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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Jim Boeheim not a fan of shuffle

By Kieran Darcy
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim admitted Monday that he is not a fan of conference expansion -- which includes his own school and Pittsburgh jumping ship from the Big East to the ACC -- and spoke candidly when comparing the sites of the Big East and ACC tournaments.

Boeheim said that while he's upset Syracuse is leaving the Big East, he's excited to be joining "a great conference" in the ACC.

"Conference change is inevitable. It's been inevitable. This has happened for years," Boeheim said Tuesday on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption. "And right now the best place for Syracuse with the instability -- remember, the Big East is now 17 schools and looking to go to 20 -- the best place for Syracuse was the ACC at this time."

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Sunday that its council of presidents had unanimously voted to accept Syracuse and Pittsburgh, a move that increases its membership to 14 and sends the Big East scrambling to replace two of its cornerstone programs.

"It happened pretty fast," Boeheim, the all-time leader in regular-season conference wins with 338, said Tuesday in an interview on Syracuse radio station WSKO. "It was one of those things that I think just came about. The university made a decision, the chancellor, and I think their concern is what's best for Syracuse University."

Syracuse was a charter member of the Big East, which was founded as a basketball conference in 1979.

"I think you have to understand two things," Boeheim said during the radio interview. "Basketball is my concern. Are we going to a great place to play basketball? Yes. How you get there, I don't think that matters. We're going to a great basketball conference."

The Big East has held its tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York every year since 1983. On Sunday, ACC commissioner John Swofford broached the topic of holding the ACC tournament at Madison Square Garden in the future, but it is already scheduled to be held in Atlanta in 2012 and in Greensboro, N.C., the following three years.

"It's a great place for a tournament," Boeheim told the Birmingham News of New York. "Where would you want to go to to a tournament for five days? Let's see: Greensboro, North Carolina, or New York City? Jeez. Let me think about that one and get back to you."

As for why conference expansion is happening, Boeheim had a simple answer. "If conference commissioners were the founding fathers of this country, we would have Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina in the United States," Boeheim said. "This audience knows why we are doing this. There's two reasons: Money and football."

Boeheim had already acknowledged having some reservations about Syracuse's move to the ACC in a conversation with ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Sunday, the day the move was officially announced. "I spent 30 years in the Big East, so this will be hard for me," Boeheim said. "This has been hard for me, but the school has to do what's best for the school.

"There was uncertainty with the Big East with TCU coming in and rumors of adding Kansas or Kansas State or whatever," Boeheim added. "They could be losing West Virginia or somebody else. We needed to be in a stable league, and we had to be in a stable situation."

As for Syracuse's long-standing rivalries with other Big East schools, Boeheim said he will try to keep some of them alive, specifically mentioning St. John's and Georgetown.

Kieran Darcy covers college sports for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.