Maybe that was as good a day, as pure a day of ACC basketball as this one was, but there are very few other candidates. What a great, great day of hoops.
- Duke 84, Virginia 74
- Georgia Tech 83, UNC 82
- N.C. State 78, Florida State 71
- Maryland 87, Wake Forest 86
Consider also that the Duke and State victories had somewhat inflated final totals, because the games were both much closer until the very end.
It's hard to remember a better, more satisfying day of basketball. The Tech-UNC game was remarkable, the State-FSU game was fabulously
intense, especially at the end, and part of the Maryland-Wake game, towards the
end, featured a shootout which was just spectacular.
Some thoughts and impressions:
Roy Williams, who sort of belittled the tournament before it started,
backtracked quickly. Here's a before and after:
Before -"Do I love the tournament? No. I don't love the tournament
at all. In some ways it's just a huge cocktail party for four or five days...In
the old days, I thought it even had more purpose, because we were the only
one. We were the granddaddy...Since we have to go play, let's play our
absolute best. Let's go up there and prepare to be willing to make the
sacrifices to win the whole thing."
After - didnÂt say I didnÂt like the Tournament, I said I wasnÂt in
love with it. When I got up the next day and read some of those articles, I was
really quite surprised. I made a statement of fact that it wasnÂt as much fun
as it was in the old days. Those of you who were there, know that is true. We
were the granddaddy of them all. We were special and nobody else did it.
Secondly, I said it was not as important. I donÂt think that should be taken
out of context that Roy hates the Tournament. I donÂt think itÂs as
important as it used to be because the only team that left out of here and went
on to the NCAA Tournament was the winner. IÂve told every team that IÂve
ever coached, that weÂre playing in the dad-gum thing and letÂs win it and
have a great time while weÂre here. If IÂm a fan, I love the Tournament, but
IÂm not a fan. I care about how
North Carolina does.Â
And we thought he didn't give a s**t!
And by the way, whoever said he hated the tournament, shame on us - uh, you.
Incidentally, wouldn't the Southern Conference Tournament be the grandaddy?
Did it ever stop? If not, then it is the grandaddy of 'em all, to use that
hoary old phrase, and the yokels who keep saying the ACC is should put a sock in
After Sen. John Edwards, then running for President, said he "hated
Duke," he did some pretty impressive politicking and said he didn't hate
Duke and pulled for UNC, State, and Clemson, which we said at the time was a
lie, because no human being could possibly do that.
He made a politically adroit move and appointed a Dukie as his campaign
chief. Fortunately, he was a Duke fan and took subtle revenge,
sabotaging his campaign! That'll teach him!
Just kidding. But it's the kind of thing that'll grow into legend in three
years. Just watch. It'll turn up in the next Sports Illustrated piece on
During his tournament interview, Edwards came clean and confessed to being a
UNC fan. That's fine with us; at least it's honest and
We'd have to check this, but we're pretty sure no UNC grad has ever been
elected President. Maybe Polk went to UNC; Andrew Johnson clearly didn't.
He was probably a State man!(David Margolis tells us Polk graduated from UNC in 1818).
Julius Hodge is being positively gleeful about telling anyone who will listen
that "we're not here for a cocktail party," which is hilarious.
Ol' Roy does have a point there, though - it is a big social event, and a fun
Hodge, who is maybe the skinniest player in the ACC since Craig Neal (not
counting bag-of-bones freshmen like Dunleavy and Sanders, who could barely keep
their pants up as rookies), is a wonderful player, but he's way too skinny to
pick as many arguments as he does. Someone, some day, will break him in
half for it.
Tim Pickett was tremendous Friday. We'll miss him. He's been a
wonderful player for the conference in general.
On the late news, Chris Duhon said Duke didn't have the competitive edge they
hoped to bring, and they only had a few hours to find it. They'd better;
Tech certainly has one.
Wow, what a jumble of great memories: Marcus Melvin's threes, Jarrett Jack-em-up's
clutch shot, the mini-shootout late in the Maryland-Wake game, Daniel Ewing's
first-half eruption - what a great, great day of basketball. Happiness is
hard to define, but this is pretty much nirvana, basketball-wise.
We heard a radio show with a guest who talked about how people had to define
happiness for themselves, and an older guy called in, obviously a veteran, and
said he wanted a lot of money, that that would make him happy. Okay, said
the host. Yeah, the man continued, if I had a lot of money, I'd go buy me
some hookers! Nothing makes you happier than a good-click.
What we'd do would be to find a way to insert ourselves in this delirious
sort of atmosphere as often as possible. Cranks like Ol' Roy and Gary just
never quite get it. This is a beautiful event, partly because it's always
painful. It's a microcosm of life, but with the harsher aspects blotted
out. There are probably better metaphors, but basketball works for us.