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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
ACC moves to Saturday title game

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

The Atlantic Coast Conference will move its tournament championship game to the Saturday night before Selection Sunday after being a Sunday afternoon staple since 1982.

The ACC announced the scheduling change Tuesday during its spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida.

The ACC tournament will be in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2015, Washington, D.C., in 2016 and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in 2017 and '18. The 2019 ACC tournament will be held in Charlotte before it goes back to Greensboro in 2020.

"Prime time on Saturday night during the tournament week is another step in the right direction," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon told ESPN.com from the meetings.

The ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Atlantic 10 were the highest-profile conferences that have played a Sunday final recently, causing the selection committee to sometimes come up with an alternative bracket depending on who was playing for the title.

The ACC tournament will run a Tuesday-to-Saturday format, meaning the league's regular season will end on the previous Saturday instead of Sunday. There will be three first-round games on Tuesday of Championship Week, four second-round games on Wednesday, four quarterfinal games on Thursday, the semifinals on Friday and the Saturday championship game.

"I think it's huge. The Friday night doubleheader resonates around the country, it always has," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "The extra day is good for the two teams with the preparation, and Saturday night you have the whole television audience.

"We've talked about this since we came into the league. This will be a great thing to switch to this."

"I love the move," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told ESPN.com. "I've always thought it was powerful when we did it that way in the Big East. The Sunday final is almost an afterthought since the attention is all on the selection show."

The former conference of Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame, the Big East, and most recently the Big 12 and Pac-12, have held their conference finals on Saturday.

The Sunday final can cause headaches for not only the NCAA tournament selection committee but also be a problem for schools that have to travel quickly on Tuesday for a Thursday-Saturday regional, something Virginia coach Tony Bennett told ESPN.com he favors.

"I like the move," said Bennett, whose Cavs won this season's ACC tournament. "It allows for a day extra to prepare for an NCAA tournament game the following week and also the evening time slot should provide a great atmosphere."

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, the coach with the longest active history with the ACC, also sees the move as a boon to the conference.

"I love it," Krzyzewski told ESPN.com. "The Friday night semifinals too. It just adds a new dimension to our tournament. Having the last regular-season game on Saturday is good too. To have that Sunday [off for the NCAA tournament] is good too.

"I love the changes. Whatever the ratings are, they will skyrocket. It's what our conference should do. Having the championship game Saturday night allows there to be a lead-up. When it was on Sunday there was no chance to rest. The Saturday night time slot has all the coaches excited."

Information from ESPN.com's Jared Shanker and Andy Katz was included in this report.