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University Of Alaska Glad To Be Visiting Florida

They can finally take off those snow shoes.

Maryland coach Gary Williams believes the North Carolina schools have an advantage playing close to home, so he supports moving the tournament around. Plus, it means reaching new fans.

"I think it's great exposure for the league for one thing in Florida …," Williams said. "It's good for all the people in Florida to see up close what's going on in the ACC, especially this year with the strength of the league."

From the Baltimore Sun's David Steele:

Colleague Rick Maese, on the scene in Tampa, nailed it this morning. This may have the name "ACC Tournament,'' it may look like the ACC tournament, but it can't possibly feel like the ACC tournament. Gary Williams hates hearing that, but it's true.

Rick was where I was two years ago - his first tournament is in Tampa, mine was down the road in D.C. That was very convenient, and of course part of me can't disagree with the idea that the tournament can't live on Tobacco Road and that at least the longtime members ought to have a taste. Especially the ones in major markets, in which you can't find a Piggly Wiggly anywhere in the vicinity.

Yet it really, simply, still didn't feel the same. The ACC tournament belongs in a bustling downtown area just a little more than it does in a place like Tampa. I noticed it, and believe me, the visitors from Nawth Cakalacky noticed it - every morning when I pulled into one of the downtown parking garages and walked to then-MCI Center, I heard hundreds (probably thousands) of longtime ACC tourney-goers bitching up a storm about how they couldn't tailgate, how there weren't any places to eat (that is, eat what they wanted to eat, pulled pork and sweet tea), how it was just too crowded. I never actually heard the word "city-fied,'' but that was the general sentiment. No offense.

They did have a point - it felt like D.C., which is fine, but just not like the ACC tournament. Some feelings you just can't shake. Then, the next year, it was in Greensboro, and it really felt like what I figured it would. The tournament was the be-all and end-all of Carolina life that week. And, of course, Gary Williams spent much of the Wednesday practice cracking up the writers at courtside with a monologue about having to come there all the time, never coming to a real city, and comparing Maryland's metropolitan scope to Greensboro's.