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ACC Tournament - Notes

This year's tournament has really underscored the strength of the ACC.

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Mar 10, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Matt Jones (13) reacts on the court in the final second of overtime against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during day three of the ACC conference tournament at Verizon Center.
Mar 10, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Matt Jones (13) reacts on the court in the final second of overtime against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during day three of the ACC conference tournament at Verizon Center.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few notes on Thursday's events and perhaps beyond.

The ACC Tournament is now down to a quartet as UNC, Notre Dame, Virginia and Miami advance and Pitt, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech bow out.

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The Techs deserve some special praise. In Blacksburg, Buzz Williams has done a tremendous job of building his program. The Virginia Tech we saw Wednesday is a brilliant basketball team. We want more.

As for Georgia Tech, Charles Mitchell reminds us that there is more to life than just basketball. Check out this ringing endorsement of his coach, Brian Gregory:

"So many people get caught up in the numbers and the rankings and wins and loss column, but it's the things he's done for this team. That's not even basketball, it's just who he is is believing in us on and off the court and that environment over time ... he's just one of those people that never gives up.

"This is the thing. BG gave me a second chance to make a first impression. I think man-to-man he knows that, he's one of the guys that believed in me more than anybody he changed my whole entire life off the basketball court and on the basketball court. He made me a better person, a better man and a better player."

"He never worried about his job, he always worried about how you're doing today and what's best for the team. He didn't focus on who he is or what's going on with him. He's one of those coaches I'll always believe in him and always have his back."

"Man to man, there's been some tough times off the court that I can't even explain right now but he's always there for me, he always had my back. I'm not going to lie, he's seen me cry a couple times as a 22-year old when I felt like there was no one there for me and he looked me dead in the eye, man-to-man, and told me he would always have my back throughout everything, just trust and believe me, and he has.

"I can't even explain it, having a person that is a leader a role model and a father figure and also your basketball coach at the same time, it's just a different feeling."

Well pass the tissues. When you get right down to it, that's really what you want, isn't it? Winning is great, but building relationships is more to the point.

A.D.'s look at many things when they make decisions about firing a coach. We hope this plays in at Georgia Tech.

A follow up: we can't find the link now, but BC's Dennis Clifford clarified his comments about going out to dinner and said that he meant spending time with his teammates and bonding.

Stepping back to the crasser side of things, we give you Cursin' Roy Williams.

People get on Coach K for cursing but he generally keeps it on the court. Not so Ol' Roy, who has quite the track record for cursing in public forums.

When he was rumored to be returning to UNC, he memorably told a CBS reporter that he "didn't give a shit about North Carolina right now."

On Thursday, he went pottymouth again, saying this when UNC's ACC schedule was questioned: "that's a bunch of horseshit."

Keep it classy, Roy!

Over in the Big Ten, Chris Collins and Northwestern have improved a great deal and nearly knocked off Michigan before falling in overtime.

Collins was fuming about the officiating during and after the game. During the game, after Duncan Robinson got away with a walk, Collins shouted "I guess we're trying to get another team in the Tournament."

Afterwards, in his presser, he continued: "You guys saw the end of regulation. Looked like a lot of steps on the end line with Duncan Robinson, but I don't know. You guys watched the game. Make your own determination."

Collins is fighting to establish his program and it has echoes of Coach K's early days at Duke. It won't be easy at Northwestern, but Collins is showing admirable fight.

By the way, this year is the first time that Northwestern has ever won 20 games in the regular season.

On Friday, UNC and Notre Dame play at 7:00 pm while Virginia and Miami tangle at 9:00.

In his column today, Al Featherston says that a UNC partisan in the media was thrilled to see Duke lose until he realized Notre Dame was more likely to beat UNC.

Be careful what you ask for?

If we had to guess now, out of this foursome, Virginia's chances look best.

One last minor note: years ago people around the country thought the ACC Tournament made no sense. Now the last conference lacking a tournament, the Ivy League, plans to have one as well.