BASKETBALL Outside Raleigh

ACC Tournament Preview

Regardless of which school you root for, it’s everybody’s favorite time of year with the ACC Tournament kicking off in Brooklyn on Tuesday at noon. We surveyed some of the staff to let you know what to expect.

Who will be the ‘surprise’ team?

JFK:  Wake Forest. The Deacs have won three straight, including a home win against Louisville. The recipe for a tournament run is getting hot at the right time and drawing favorable match-ups. You can’t get a better first-round draw than BC, who has dropped 14 in a row since beating the Pack on January 11 and is barely showing a pulse under Jim Christian. Christian should be shown the door, but our AD situation will likely save him for another year.

And out of the second-round possibilities, Wake is looking at a date with Virginia Tech. That’s the most favorable opportunity for Wake — VT has the lowest RPI and weakest SOS out of the three teams that get a first-round bye (Duke, UVA are the others).
Right now, Joe Lunardi has Wake as one of the last four into the field. Two ACC tourney wins would go a long way in locking down a bid.

JP: Wake Forest will be the team to watch. They just need a win against BC to get into their first NCAA tournament in almost a decade. I also think that they will get into the quarterfinals and will, unfortunately, lose to Florida State.

FITZ: I think Virginia.  They aren’t a huge surprise but I think people are sleeping on them because of the rough stretch in February.

How many buttons will Danny Manning have on his jacket?

JFK: If Wake wants to ensure it gets into the NCAA, he needs at least four.

JP:  If it’s from the Steve Harvey collection: 50. Check out this video.

FITZ: I agree with JFK. Minimum of four on each side. I’ve watched Manning stroll the sidelines and no one looks better than him.

How BS is having the tourney in Brooklyn?

JFK: Not BS at all. This is the new ACC. Tobacco Road still has too much influence. Tourney sites should be spread around a little bit. Yeah, Tampa sucked back in 2007. But I expect attendance in BK to be better than expected.

JP: It absolutely sucks and does not make any sense logistically. At least Duke will still have a home crowd (zing).

FITZ:  I’ve had a couple of bad experiences in NYC, so don’t ever think I can be a fan. I would say If you’re going to have it in NYC then have it in the Garden.

What will Jim Boeheim bitch about this time?

JFK: Probably about location and how Brooklyn isn’t a good enough place to have a conference tournament. Either that or the Syracuse student newspaper.

JP: Anything and everything.

FITZ: His tomato bisque will be served at slightly lower than his optimal temperature

Will ESPN explode if Duke and UNC play each in the semifinals?

JFK: Yes.

JP: They will probably show slow motion replays of Grayson Allen’s elbow set to some Explosions in the Sky song, with a recycled Dick Vitale quote about “rivalry, baby”.

FITZ: ESPN,  Jeff Goodman, and the rest of tired media will explode if these two meet in the tournament or Michael Jordan’s “Ceiling is the roof” quote is mentioned a million times. Whichever comes first.

Which player will capture the nation’s attention?

JFK: I think Notre Dame makes it to the finals, and I expect first-team All-ACC forward Bonzie Colson to make a lot of noise along the way.

JP: John Collins for Wake Forest. He went from averaging about 7 points per game last year to now close to averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. He is first team ACC and this year’s most improved player.

Otherwise, I’d watch Grayson Allen to see what new shit he’s going to do to make everyone hate him. What a turd.

FITZ:  Rex Pflueger of Notre Dame. Guy is a cross between a California businessman and DJ Paulie D from the Jersey Shore. America will love to hate this guy.

Austin Arians (above) of Wake Forest. Guy has a neck, but does he have a neck?

Is Rick Pitino a ghost?

JFK: Can’t answer that, but he is looking rough. Probably needs to play 15 Seconds in Heaven in an Italian joint again to get the blood flowing.

JP:  I still can’t get over that he was in Blue Chips and Hoop Dreams, released in the same year. Also don’t forget that he was in He Got Game. Rick always has a career in acting.

FITZ: I think so. He sold his soul to get out of that Italian job and the sex workers scandal. This is the result. Like JP says he’ll have a future for any Addams Family remakes.

Who will win?

JFK: I’m going to really go out on a limb and say UNC (sorry Pack fans). The Heels have been the best team in an exceptionally brutal ACC this year. I think they pull it out despite a tough road that will most likely include the winner of Duke/Louisville and then Florida State, Notre Dame or potentially Virginia if the Hoos go on a run.

JP: UNC will win it over Notre Dame. Zzzzzzzz

FITZ: Syracuse over Virginia. Chill out UNC fans, the last three times you won a national championships you didn’t win the ACC tournament, so this is a good thing