They were ranked no. 3 when the column was written.
Kentucky is not ranked # 3. They ranked #11.
@ACCfan4REAL: I think you should go look at a couple of things: First, foul calls for/against UNC during the Doherty years compared to Roy Williams. Second: foul calls for/against Duke during the Pete Gaudette season, compared to Coack K with the same players.
I think you'll find that great coaching has more to do with calls going one way or the other than some grand conspiracy which magically took a season off here and there. They know how to mold disciplined players who know how to take charges, know when they can't get away with reach-ins, etc. Also, the Big East Tournament is held in MSG, the home court for St John's for much of the season. They certainly haven't figured out that whole "home cookin'" advantage there. There's no Greensboro Hex on teams from out of state.
I like the 3-division idea better of the two. And keeping the worst teams out, I think, adds more prestige to making the tournament and value to the regular season games. You have to earn it to get there. Not to mention the savings on airlines and gas throughout the season. I really don't think any ticket money would have been lost if Wake Forest wasn't a part of it this year.
I think that the reason the ACC is soooo boring to watch is that the league is so pro UNC/Duke. It is no mystery that before the season begins that those two schools are already going to get the most calls, the most favorable non-calls, shoot the most free throws, and will be in the ACC final. The league hides and lets officiating do what it does. Bad calls are banned from being played on the screens at the games (which makes it look like the league is trying to hide things from the fans). The vast majority of the time the tourney is held in UNC/Duke's back yard, and people simply don't buy that it is an honest league. I'm sure that there will be a Carolina or Duke fan that will com on here and blast what I'm saying, but this is a true reality for every school except for UNC/Duke. Not saying they don't have good programs, but when they need a call (or non-call) it happens. This affects every program in the conference in many ways and especially hurts recruiting in the conference. More the tourney around and put the officials in a fishbowl. Give ACC coaches a way to make the officials responsible for their calls. Things will turn around.
But as it is now, all the Wake fans have to look forward is buying a book for a tournament they know they will be out of on Thursday. The attendance on the Thursday sessions is a joke and always will be under the current system.
I do favor making it possible for all 4 teams within a sub-division to make the tournament if all are at .500 (9-9) or better and two teams in another division are 7-11 or worse, but that is a wrinkle I didn't have space to include in this version.
I think Wake is damaged a lot more by not playing Duke and UNC home and home every year, under the current system, then they would be by being left out of the ACC Tournament.
I should also add that if you extrapolate the standings for your proposal #2 from the current ACC standings (which I know wouldn't be exactly the same but it's the best piece of data we have) this year's ACC tournament would be played without Virginia, Wake Forest, or Georgia Tech. Is that really a good idea?
This seems to be a favorite topic of sportswriters this week. The N&O also has a similar article today and I think they nailed the reason that Thad missed for the decline of the ACC tournament: the complete dominance of Duke and North Carolina of the tournament means that fans of other teams aren't as motivated to go. Not only is winning the ACC no longer required to make the NCAAs, but the ACC tournament title is no longer seen as up for grabs.
I disagree strongly with the idea of limiting how many teams make the ACC tournament. The Big East proves that when good basketball is being played in a league and the conference title is considered to be up for grabs, a four or even five day tourney can work well.
Another drawback of limiting who can make the conference tournament is that if you have 1/4 of the conference's teams not making it, you will further depress ticket book sales to fans of teams that are not in the top echelon and therefore pretty much guaranteed to be there, which also hurts school fundraising. Who will make the donations needed to be a tournament ticket buyer or even bother to buy a ticket book, or make plans to attend the tournament, if your team may not make it? In your scenario this year for example, Wake Forest and NC State fans, who by proximity should be prime candidates to attend the tournament, would probably not bother being interested since by January both fansbases probably would know that one of their teams would not even be in Greensboro. THAT's what would put the final nail in the coffin of the ACC tournament.
I'd say that's a pretty accurate assesment of what went wrong for the Heels this season. I could easily add to the laundry list. But really, the implication that the esteem of the program hinges on the success or failure of Duke in the NCAA tournament is a leap. I wouldn't call this season a "disappointment" either, but I'm a glass-half-full type of fan. The game I witnessed personally in Carmichael was the foundation for a successful '10-11 season.
