If I Ran…The ACC Tournament
Posted by Mike on March 7, 2007
This week I will have live blogs of every ACC Tournament game on Digital Headbutt, and the UNC games on Tar Heel Mania. With the tourney fast approaching, I though t it would be a good time to return to the good folks of If I Ran… and try to make a few changes to the dance before the Dance. I’f I’m in hiding in April, it will be because of death threats from Billy Packer. I’ll bet you didn’t know he was an amateur archer in the offseason.
So here it is: If I Ran the ACC Tournament.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
The big bracket may start next week, but this week is perhaps the most special week of basketball for me: the ACC tournament. From Thursday to Sunday, nearly everyone in North Carolina will stop whatever they’re doing and watch 12 teams in perhaps the nation’s toughest conference fight it out. This week I will post a live blog of every ACC tournament game on Digital Headbutt and Tar Heel Mania, but let’s pretend for a second that I am John Swofford, ACC Commissioner and puppet master of the tournament. Here are a few things I would change about the ACC’s biggest showcase:
Keep the tournament in Greensboro, NC. Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem combine to form the epicenter of the college basketball universe. Greensboro has thus always made an ideal location to hold the tournament. To take the tournament to Tampa or Boston, where very few people give two s—- about the ACC, is an insult to the schools which brought this conference to prominence. Tar Heel, Wolfpack, and yes, even Dook fans should not have to drive 10 hours to get to their own tournament. And if what I’ve been told about Tampa is true, a lot of the players could get into trouble if they decide to venture into “extracurricular activities”.
Hold a Mascot One-on-One Basketball Tournament at Halftime of Each Game. This will will be very entertaining for several reasons. First, everyone loves to see mascots. Second, the only thing better than seeing mascots is seeing two mascots compete against each other. It will be another reason for fans of bad teams to keep tabs of the tournament, as Mr. Wuf could make a deep run into the mascot tourney. It will test how loyal the fanbase is by which school has a mascot that can play basketball well. And don’t tell me you wouldn’t be rolling on the floor watching Rameses driving the lane, posting up, and draining the fadeaway jumper over Testudo’s outstretched shell.
But most importantly, I would have Jim Nantz and Billy Packer doing the play-by-play. Imagine the hilarity that would ensue.
Nantz: And Buzz grabs his own rebound, and he’s immediately fouled by the Blue Devil, and it looks like this game is just about…wait…what’s he doing? It looks like the Blue Devil has Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot, in a headlock!
Packer: Don’t worry, he’s just going for the ball.
Nantz: Yes, but what kind? The Blue Devil is now repeatedly kicking Buzz in the thorax (translation: an insect’s nutsack), while still keeping him in a headlock.
Packer: Don’t get your panties in a food processor, I’m sure there’s good reason for it!
Nantz: Okay, that metaphor didn’t make any sense at all. And speaking of which, the Blue Devil just put Buzz in the pile driver position and–OH!–he took one hard to the head right on the court. Buzz is certainly going to be feeling that one in the morning.
Packer: Yeah, he’ll be mad as a bee!
Nantz: (stunned silence) Ohhhhkaaay. Well, it certainly looks like the Blue Devil is going to be ejected after that–
Packer: No! He can’t! I bet five–uh…I mean, it’s obviously not a foul. Look at the replay, Jim!
Nantz: Billy, I’m not sure the kids in the audience need to see this twice.
Packer: Just look at the replay Jim, just look at it! Now, as you can see from the replay, the foul was clearly not intentional.
Nantz: I, uh, just wanted to interrupt and let you all at home know that Buzz appears to be unconscious or immobile, but I don’t think I’m quite following your logic, Billy.
Packer: It’s actually quite simple Jim. Now look at this part of the replay. Okay, now freeze it. As you can clearly see, there is a flesh-eating beetle on Buzz’s head, which he obviously must have brought with him from the insectoid parallel universe.
Packer: Of course! How else do you explain bees that are six feet tall and can walk on two feet but can’t fly?
Nantz: I think it’s a human in a bee costume.
Packer: Bulls—! Obviously you haven’t read the Da Vinci Code! It talks all about that s—! But I have no time to educate the uneducated. Anyway, as you can see on the replay, the Blue Devil notices the flesh-eating beetle on Buzz’s head, and his eyes clearly become of concern. He realizes that he must act quickly to get the beetle off of his fellow mascot, so he puts Buzz’s head in a stable position so that he can repeatedly try to remove the bug by force.
Nantz: Now Billy, I’m sure there’s a more effective means–
Packer: Would you just shut up for one minute?!? Dr. Pack is trying to make an analysis!
Nantz: Dr. Pack?
Packer: Yeah, Dr. Pack. That’s the nickname I use to pick up chicks in bars on lonely nights after games. But you knew that, Jim. Anywho, forward the replay to the next stage. Okay, here we see the beetle finally move off its head, but it then lands on Buzz’s inner thorax. Again, the Blue Devil here is again repeatedly trying to forcibly remove the creature from Buzz, this time by kicking him in the area where it landed. It is after he does this about 14 times that the beetle finally falls onto the court, and the Blue Devil stops.
