Jim Boeheim has been to five Final Fours as Syracuse men's basketball head coach, he has won a national championship, and he is in the sport's Hall of Fame. Now he gets a chance to take down UNC Greensboro when it really matters. Well, as much as playing in the NIT can matter.
After disappointing Orange fans by losing in the first round of the ACC tournament and falling short of a bid to the NCAA tournament, Syracuse hosts UNC Greensboro at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday. The matchup is interesting to the masses not because of basketball tactics or traditions but instead because Boeheim has a big mouth.
Following Syracuse's loss at the ACC tournament, Boeheim ripped the city of Greensboro as a tournament venue. Greensboro last hosted the ACC in 2015, and has hosted the tournament 28 times in all since 1967. This season, though, the ACC played its tournament in Brooklyn—as it should have, Boeheim said, in order to attract the most attention. Boeheim said the ACC would better served to have its tournament in big cities, and started a funny social media war as a result.
The entirety of Boeheim's quote makes sense, although he comes off as big-city rude because, well, he is that, too.
"I'm saying all that because I don't give a shit."
Darn right, he don't. Now leave him alone. He has to get his guys ready for the No Added Value Invitation Tournament.
The NIT selection committee would have you believe that the Syracuse-UNC Greensboro matchup has nothing to do with Boeheim ripping Greensboro. If you believe that, I've got a basketball tournament to sell you. Via the AP:
Reggie Minton, chair of the selection committee, insisted the NIT did not pair up the teams on purpose when the bracket was set.
"We didn't even have that in our minds," Minton said in an interview with ESPN during the tournament selection show. "We were matching teams against teams, not story lines against any other story lines, and it's the way it played out."
Minton said he was aware of Boeheim's comment last week at the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, but "hadn't thought of it since that time."
Regardless, the city of Greensboro quickly chimed in on its Twitter account: "Kudos (hashtag) NIT on having a sense of humor. Well played!"
And a church organization in Greensboro is selling shirts that read, "Greensboro vs. Boeheim."
They're surely not the only ones trying to make a buck, or a point, off Boeheim's comments. But sure, NIT, it's for basketball reasons that Syracuse and UNC Greensboro are playing.