ACC basketball tournament returns to Saturday night championship format

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton,File)

Take that again, Big East.

The ACC took another stride toward asserting itself as the dominant conference in college basketball, announcing Tuesday at the league's spring meetings that next year's men's basketball tournament would conclude with a Saturday night championship game for the first time in 34 years.

That Saturday night primetime spot - next year's final tips off at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN - used to be reserved for the Big East Championship game at Madison Square Garden.

After taking Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame from the Big East, and announcing the ACC Tournament would visit Brooklyn in 2017 and 2018, the ACC continued to tinker with its basketball structure. First-round games also will move back a day to Tuesday, and semifinals will be played Friday.

The first 28 ACC Tournament championships were played on Saturday, before the switch in 1982.

"This is kind of a 'Back to the Future' moment for our conference," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "The Sunday championship game worked tremendously well for more than three decades, but I believe our schools, teams and our fans will be excited about crowning a champion on Saturday night. This will be a win-win for everyone involved - players, coaches, fans - and we greatly appreciate our television partners, ESPN and the ACC Network, working with us to make this happen."

The 2015 ACC Tournament will be in its usual spot in Greensboro, N.C., but in 2016 it moves to Washington, D.C., before a two-year stint at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It'll be in Charlotte in 2019 and back in Greensboro in 2020.