You also mentioned the perceived "inflexibilty" of Roy Williams' coaching. I'm usually a pretty harsh critic, but in this case I have to give Coach Williams credit for making changes in his coaching plan (both macro and micro) that kept the ship upright. Give him props for making player position adjustments (ie John Henson) slowing the tempo on offense, efficient use on time outs to steady the players and (gasp)using the 2/3 zone when help defense didn't work. 'Ol Roy still has a slight upward tilt in his learning curve too.
So, to me at least, things aren't quite as bleak on The Hill as you make out.
Thanks for the notes: Regarding Roy Williams' religiosity, he says in his book that he isn't a particularly fervent believer. I don't have the book in front of me so I'll have to paraphrase: He says that although he's not very religious, he "believes in the Lord" (or words to that effect). He comes off as religious as he needs to be in a sports culture that can be quite overtly Christianhe leads the Lord's Prayer in the locker room, for example, and he recounts joining a player prayer circle after the 2005 national championship game. However, it seems clear to me that Dean Smith is far more devout than Williams.
Elph is correct that I didn't intend to suggest that Williams' resemblance to McGuire extends to the latter's ethical troubles. As for what those lapses were: Chansky tells us that McGuire had a habit of paying cash for lavish entertainment for his players and not producing receipts. One of Dean Smith's early tasks as McGuire's assistant coach was to attempt to document a particularly profligate road trip that included expensive dinners and trips to casinos in order to prepare a defense against charges brought by the NCAA. Furthermore, one of McGuire's players, Lou Brown, was charged with conspiring to fix basketball games (he and four similarly accused N.C. State players were granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony against the gamblers). McGuire ended up leaving UNC under pressureand under a cloud. He left as the program was placed on NCAA probationthus making Dean Smith's first few years quite difficult.
While I didn't intend to suggest that Williams' ethics are similar to McGuire's, it's worth noting that Williams, after arriving at Kansas with the program under sanction by the NCAA for violations committed under Larry Brown (another ex-Tar Heel on the KU-UNC axis), departed KU in 2003 with his program having committed what the NCAA would term "major violations" that took place during and after his tenure. In 2006, the KU basketball program was placed on probation for three yearsa period that ended Oct. 11, 2009and the school was ordered to banish a particular basketball booster for four years. You can read all about it here: http://www2.kusports.com/news/2006/oct/12/press_release_ncaa_committee_infractions_penalizes/
I think you misread that comment on ethics. The writer is said that McGuire may have had questionable ethics -- not Williams. Although I'd be curious to hear what McGuire ever did that was unethical.
To be clear, I've met Dennis Horner -- once, briefly -- but he had no input into these piece. This is strictly me channeling what Dennis may be thinking. Thanks!
Being a diehard State fan, I absolutely loved "Being Dennis Horner". Whether he wrote it or not, just knowing that these were his thoughts were enough to excite me even more about this season. We have your back Wolfpack! My wife often asks me (after the anguish of Wolfpack losses), why do you like them so much or why don't you get another team? Only a true Wolfpacker understands that its not an option. The red and white gets in your blood and its for life. Granted, there have been lean years but when things are good . . . they are real good. Dennis, Pack, thanks for pouring your hearts into this season. True Wolfpackers will be pouring our hearts out cheering you on.
Go Manada De Lobos!!!
A terrific article, although the similarities to Williams and McGuire incorrectly include questions about ethics. Williams is highly ethical and religious, which is why he does so well with many athletes who are from religious schools.
did Dennis horner have any input into this article? or is it simply a "if I was in Dennis Honer's head, this is how I think he'd react"?
Light Blue Reign is must-read for all Tar Heels and serious basketball fans. I've read every Carolina basketball book out there, but this is the one that puts it all together. It sort of created an epiphany for me the way the author traces the different (yet very similar) lives of Frank McGuire, Dean Smith and Roy Williams and their uncanny connections that have sustained Carolina basketball for the last 50 years and counting. Eye opening vividly told stories, with insider accounts that had me laughing and crying. If you love Carolina basketball, you'll love this book.
Also, I just finished Roy's memoir.. not much ground breaking info in it because Roy has recounted a lot of stories those before, but it's extremely well written. And some funny Roy quotes as usual.
Winning is everything, just ask old Bobby (Bowden). How soon the greedy fans forget what you have done for them.
What about this Duke vs. UNC rematch?
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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