Gorman: ACC's 'golden goose' has company
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Overshadowed by the hyperbolic hype and pompous proclamations of ACC commissioner John Swofford that it was the best college basketball conference ever assembled were the wise words of the man behind it all.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski warned that while the ACC was welcoming Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC, with Louisville on the way, it was about to experience a colossal change.
“We're going to see much more than Duke and Carolina showcased in this league with all these new additions. I think it's a great time for that,” Krzyzewski said at ACC media day in October. “In some way, I think, that may have held the league back or held the people who think about basketball in our league back because you had this golden goose of Duke and Carolina.
“Now, we don't have just one goose, man. We've got a lot.”
Now, with No. 22 Pitt visiting No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday at Carrier Dome, the new narrative along Tobacco Road is that the Big East has bullied its way to ACC supremacy while that golden goose laid an egg.
When the three Triangle teams all lost last Saturday — North Carolina at Syracuse, Duke at Clemson and N.C. State to Virginia — it marked the first time that all three were defeated on the same day since the 1996 ACC tourney.
With Pitt beating Wake Forest, it was the first time that the Big Four of the ACC's founding fathers had fallen on the same day since 1944-45.
Carolina coach Roy Williams was asked if it's too early to suggest the balance of power is changing in the ACC.
“That's a tough question because, first of all, I would say it's too early, but you're never going to get me to answer that one way or the other because I think it changes year to year,” he said. “Over time, Duke and North Carolina, particularly, have been pretty doggone good. They have stood the test of time, whether this has been a bad year or a bad month or a bad week or two bad games, who knows? … So my first inclination is, let's not bury us yet.”
Yet, this Pitt-Syracuse game is for sole possession of first place in the ACC. They are the league's last undefeated teams and two of only three that are nationally ranked.
A loss to Notre Dame knocked now-No. 23 Duke (13-4, 2-2) out of the top 10 for the first time since 2007. Meantime, Carolina (10-6, 0-3) is in last place, the ACC's only team yet to win a conference game.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon knows the Panthers can't claim any ACC bragging rights until they've beaten both Duke (Jan. 27 at Petersen Events Center) and Carolina (Feb. 15 in Chapel Hill).
“I certainly don't think we've taken over the league in two weeks,” Dixon said. “It's their league. They started it. They have won. And they have made most of the decisions regarding it. So it's their league, and it will always be their league. They've won the championships. They've won more than everybody else. That's not changing.”
A reminder: Duke and Carolina have won a combined 48 regular-season championships, 36 ACC tourney titles, 33 Final Four appearances, 19 NCAA final appearances and nine national championships. They are college basketball bluebloods, just behind UCLA and Kentucky and just ahead of Kansas and Indiana.
Where the ACC's raid of the Big East in 2003 for Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech was to improve its football standing, this expansion was to strengthen both sports.
No surprise, then, that Coach K was willing to embrace the caliber of competition Pitt, Notre Dame and Syracuse bring. Either Duke or Carolina had won a share of every regular-season ACC title since 2004 until Miami won it outright last year.
“One two-week span doesn't change 50 years of basketball,” Dixon said. “Certainly, one season won't do that, as well. Perception is hard to change in a weekend, and certainly not in a course of a year or two. We changed the perception of Pitt in the Big East, so you can do it. But it doesn't happen overnight.”
Maybe not, but the Panthers would have goosebumps if they wake up Sunday atop the ACC standings. That would be as good as gold.
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.
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Power play shines in Penguins’ home victory over Blue Jackets
- Pirates starting pitcher Worley is in right place, right time with team
- Icy roads bring numerous accidents in Western Pa.
- Penguins forwards struggle in loss to Avalanche
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Teacher conduct under spotlight in Pennsylvania
- Pirates sickened by pic of ‘Jihadi John’ wearing Bucs ball cap
- Passion for speed fuels Ligonier man’s slippery dash in winter rally
- Greensburg pair jailed in convenience store robbery
- Starkey: In defense of Mel Kiper Jr.