Fan Feedback: How to Make the ACC Tournament Great Again


Many of our members have written to us over the years that they feel the ACC Tournament has lost some of its excitement. Attendance has suffered in the early rounds, and what used to be an eight-team event where everyone had a chance is now a 15-team tournament where the first-round participants have little shot at even advancing to the finals.

Last week, we asked our readers for their suggestions on how to Make the ACC Tournament Great Again. Through Twitter and submissions on the website, here are the top responses: 



“Make the regular season more valuable by only inviting the top eight teams. A three-day tournament is plenty AND those schools get rewarded by a bigger allotment of tickets than when diluted as they are now with 15 teams. Play the championship game early enough on Saturday so that fans can GO HOME when the game ends, saving money instead of another hotel night. Until the conference office starts to put as much attention and care for the fans buying tickets and traveling as they do for the stay-at-home TV audience, the attendance will suffer. I continue to turn down tickets because of costs, even though I could get the days off. I’m sure lots of others are picking their sofas and HD TVs over actual attendance for the same reason.” — Perry

“Only take the top 12 teams and don’t start until Thursday. 5 v. 12, 6 v. 11, 7 v. 10, 8 v. 9 on Day 1. Top four getting byes.” — Eric

“A five-day tournament is just too long. I would bring only eight teams to a single site to play a three-day tournament with quarterfinals on Friday, semis on Saturday and final on Sunday. With a 15-team league, I would accomplish this by holding a first round on Tuesday night with the regular-season champ earning a bye and the remaining 14 teams playing for the right to advance to the main tournament. The lower-seeded team would play on the home court of the higher-seeded team, which would be most helpful in addressing travel and attendance concerns.” — Dave

“Play it in NC every year and in Charlotte because it is a central location and has no specific related team. Every team would have to travel, and Charlotte can handle the crowds. It’s also a great host city. It would be nice to have a permanent location or for 5-10 years to start.” — William

“Bring back Maryland and only let the original eight teams play. Do it in Greensboro. The tourney is so weak now. Not interesting.” — JD

“I’d like to see the conference add a 16th team so we could divide competition into four ‘pods’: a Northern group of Boston College/Syracuse/Pitt/Notre Dame, a Middle group of Virginia/Virginia Tech/Louisville/a new conference member, a Carolina group of UNC/NC State/Duke/Wake Forest and a Southern group of Clemson/Georgia Tech/Florida State/Miami. After a reworked conference schedule of 18 games (playing each of your pod twice and everyone else once each year), the conference tournament would consist of two eight-team tournaments with the Northern/Mid and the Carolina/Southern teams meeting, seeding based on conference record or head-to-head between the pods. These could be staged in the geographical areas of the pods associated with that particular tournament. This would culminate with a league championship between the two tournament winners meeting on either Selection Sunday or the Saturday before to crown the ACC champion. That system would bring back the intimacy of the eight-team competition of the past yet give all 16 members exposure and a greater chance to win the conference championship. It would also bring back important rivalries that have been destroyed due to conference expansion yet give everyone the chance to play each other every year.” — DB

“1. No double-byes.

2. Split into two weekends.

3. First weekend is split into two sites: Northern and Southern.

4. Eight winners from first weekend play on the second weekend.

BOOM! You go from one jumbled ACC Tournament location to what would effectively be three locations with two distinct rounds — a mini NCAA Tournament!” — Hokie Mark

“Rotate it only to Charlotte, Atlanta and Greensboro, with Greensboro getting the most yearly dates. Even though I’m from PA and attending the event in DC, it has no business coming north to venues in DC and NY. Also, the championship game being played 9 p.m. needs to be moved up earlier (this is not the West Coast).” — Mike

“Limit it to eight or 10 teams at most. The odds of the bottom 4-5 teams winning are infinitesimal anyhow.” — David N.

“The lack of a true round robin regular season makes the seedings of the ACC Tournament unbalanced since each team has a different schedule in the regular season. NC State plays at 9 p.m. Wednesday of this week and then at Notre Dame at noon Saturday while their ACC Tournament opponent, Wake Forest, has a week off to prepare for the tournament opener. With such a large number of teams in the league, the conference schedule will need to start before Jan. 1 so the players are not asked to cram so many games into a short period of time.” — David B.

“Rotate the tournament better and do it like the NCAA does the Final Four. Have Greensboro host the event every four years (NCAA does that with Indy). Then have Charlotte, Brooklyn/New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Boston or Atlanta host it in the other years.” SA

“Unless moving it to NYC increases excitement/attendance, permanently anchor it in NC, where it matters. There is excellent media coverage when it is there. There is essentially none when it is in Atlanta, DC, etc. Plus, once teams start losing, there is a ready market for tickets among the ‘Big Four’ fans, whereas there is no such thing in NYC, DC, ATL, Tampa, etc. One major detriment has been the cutting of the number of tickets per school by almost 50% with expansion. By the time the games start to matter, half of the fans no longer care, but they have books of tickets anyway. Fix this by having the first round (currently all but the first seed would be playing) on the home courts of the higher-seeded teams. Only the eight teams that advance would get tickets to the tournament.” — Wayne

“Go back to an eight-team format and exclude the bottom teams. Even though I am a Wake Forest grad and really want to see us there again, the bottom teams are not going to buy tickets and go to the tourney, because they know their teams can’t win 4 games and get to the finals. Make it exclusive and for teams that have a chance. Make the regular season mean something.” — John

“The tournament should be played in North Carolina at least every other year. Being out of the state two or three years running is ridiculous. I will not attend another one until it is in North Carolina again. I go almost every year. I even went to Florida for it, but I will not drive from N.C. to D.C. for it. It does not belong there at all. See you back in N. C. when the ACC wakes up.” — DJ