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2006
8
Mar

On To Greensboro

It’s Tournament Time. Not that one the NCAA stages every year about this time, but, for many fans in this neck of the woods, an even bigger one. That would be the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament. It remains the league’s premiere showcase and social event, at least until the nascent football championship gets its legs.

Before bounding into fearless tournament predictions, it is back to football for another news item. Lorenzo Ward fulfilling a dream to coach in the NFL created an opening on the Tech staff that didn’t stay vacant for long. Frank has named Tech alum and former player Torrian Gray to run the secondary.

This looks to be a great hire. Torrian was a star player on some of Frank’s early very good Tech teams, spent a few years playing pro ball, then has been steadily making a name for himself as one of coaching’s rising stars. He worked with Randy Edsall at UConn, spent a couple of years on the Bears’ staff, which translates into about a century of NFL experience in algroh-years. As a former Tech player, he will have a solid understanding in the ways Bud does things.

Torrian had recently found employment on Al Golden’s new staff at Temple . Now, one doesn’t agree to coach at the Belgium of college football unless 1] one is Al Golden desperately seeking any way out of Hooville or 2] one is aware that another, better job is going to open very soon. It would seem Torrian’s interview with Frank went a little better than Golden’s. You do have to tip your hat to Al for using Temple ’s money to provide Torrian with a couple of paychecks to tide him over while he waited for Whammy to work out the expected move to the NFL.

It was also sporting of Golden to allow Torrian to become the first Temple assistant coach to observe winter workouts at Tech. There didn’t seem to be many members of Bobby Wallace’s staff who had their paychecks directly deposited to a Blacksburg bank account opened while they were house-hunting in the New River Valley . One does wonder what Frank promised Golden in return for giving Torrian a place to crash for a couple of months, perhaps a paycheck game in Lane somewhere down the road to augment Temple’s scanty football budget.

Once again, it looks a lot like this latest movement on Tech’s staff, like the others, had been anticipated and planned for by Frank [it also seems that algroh generated incredible loyalty from his staff]. All of the new hires can be seen to fit neatly into his overall strategic plan. This was much different from what was seen in Chapel Hill or Raleigh . It was a much more orderly transition than that NFL Films production of ‘Decision Matrix’ in Hooville which turned into slapstick as algroh showed all of the leadership and organizational qualities of Moe in a Three Stooges bit.

I bet those Hoos hoo last week were praising me for ‘fairness’ have a little different opinion now. Stick around, as I will eventually piss off everybody. The Tar Heels seem to have reacted to my sacrilege of the Great and Mighty Tyler much the same as Danish Muslims did to a certain cartoon. I have certainly maintained my high regard both for and among the ‘Needing a grip’ faction of Tech loons.

Back to the Tournament. It returns to Greensboro after spending last year on hiatus inside the Beltway. The Greensboro Coliseum is where it belongs. It is the closest proximity to the ACC’s most rabid basketball fans, which should make that apparent this weekend all over the Gate City .

The Tournament is a much bigger deal in Greensboro than it is in Atlanta , DC , Tampa or anywhere else Little Johnny Swofford might think about moving it. Little Johnny should ignore the bleating about unfairness from Gary Williams, who certainly took his homecourt ‘advantage’ and ran with it last year, or what will likely come this year from Al Skinner [what did you expect when you headed south, Fredo?], listen to me and and keep it at home. That it will be less than fifty miles from my driveway is secondary, of course, to the good common sense of holding it in Greensboro .

Now, on to the predictions. As always, these predictions are guaranteed to be correct unless they are not.

Thursday

Miami-Clemson

The Tournament gets off to a rousing start. The tip-off for this one might be a great time to enjoy one more late-morning Bloody Mary, although you might run into Donna at Hooters. Yikes! Clemson is playing well, good enough to win this one. This will throw the parking lot into disarray as those accustomed to acquiring ACC tickets from Clemson fans heading home for Spring Practice to search for other avenues of supply. The Miami tickets have already been sold on Ebay.

Florida State-Wake Forest

With the Cincinnati job slipping away, Skip pays a little more attention to the team he is still coaching and has the Deacons ready to play. Unfortunately for Wake, he can’t teach defense in a week and FSU is, at the moment, the best team in the ACC not wearing light blue.

Virginia-Virginia Tech

Back in the pre-expansion ACC, the 7 pm Thursday game used to be known as the Les Robinson Invitational. Now it’s the third game in the first long day. The Hoos have beaten Tech twice this season, mainly because while Tech’s strength is its backcourt, Fallback Dave’s crew has a better one. Not this night, however. The third time is the charm as Tech wins.

Maryland-Georgia Tech

9:30 pm, usually the game when the Greensboro Coliseum empties as fans head for Triad topless clubs. A few might hang around to watch the Terps stay on the NCAA bubble.

Friday

Duke-Clemson

I’m sure it has been a fun week around Cameron. When you give Coach K five days to get ready for a game, Duke almost always wins. This is Friday’s noon game, giving Clemson fans plenty of time to sell their ticket books and be home in time for Saturday’s football scrimmage.

NC State-Florida State

These are not the best of times for Herb. The Pack limps into this game not having won since 2/18 in Cassell. The team with the first-round bye is the fresher one, nullified in this case by all of the State injuries and Leonard Hamilton’s mass substitution policy. NC State wins in football while Florida State wins in basketball. Go figure.

North Carolina- Virginia Tech

This is going to be trouble. Ol’ Roy ’s kids have grown up since the game at Tech and the Heels won that one. Seth’s guys will be worn out from the maximum effort expended in the Hoo win. Carolina blows it open late in the First Half and wins big.

Boston College-Maryland

Fredo and the Beltway in Greensboro . If that doesn’t say ‘ACC Basketball’ I don’t know what does. Chester ’s will be packed as the Eagles win.

Saturday

Duke-Florida State

Little Johnny Swofford will have to make the officials draw straws to see who works this game. Unfortunately for Coach K and Duke, Karl Hess draws one of the short ones and Shelden Williams picks up three fouls in the first minute of the game. The Noles are playing their third game in three days but the Devils are worn out. FSU wins.

North Carolina- Boston College

It’s the ACC Old Guard versus the newbies. Carlton Tudor posts yet another column bitching about expansion as Carolina fans flood the parking lot bidding up the price of tickets to Smithian levels. The Eagles give the Heels a better game than did Tech, only losing by 15. High school girls in the Coliseum scratch out the old skool ‘JJ’ and replace it with ‘ Tyler ’ on their ‘Will you marry me?’ posters.

Sunday

North Carolina-Florida State

Carolina has not won an ACC Tournament since 1998 and has not even played for the championship since 2001. The Coliseum parking lot becomes a sea of light blue folks holding up ‘I Need 2’ signs not seen since the days of Michael and James. Ol’ Roy and the Tylers give them their money’s worth as Carolina easily captures the ACC Championship. The Carolina fans will remain in the Coliseum waiting for next week.

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