March Madness Comes to MSG and Barclays - Two Big Tournaments at the Same Time in NYC

New York is really getting a taste of March Madness. Two marquee college basketball tournaments are being played at the same time... with bids for the NCAA tournament on the line. It's never happened in the city -- until now. NY1's Roger Clark reports.

There’s an electric atmosphere outside Barclays Center, welcoming some of the nation's top men's college basketball teams.

"I'm excited, New York's a great place for it and I'm just glad to come up and watch the best basketball in the country up here,” said one fan, Chris Vaughan.

The Atlantic Coast Conference tournament is underway at Barclays, featuring powerhouses like Duke and North Carolina – the first time the conference championship has been in New York.

And across the East River, in Manhattan, the Big East Tournament is kicking off its 35th year at Madison Square Garden.

That's two major basketball tournaments at once, echoing a time when Gotham was the capital of college hoops, reaching its peak in 1950 when City College won the NCAA and NIT tournaments, only to be brought down by a point-shaving scandal.

The early March Madness makes for a busy week for journalists like Ian Powers, Sunday Sports Editor of The Daily News.

"I think there are going to be some intrepid writers who are going to do the Big East on Saturday evening and then come here for the late ACC final on Saturday Night," he said.

For years the ACC tourney was held down South, where the conference was anchored.

But then the ACC lured Syracuse, Boston College and Pittsburgh away from the Big East, an effort to expand into the New York and Northeast television markets.

Syracuse play-by-play announcer Matt Park says it was a natural fit.

"I don't care if you are Florida State or Miami, it makes sense to be in New York," he said.

And there's the tradition too. After all, this is a city where many playground stars have become legends.

"New York founded college basketball as we know it and certainly everybody wants to have a flag in New York in New York to be represented here," Park said.

Next year, March Madness will be even zanier in New York.

The Big 10 Conference tournament featuring teams like Michigan, Ohio State and nearby Rutgers will be at the Garden for the first time; the Big East will continue its run; and the ACC tournament will return to Barclays -- a three point shot of college basketball.

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The Big East Tournament tips off at 7 p.m. Eighth seed St John's takes on seventh seed Georgetown at Madison Square Garden.

Later, Xavier will play DePaul at 9:30 p.m.

There are four games on the docket at Barclays Wednesday for round two of the ACC tournament.

Syracuse takes on Miami at noon, followed by Duke vs. Clemson at 2 p.m. Virginia Tech plays Wake Forest at 7 p.m., and then Virginia vs Georgia Tech at 9 p.m.

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