boeheim then continued to state that “there’s no value in playing the tournament in 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.” Boeheim then went on to finally say “and I’m saying all that because I don’t give a s***. I’m just saying what’s right.” Classy, Boeheim.

Transitioning into the second game of the day, fans were treated to a dandy as Clemson and Duke squared off in a thriller. Plus, since Duke was playing, it was only normal to have Grayson Allen at the center of attention. From the moment he stepped on the court, heckling and boos were directed at Allen from opposing fans, thus creating a hostile environment for the 21-year-old.

After coming off the bench early in the first half, Allen picked up three quick personal fouls in 51 seconds, including a technical for slamming the ball down on the ground after a foul call. Immediately after the technical was issued,  chants of “you suck, Grayson” and “Allen is a crybaby” echoed from fans, leaving Allen silent for the rest of the half with half his face buried in a Gatorade towel.

When asked about the technical following the game, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski responded: “Kids get technicals.” Despite the fact that Allen played only 12 minutes and was held scoreless for the first time since 2015 (zero points in three minutes against Gonzaga in the Elite Eight,) Allen still overshadowed the game, which distracted from the fact that Duke played phenomenally well in the second half.

Duke went on to win against Clemson (79-72) behind 20 points each from Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, and Frank Jackson. Krzyzewski noted that “we (Duke) beat a real good team, and now we’ve got to turn it around and play another really good team.” That really good team Krzyzewski eluded to is Rick Pitino and Louisville, whom they play tomorrow at 2:00 pm ET.

Before his postgame press conference was over, a reporter asked Krzyzewski what he thought about having the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn.

“Well, obviously, there has been great value having it in Greensboro because this is the tournament that everyone copied,” noted Krzyzewski. “If the powers to be want to go back…so be it… I think coming to New York is a huge thing because we’ve added — we have 15 teams.”

Krzyzewski is right. Most teams (formerly from the Big East) are used to playing their conference tournament in the New York area. This poses an interesting test for the ACC as they search for new venues to host the ACC Tournament. With North Carolina possibly out due to the HB2 Law controversy, finding new locations will be necessary.

To say the least, the first half of Day Two at the ACC Tournament brought about competitive basketball and more debate about the location of the tournament. With over three days of basketball left, this tournament is shaping up to be a can’t miss event for basketball fans.


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