Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time to "Get Back"

Poor CW has got himself all worked up over Virginia being #3 in the college hoops polls. The Wahoos are 11-0 having whipped mighty ass against opponents like JMU, South Carolina State and Harvard (76-27). Ok fine, let him have his fun, it's still real early so who knows(?) Virginia might actually be good this year. I damn sure hope so because the ACC ain't what it used to be...by a long shot!

OK Duke is still top ten and Louisville (one of the new kids on the block) is as well, but UNC is second tier and is trading off their name, two time National Champions NC State (1974, 1983) is nowhere to be found, Wake Forest is AWOL and Mary-land is ranked but sadly bolted the league. Mention John Salley or Mark Price and you'll only elicit a "who dat" in Atlanta. FSU Miami? Please! In short the ACC sucks...again! We haven't won the BIG ONE since Duke in '10 and unless Louisville steps up we ain't gonna win it this year.

I can remember a time when ACC b-ball was FEARED, now we're just another "good" league. Don't worry, I'm not going to rant about how BC and Syracuse and Pitt bring absolutely NOTHING to the table or exactly WTF Notre Dame is doing being admitted as a, what is it, a partial member? (As if we need Notre Dame in any capacity whatsoever.) It goes without saying our Tar Heel Blue Blood Commissioner couldn't run a long turd if his life depended on it. I fully expect Vassar and Bryn Mawr to be admitted before he's through. John Swofford is to the Atlantic Coast Conference what Barack Hussein Obama is to the United States of America...'nuff said. But just consider, take away those great UCLA teams of John Wooden and the State of North Carolina has 11 NCAA basketball national championships, tied with Kentucky (in case you're wondering California has 15, all UCLA). The ACC as a league has 15 just behind the Pac 10 with 16 (in case you're wondering Oregon was the other school in 1939).

So, what's to be done? How can we make our league what it once was, and do it with integrity? In my view nothing... at least in terms of the ACC. But we can do something about what used to be referred to as the BIG FOUR.

A little history lesson for you Yankee blow-ins is in order. Back in the days when guys like Frank McGuire, Everett Case and Bones McKinney were building ACC basketball we used to have a holiday tournament called the Dixie Classic. It was a three day tournament at Christmas hosted by Wake, Duke, Carolina and State at Reynolds Coliseum. The best teams in the country were invited to play and believe me, NOBODY turned down an invitation! It was a basketball junkie's wet-dream. The best teams in the country all came down to Tobacco Road to play four schools located within minutes of each other. By the way, the tournament ran from '49 to '60 and not one year did a visiting team win. It cannot be denied, without the Dixie Classic the ACC wouldn't have happened.

OK, so what happened? Ever see the film Casino? Sam Rothstein is what happened. In those days
there was not a lot of home grown talent and most of our recruits came from big cities up north. A loose organization of "fixers" headed by Rothstein got to a couple of players on State and Carolina to shave some points and when things blew up the ever wise UNC system President Bill Friday pulled the plug. Rothstein was called before a House committee investigating organized crime's influence in college athletics and he took the fifth 37 times including as to whether he was right or left handed. UNC coach Frank McGuire bolted for the NBA leaving a fresh faced 30 year old kid in charge (some guy named Dean something or other) and NC State's Everett Case "retired" (he'd be dead of cancer soon, some say brought on by the shame and worry).

But that was then and this is now. The ACC/Big Ten "Challenge" is ho-hum, due in my view to the dilution of the league. Again, we can't do a helluva lot about ACC basketball but the Big Four we can. Let's get the Dixie Classic rolling again. In Raleigh we have the PNC Arena, we've got the Dean Dome, the Greensboro Coliseum and whatever the hell the Charlotte Coliseum is called these days. We could play games at a variety of venues with the final rotating. Can you imagine what bringing in teams like Kentucky or Kansas or west coast teams like Gonzaga would do for our recruiting? Can you imagine Kentucky saying no to a chance to play (and beat) Duke and North Carolina? Plus it would be the unofficial starting point for the whole NCAA basketball season. Everything prior would be considered "pre-season". The time has come, it's been 50+ years since the scandal. We NEED this tournament and so does college basketball.

No comments:

Newer Post Older Post Home