Tom Sorensen

For the ACC, Brooklyn is more than a bridge, given HB2 roadblock

Brooklyn has a bridge, and this week the ACC tournament at the Barclays Center. It might be a long time before the event returns to North Carolina, but it’ll be OK.
Brooklyn has a bridge, and this week the ACC tournament at the Barclays Center. It might be a long time before the event returns to North Carolina, but it’ll be OK. AP

“Brooklyn, Brooklyn let me in,” the Avett Brothers sang. “Are you aware the shape I’m in?”

If you’re the ACC men’s basketball tournament, you’re in great shape, thanks. The conference is deep and dangerous, and the ACC is showing it off this week in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

I feel bad for fans accustomed to watching their school on familiar turf. But Washington was a fine host last season, and the ACC will return to Brooklyn in 2018.

We might have to get accustomed to the road show. Because of N.C.’s unfortunate House Bill 2, the ACC might not return to N.C. until Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina’s Roy Williams have retired.

Yeah, the Marriott and a cold beer might cost you more in Brooklyn and Manhattan than in Greensboro, and the sweet tea might not be as sweet. And we do have Tobacco Road, while all Brooklyn has is a bridge.

But have you been to Brooklyn? Brooklyn is a compelling destination and Barclays Center a great site for basketball.

Remember when fans complained about conference expansion? I got it. One of the qualities that distinguished and continues to distinguish the ACC is proximity.

Syracuse, Boston College, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Miami and Boston College aren’t exactly in the neighborhood. I list Boston College last because until I checked the schedule I forgot the Eagles were in the ACC.

I loved expansion. You don’t like watching Williams and Krzyzewski go against Louisville’s Rick Pitino?

Virginia Tech was a fine addition that supersedes the Blacksburg, Va., market. The Hokies offered football relevance at a time the ACC had little.

With every other major conference growing and expanding and setting up its own lucrative television network, the ACC couldn’t lay back and watch.

To get a conference tournament game that matters at noon Wednesday – Syracuse versus Miami – is a gift for fans. Games don’t stop until Virginia plays at 9 p.m. Let the madness begin.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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