ACC Expansion And Impact On College Basketball Holiday Tournaments

via wikipedia.com

The Boston College hoops team is fresh off a trip to Anaheim for this year's 76 Classic, and will be headed to next year's Charleston Classic down in South Carolina. While the Eagles have gotten to participate in some decent holiday tournaments over the past few years, ACC expansion could limit BC's options going forward. The ACC's recent additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh could make it even harder for a program like Boston College to ever get into more exclusive tournaments such as the Maui Invitational. ESPN's Andy Katz:

"The expanded conferences will put even more of a premium on getting into the more exclusive fields. If Duke and North Carolina choose to pursue playing in the Maui Invitational on a four-year rotation then the remaining 12 schools would all be jockeying for only two spots in a four-year cycle.

[snip]

Lower level Big East schools have had this problem of wedging out the powers for the elite tournaments. The NCAA doesn't allow teams from the same league to be in these tournaments unless they are grandfathered in from a previous conference. But the schools don't want to be in the same event in the oft-chance they would play each other possibly three times in a season if they play twice in conference."

For those expecting to ever watch the Eagles play in Maui over Thanksgiving, I wouldn't exactly hold your breath.

From the ACC, it looks like North Carolina will play in Maui in 2012 and Syracuse will represent the conference in 2013. The Maui Invitational, which has become one of the premiere holiday tournaments in the nation, seems to be settling into an ACC rotation of Duke, North Carolina, ACC program #1 and ACC program #2. In past years non-Duke, non-Carolina ACC programs #1 and #2 have been predominantly two of Maryland, Virginia and Georgia Tech. Add higher profile programs like Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the conference, and the Eagles will likely have to get behind those programs for an invite to a tournament like the Maui Invitational.

BC, who last played in Maui in 1997, will probably have to settle for other ESPN made-for-TV "Classics" like the 76 Classic, Old Spice Classic and Charleston Classic going forward, with the once-in-a-blue-moon trip to Maui. There's certainly enough of these holiday tournaments to go around the ACC even in an expanded conference. But you have to think these so-called elite tournaments will continue to cycle through the ACC's power programs with even greater frequency, keeping mid-tier programs out of its tournament fields.

After the jump, a list of past and future ACC participants in the Maui Invitational.

1984: Virginia
1985: Virginia Tech (then Big East)
1989: North Carolina
1992: Duke
1993: Boston College (Big East)
1994: Maryland
1995: North Carolina
1996: Virginia
1997: Duke, Boston College (Big East)
1998: Clemson
1999: North Carolina
2000: Maryland
2001: Duke
2002: Virginia
2004: North Carolina
2005: Maryland
2006: Georgia Tech
2007: Duke
2008: North Carolina
2009: Maryland
2010: Virginia
2011: Duke
2012: North Carolina
2013: Syracuse

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