Nantz: I am really sorry to interrupt–actually, no I’m not–but I wanted to let you all know that Buzz is now conscious once again, and seems to be moving all of his extremities. They are now able to carry him into a golf cart and be taken to the locker room while referees continue to debate the end result of this whole thing.
Packer: There’s no debate! clearly there was no foul!
Nantz: Okay, Bill–
Packer: Dr. Pack to you!
Nantz: Soooooo sorry…Dr. Pack, you still haven’t convinced me of what you’re seeing. I mean, your explanation is outlandish enough, but the piledriver just–
Packer: I was getting to that! Let me f—ing finish! As you can see on the replay, the flesh-eating beetle in on the court and off of Buzz, and the Blue Devil starts to relax. But then he notices something. The beetle is pregnant! and it’s about to spawn hundreds of flesh-eating beetles into a stadium filled with 20,000 flesh-based produce! He must kill the creature and quick! But what does he have at his disposal?
Nantz: Um, his foot?
Packer: You fool! His foot could never destroy such a creature! Haven’t you ever taken Wake Forest’s evolutionary biology class?
Nantz: No, B-uh, Dr. Pack, I can’t say that I have.
Packer: Then you have no moral authority on this matter! Anyway, Bluey over here, who has taken evolutionary biology class–
Nantz: Billy, where did you get that information?
Packer: One of two places. Either one of those times when I go out for a Turkish bath with the Schwab and Ralph Friedgen on Fridays, or when I see the basketball fairy in my dreams.
Nantz: You mean John Amaechi?
Packer: You don’t know the bond between us!
Nantz: Actually, I, uh…I think I kinda do. But back to your point.
Packer: Oh, yeah, yeah. Where was I?
Nantz: The miracle of flesh-eating beetle birth, I think.
Packer: Right. Anyway, he can’t use his foot, so what can the Blue Devil use? He then remembers from evolutionary biology that the skull of a bee, when blown up to human size, is almost as strong as steel. So , thinking quickly, he picks up Buzz, turns him upside down, and drives him right into the ground, killing the beetle and all of her babies just as they were about to be born and eat everyone in this stadium. He just saved thousands of lives through his actions. Boy, I tell you, he’s one great American hero.
Nantz: Yeah, in the same way that R. Kelly, circa “Make It Rain Remix” is the ideal role model for kids these days.
Packer: I didn’t take you for a Fat Joe connoisseur, Jim.
Nantz: More to the point, it looks like the refs agree with you, Billy. Because they have declared the foul non-intentional, and say that Buzz has forfeited due to injury, which means that the Blue Devil is the winner of this game! And he will be moving on to the semifinal against the Hokie Bird, which should make out to be a great game.
Packer: I’m really happy for him, Jim. And really, he should be awarded a medal today for saving us all from a slow, painful and certain death.
Nantz: Just don’t take the Chuck E. Cheese medal the kid in seat E10 is wearing, Dr. Pack. Now, let’s send it back to Greg Gumbel in the studio.
Greg Gumbel: (puking in horror) HUUUUUOOOAAAGHHH!!! OH GOD! OH GAAAAHHHD!! WHY DID I JUST SEE THAT?!?! How does that guy still work for us? I mean he’s completely lost his fu–oh, are we on? OK… Thank you Jim, and thank you for joining us on the ACC Tournament halftime show, presented by Waffle House. Second half, after this.
Okay, at this point we’re going WAY off tangent here. But you get the idea. A mascot competition is always entertaining, and we can’t have some sort of ACC Mascot Deathmatch!!!, so a one-on-one basketball tournament will do just fine. And yes, the !!! was intentional.
Hold a Tournament Sponsored Tailgating Tournament in the Parking Lot. Again, this is to keep fans who would normally leave or be less enthusiastic because of their bad teams. The more competition, the better, and this would be an exceptionally tasty one. I would find the best barbecuer with an allegiance to each team, and they have a cook-off on Saturday to see which has the best ribs, pork shoulder, etc. And the winner will have $10,000 donated to their schools scholarship fund. And everyone gets to have great food for free at the tournament. How can people not cheer for that?
Make All Coaches Wear Colored Jackets. Because everyone wearing the same gray jacket can get confusing. But more importantly, because I simply cannot wait to see what purple would look like on Oliver Purnell. He’d look even more like a pimp than Sidney Lowe.
Rig the First Game on This Year’s Schedule. I swear to God, if the Seminoles are left off the bracket because they choked in the ACC tournament for the 3rd year in a row, something bad is going to happen. How can they possibly waste such a talent as Al Thornton? Seriously.
Create a Clause That Says Whomever Wins the ACC Tournament Gets an Automatic #1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Wait. We already have that? Sweet.