Sunday of course is the ACC Championship, Selection Sunday and several other things. Among these are that a bunch of guys in Durham will find out who they play in the opening round.
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So can we congratulate Central?
Typically the MEAC representative is a #15 seed and only slightly dangerous. That's not the case for the Eagles as we've seen more than once this season. The State win was a surprise; the close game with Wichita State was really eye-opening. We don't know where they'll be seeded, but Joe Lunardi currently has them at #14 opening with #3 seed Syracuse in the West. Syracuse is better but the Orange has been vulnerable. That'd be a fascinating game in some ways.
We'd love to see Central win a couple of games, maybe even be the Cinderella. Why not? The Triangle has always been about Duke, UNC and State. There's room for Central.
When we were doing our normal web crawl, we went, as we often do, to the Baltimore Sun - and found a surprise. Not only has Maryland left the ACC, so has the Sun, almost entirely. There is one article up about the ACC by Don Markus, a look back. There doesn't appear to be a word about the tournament at all. C'est la vie say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.
On Saturday, ACC Commissioner John Swofford confirmed talks about having the tournament in Brooklyn and confirmed talks with the Barclays Center and also the A-10, which already uses the facility in March.
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Apparently there is a plan for the ACC and A-10 to schedule some games as part of any deal for Barclays. But why stop there?
If the ACC maintains the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Maryland is going to be in and will, no doubt, pressure for games with Duke and UNC.
Why reward them? Why not just replace the Big Ten Challenge with some event with the A-10?
This gets to Coach K's point in the post-State press conference comparing the conferences. The very best A-10 teams are fairly good to really good - St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, St. Joe's, UMass and Dayton - but after those schools, only Richmond has a winning record.
Still, you could do some creative things. A Barclays event is obvious. But you could also take Virginia, Virginia Tech, VCU and George Washington and have an annual event in the Verizon Center. The Sun might even cover it.
A significant synergy would also get solid media coverage throughout overlapping territory with the Big Ten and the SEC. The two conferences go up and down the Eastern Seaboard but also out to Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana.
You could hold an event in Philly with St. Joe's, Duquesne, LaSalle (pick two) and Pitt and a rotating ACC member.
Duke and Davidson play all the time; you could invite two more teams and swap with, say State and UMass.
It doesn't have to be a challenge per se, but the numbers could conceivably be bigger. One of the driving forces behind Big Ten expansion is weakness: the populations of those states are declining while the coasts are surging.
We'll be curious, among other things, to see the numbers when Duke and UNC play Louisville. You have to wonder: what in the world will Kentuck think of Louisville's new schedule?
Let's be clear here: we're not enamored with Kentucky. We don't like the arrogance or the legacy of corruption.
Nonetheless, if you wanted to entertain a 16th ACC member, Kentucky would be the slam dunk. Can you imagine? Duke, Carolina, Syracuse, Louisville, Kentucky, Pitt, Virginia, NC State...the mind boggles.
It won't happen, first of all because Kentucky will make more pretending to play football in the SEC, but that aside, most Kentucky fans would never truly want to be in a competitive conference, much less one with Louisville. The SEC is their basketball playground and they're the bullies.
By the way, Lunardi currently has Duke and UNC in the same regional. That seems highly unlikely because it would deny TV a chance to get the rivals in the Final Four.
But given the always "coincidental" pairings, we'd expect to see some of the following possible encounters possible as of Sunday:
- Duke: Stanford, Harvard, and an early A-10 matchup. Kentucky.
- Wichita State: Kansas in the same bracket.
- Virginia: Wisconsin.
- Carolina: Kansas.
- Kansas: Carolina, Tulsa (Danny Manning's team), SMU (Larry Brown's team).
- Syracuse: old Big East teams.
- Michigan: San Diego State.
- Stanford: Harvard.
- Harvard: Stanford.
- Creighton: Iowa State.
- Louisville: an ACC opponent, Kentucky.
- Arizona: Dayton, so the Millers can go at it (if Dayton gets in).