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ACC moves men's hoops title game to Saturday in primetime

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AMELIA ISLAND – ACC teams won’t be celebrating winning the league’s elite basketball tournament and learn their NCAA Tournament seed on the same day.

The Atlantic Coast Conference will move its men's basketball tournament to a Tuesday through Saturday schedule starting with the upcoming season.

Under the new schedule, the semifinal games will be featured at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, with the championship game Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.

All 14 tournament games will continue to be air on ESPN and the ACC Network.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said the move was a “back to the future” moment for the league, noting the conference play its title game on Saturdays from 1953 to 1981. It was moved to Sunday afternoons in 1982. 

"It's a win-win all around," Swofford said during the ACC’s spring meetings. "... Our coaches were very supportive of it as were our athletic directors.

"I think our fans will welcome it as well and certainly having it in the prime-time slot will certainly enhance what we think has been consistently been for many, many years the best conference basketball tournament in the country."

Swofford said the move will allow the two teams playing in the championship game a chance for additional rest before the start of the NCAA Tournament the following week. 

"They welcomed that," Swofford said of the league coaches. "That's one of the reasons they were so strongly in favor of it."

Miami coach Jim Larrañaga lauded the change.

"I think it's a great move for the league," he said. "It's prime-time on Saturday night leading into the NCAA Tournament. It gives our teams in that championship game one more day to prepare for the NCAA Tournament."

For Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, the move was reminiscent of being back in the old Big East.

"We talked about it last year in the meetings, and I think the Big East guys all talked about how the Friday night semifinals and the crescendo Saturday night in primetime was so good for the Big East tournament," Brey said.

"One of the points made was that championship game on Sunday becomes somewhat of an afterthougt because everybody is already focused at 6 o'clock on the [NCAA] selection show."

The championship game was previously played early Sunday with the NCAA Tournament field announcement later that evening. 

Matt Murschel can be reached at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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