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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ACC Tournament Eve

Ah...can you smell that?

That crisp...something...in the air that lets you know that the best four weekends in sports is right around the bend?

Yes, it's tournament time. The time when all the highs and lows (Lowes?) of the last four months of college basketball get condensed into seeding for the two best events in college sports, possibly in ALL of sport, the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

I'm a North Carolina native; born in Charlotte, raised in Fayetteville and schooled in Raleigh. The ACC Tournament is a birthright of mine, and I heartily claim it as such.

I grew up a State fan, and loved the Pack, but I truly got hooked back in 1990 when Georgia Tech was tearing it up with "Lethal Weapon 3"--the tandem of Dennis Scott, Brian Oliver and Kenny Anderson. I remember watching the championship game that year at the house of one of our church members who'd invited our family over for some cards and drinks. No one downstairs seemed to care that the title game was on, but I snuck away to the homeowner's bedroom to catch it. It seemed like Dennis Scott could hit from anywhere, and Kenny Anderson was easily one of the best point guards I'd ever seen play the game.

In school on Fridays--back when the league was only eight members deep--TVs from the AV room were tough to come by; they were all rented out by teachers showing the games in class. I consider those moments, watching early-90s tournament basketball in class, as crucial a part of my North Carolina education as anything else.

In 1995, Randolph Childress gave us one of the great moments in tournament history, scoring 107 points over three games--including the winning two in overtime--to beat Carolina in the finals. He also gave us one of the greatest crossovers of all time, breaking down Jeff McInnis and daring him to get back up before drilling a three. (And you can't mention Jeff McInnis in one breath without mentioning Phil Ford's wife in the next, but I digress...)

I remember as a freshman at State in 1997, hanging around the dorm as Spring break was starting, delaying my departure so I could catch our games Thursday and Friday. Then watching the game Saturday at a friend's house. Then dying on Sunday. It was glorious and devastating.

I suppose there's no reason to think that it can't all happen again this year. The deck looks as stacked against us as it ever has this year, but we potentially face two teams in the opening rounds that we've already beaten this year, Miami and VT, so to say that we CAN'T make another run would be a fallacy.

After all, it's tournament time.


  1. Florida State joined in 1991, so those "early 90s" tournaments included 9 teams. which meant those were the years of the dreaded 8-9 play in game, or as it is better known the "Les Robinson Inivitational Game"

    I love the format of the tournament now. It gives us one whole day more of great games. the regular season suffers (unequal schedules, etc), but it certainly enhances the tournament. I can't wait for tomorrow to get here!

  2. Yeah, the uneven schedules suck, and Seth Greenberg scored an ACC COY award as a result, but two full days of tournament basketball is pretty doggone sweet.

  3. The first tourney I ever paid attention to was in 1987. Unfortunately I was a hole fan at the time, a sin for which I continue to be punished.

  4. mike giomi is rolling in his grave ...

  5. The new day of games because more than eight teams in the conference is blasphemy.

    Each team should have to win the same number of games to win the tournament.

    The ACC is still the best conference and its tournament is also the best conference tournament, but over-expansion, a trap only other conferences used to fall into, was a mini-jump the shark moment for the ACC.

  6. Would that mean jumping a mini-shark? Or a regular sized shark getting jumped by a miniature conference?


    I say if you want to only play three games to win the championship then you better finish in the top four of the league.