Boeheim, Syracuse seniors reflect on 1st season in ACC, move from Big East

first_imgBUFFALO, N.Y. — More than any other coach leading a team in Buffalo for the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, Jim Boeheim gets asked to reminisce.He looked back at some milestone wins on Wednesday, and even recalled his first NCAA Tournament.But after coaching Syracuse during its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference this year, Boeheim had something new to reminisce about: the Big East and how it compared to his first season in the new league.“The restaurants were pretty good,” the SU head coach joked. “It surprised me. They were really pretty good.”Otherwise, though, Boeheim and seniors C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita said the conferences aren’t so different.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textComing into the league, Fair heard all about how different the styles of the leagues were. The Big East was a physical, grind-it-out conference. The ACC was all about up-and-down, high-speed hoops.Instead, the ACC looked even more like the Big East than the Big East sometimes did. The additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as well as Virginia finding an identity as a slow team, gave the conference a variety of looks and styles.“I think the physicality of the ACC was underestimated, or underrated,” Fair said. “It’s just you get a taste of everything in the ACC, not just one style.”Unanimously, both players said the biggest thing that they missed from the Big East was the postseason play. The ACC Tournament is a highly competitive week of play, but it doesn’t induce the same nostalgia as the tournament in Madison Square Garden.“You have the opportunity to go and see different places. But the one thing I would miss is the Big East tournament, the rivalry between us and different schools,” Keita said. “We were just watching the Georgetown game again, us and them, so it’s just a big rivalry. But now you have to make new rivalries starting this year.”But while the Tournament may have been the same as it has been, the league the Orange left was far different than the one that SU helped found in 1979.That league — the one with Providence, St. John’s, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Boston College, Villanova and Pittsburgh — is the one that Boeheim is nostalgic about. Not the one that had ballooned to feature Rutgers, West Virginia, Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech, DePaul and Marquette.“You didn’t know who was going to be where,” Boeheim said. “It just wasn’t the same.”His only worry was about how the fans would react, and they turned out in droves and gave Syracuse its best attendance since 1993.The Big East was an old, familiar ship, but old ships begin to sink at some point, and the Orange got off in time to find solid ground.“We got to a league that is going to be stable, as stable as you can be,” Boeheim said. “And given the people that run college basketball or athletics, I think it will be stable.“You never know how things are going to be, but it turned out really good. Really good.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2last_img

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