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COMMENTARY: Syracuse should not pass up chance at Glens Falls
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COMMENTARY: Syracuse should not pass up chance at Glens Falls

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Next to my own bed, I’ve spent more leisure time at the Glens Falls Civic Center than any other place in the world.

So, I know what I am talking about when I say the Syracuse University basketball team would have an experience like none other if it came to play in Glens Falls.

Yes, I’m inviting them, if Mayor Dan Hall hasn’t done so already, and he probably has.

Here’s the deal: Syracuse University is shutting down the Carrier Dome on March 1 so it can put on a new roof.

With a 15-12 record, the basketball team may not qualify for a slot in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. That means that Syracuse could be offered a chance to host a game in the National Invitation Tournament on March 17 or March 18. If that happened, it would need a place to play.

Enter Glens Falls.

It has an open date on March 18.

Unfortunately, Syracuse University Athletic Director John Wildhack poured a bucket of cold water on the idea, saying it was “highly unlikely.”

I figured he was being loyal to the fans in the Syracuse area.

Or maybe it was about the money, since games at the Dome regularly draw more than 20,000.

But I think he is being shortsighted, especially after stumbling on some recent attendance numbers when Syracuse was relegated to the NIT.

In 2017, just 4,288 turned out for an NIT game at the Carrier Dome against UNC Greensboro. One of the reasons for the poor turnout was that the students were on spring break.

It turns out that Syracuse students will again be on spring break this year during the first round of the NIT.

So if just 5,000 people turned out at the cavernous Carrier Dome to the lesser of the two national basketball tournaments with the students on break, I’m thinking the Syracuse officials might be open to trying something different.

Perhaps, a smaller arena that can get really loud. Ask your coach, Jim Boeheim, he has been here dozens of times.

Perhaps, a crowd that is not just motivated by big-time basketball, but by welcoming home a native son, Joseph Girard III.

We’d pack the place to see JG3 play.

The atmosphere would be electric and the home-court advantage would be as good as the Carrier Dome. Check out the video from last year’s state Federation game here.

Sure, there are more seats at the Times Union Center in Albany, but it is hosting the NCAA men’s tournament starting on March 19. That could make a Syracuse NIT game earlier in the week a tougher sell.

It appears the arenas in Rochester and Buffalo have open dates as well, but are the Syracuse fans going to travel for an NIT game?

If Syracuse comes to Glens Falls, it will not need to bring any fans. We will fill the place.

We have a track record in this regard.

We draw your attention to the “Jimmer Game.”

During Jimmer Fredette’s senior year at Brigham Young, the school scheduled a game against the University of Vermont at the Civic Center, just for Jimmer. Or maybe it was just for us.

The place sold out so we could welcome home a native son.

It was electric and a night none of us will ever forget.

If Syracuse comes to Glens Falls, it’s a night none of you will ever forget.

We are Hometown, USA and know how to welcome home one of our own.

Don’t pass up this opportunity.

n Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com. His blog “The Front Page” discusses issues about newspapers and journalism. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.

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