By Nathaniel White SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — On Wednesday, people of Central New York spent lunch break funneling into local bars to watch Syracuse square off against Miami in the their first game of the ACC Tournament. The Orange ultimately lost to the Hurricanes, failing to advance to play again on Thursday. This resulted in empty bars during Thursday’s lunch hour.
Even so, Jim Nichols, the owner of Sharky’s, was still at his bar today, preparing for its regular evening opening. Nichols, along with other bar owners all throughout Central New York, hope to see Syracuse play well in the final month of the season. The more Syracuse plays, the more people who will go out to local establishments to watch the big game.
“Having Syracuse do well….it’s a huge boost to us,” Nichols said.
The Orange is not off to a good start by losing in the first round of the conference tournament. While the team now shifts its attention to March Madness, so does Nichols.
“If they make the tournament…which I know they’re on the bubble right now but I feel confident that they’re gonna make it, it will be a big deal for us,” Nichols said.
With an early exit from the ACC Tournament, there is a chance that Syracuse might not get to participate in March Madness. This is the worst case scenario for local bars. According to Nichols, fans will only come out for games that their hometown team is playing in.
“For March Madness, SU is the only team that brings people to our bar, regardless of any other games that happen,” Nichols said. “Let’s say that Monday is the championship game…I’ll have three people in here to watch the game…If it was SU, I would have 400 people in here to watch the game.”
Nichols is not the only person who wants Syracuse participating in the madness. Carl Patzer is a Syracuse native and die-hard Orange basketball fan. While his hopes are high, he is trying to keep his expectations in check.
“I love them, I love Syracuse and I would love to see them in there,” Patzer said. “I’m on the fence on which way it’s gonna go.”
March 12th is “Selection Sunday.” It will be on this day that Syracuse discovers its tournament fate. Central New York bar owners will be watching from their establishments, hoping to be joined by cheering fans.