ACC touts itself as best 'ever assembled'
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It would be inaccurate to say ACC commissioner John Swofford wasted no time touting his conference as the best in college basketball.
Swofford spent more than seven minutes reading from a script and citing statistics to support a statement that ACC coaches see as plain on paper.
“As many of you and our coaches have indicated, this may be the strongest collection of basketball programs ever assembled in one conference — and that is exciting,” Swofford said of the expanded conference that includes former Big East powers Pitt, Notre Dame and Syracuse. “The competition within the league will be brutal. And I mean that in a very positive sense.”
The 15 ACC coaches, including Hall of Famers Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Roy Williams of North Carolina, own a combined seven national titles, appearances in 23 Final Fours and 15 national championship games.
“I'm not sure anybody understands the gravity of what's happening,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “This is special.”
Boeheim cautioned that conference greatness is judged not by coaching resumes but rather by star power on the court.
The Big East, Boeheim said, was built on the backs of Patrick Ewing, Pearl Washington and Chris Mullin and not John Thompson, Boeheim and Lou Carnesecca.
“We sometimes forget the key to any team and any league is players,” Boeheim said. “What are players interested in? Not what fans are interested in. That's different. Not what coaches or commissioners are interested in. What are high school kids looking at? What do they want? That's a recruiting tool. That's something that does matter.”
Where the blue bloods reigned in the preseason poll, as Duke, Syracuse and North Carolina were picked Nos. 1-2-3, the ACC's depth is evident in that defending champion Miami (Fla.) was predicted to finish 12th.
“I don't think they're going to be able to say one team is a dominant force in this league,” Pitt swingman Lamar Patterson said. “It's going to be like a king-of-the-hill match to the top. You're going to have four or five teams fighting for that No. 1 spot. That's what you want.”
Swofford called the ACC's basketball history a “very proud one” soon to be bolstered by the three newcomers and the addition of defending NCAA champion Louisville in 2014.
“We're bringing some terrific programs, with great history and tradition from an excellent conference,” Swofford said, “and adding that to the great history and tradition and programs that are already a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
To Tobacco Road purists, the expansion dilutes the ACC's tradition. But Krzyzewski sees it as a league filled with instant rivalries, such as Duke-Syracuse.
“That's why I think our conference, for basketball, is way ahead of anybody,” he said. “That's why we think we're going to be the best conference. For basketball purists and traditionalists like we are, to come up with this, I know this probably wasn't even a focal point or agenda item when they were talking expansion, but we won a huge hand here.”
Now comes the hard part for the ACC: living up to its own hype.
“We spent the whole day talking about ourselves and how great we are,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “Now we've got to go do something about it.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt freshman O’Neill eats up switch to tackle
- Woodland Hills pipeline a great fit for Pitt defense this season
- Pitt junior RB Ibrahim out for season with Achilles injury
- For freshman safety Whitehead, a role reversal at Pitt
- Pitt’s run-stuffing defensive line all ready to make a stand
- Pitt notebook: Narduzzi says NFL scouts like winners
- Reports: Pitt’s Newkirk transferring to Indiana
- Preseason honors piling up for former Pitt tackle Bisnowaty
- Voytik settling in as starting quarterback for Pitt football team
- Freshman Henderson to see time in slot this season
- Position switches no problem for tight-knit Pitt line