Here are excerpts from that conversation:
Q: Do you expect a full house for every game in the tournament?
Swofford: "I hope so. We haven't been here before, so we'll see. It's an opportunity to see some great basketball, particularly with the way our league has gone this year. We're so deep competitively, that there are a lot of teams coming into this tournament that think they have an opportunity to win."
Q: This is an area where a lot of people haven't seen ACC basketball and the league wanted to expose them to it. However the conference's two biggest draws, North Carolina and Duke, are the only two teams not participating in the fan-friendly practice sessions that are open and free to the public. Does it disappoint you at all that they aren't here?
Swofford: "It's really up to the schools and traditionally some of those schools have chosen not to practice at the site. It's totally up to what they think is best for their basketball team. So, that's not a disappointment. I know fans would like to see those two programs, just as they would like to see the other 10 that are practicing. But I think the most important thing is that those programs do what they think is best for their teams at this given point in the season."
Q: Would you admit that it's still a little strange to walk outside and to be in Florida during ACC Tournament time?
Swofford: "Well, it's never happened before, so it's different from anything that we've experienced before. But I think any site we go to has a certain uniqueness to it. Greensboro has hosted the tournament more than any other venue or city. Charlotte is second is that regard and they are both there are Tobacco Road. When we're in Atlanta, we're in the (Georgia) Dome and have had huge crowds in one of the great cities of the South.
"And then D.C., two years ago, that was a special experience and unique, because you're there a few blocks from the White House and there's so many that fans can do around the games. I'm sure Tampa will have its own uniqueness, starting with the great weather. So, we look forward to being here. I think it will be a huge success."
Q: If it's going to be a huge success like you believe, then why isn't Tampa or another city in Florida listed on the docket to host the tournament through 2015? Will it ever come back to Florida?"
Swofford: "I don't know yet. Our next rotation that the schools have voted on is a combination of Greensboro and Atlanta. Next year we'll be in Charlotte. One of the issues now that we're 12 teams is the number of tickets the schools get. Next year will be the first year that those tickets are divided (equally) 12 ways. This building, the building in Charlotte and the building in D.C., are all similar in size, around 20,000, give or take a few. The Greensboro Coliseum is at 23,500 and the dome in Atlanta can pretty much be what you want it to be in terms of capacity. Then we'll make an observation as the schools have an opportunity to experience being 12 and having those tickets split 12 different ways in 20,000-seat arenas."
One-on-One with John Swofford
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