Live from the ACC: Good seats available, and Tech wins!

Remember when the ACC tournament was the toughest ticket this side of the Masters? Remember when — Wes Durham just told me this story — North Carolina fans used to contribute to the Alexander-Tharpe Fund at Georgia Tech just to have a way to assure themselves of tournament tickets. (The Carolina allocation was, at the time, significantly more competitive.)

Well, that was then. And this is now. And you could buy ACC tickets on Ticketmaster this week. I know, it’s a function of the economy, but still … when the high-falutin’ ACC can’t sell out in advance, what hope is there for the rest of the sports world?

Not that the first day of any conference tournament, the ACC included, is ever a truly packed house. The big boys don’t play on Day 1. (I’m guessing the North Carolina and Duke teams aren’t even in town yet.) But this afternoon session of Day 1 has the chance to be slim pickings. (Not to be confused with Slim Pickens, the greatest of American actors.) Miami and Virginia Tech don’t travel well, at least not for this sport, and Georgia Tech couldn’t fill the Thrillerdome this season. So I’d assume the Dome folks are praying for a big caravan of Clemson folks headed down I-85.

I’ll be blogging live all day, which could well drive down attendance on AJC.com, but what the heck. I’ll also be conducting the first stages of a grand experiment: I have been issued a BlackBerry Storm and asked to shoot photos and (gasp) even video. “Have fun with it,” the brass told me, and I believe those were the same words Mrs. O’Leary had for her cow Flossie when she sent her to the garage.

So let me know what you think. And if anyone has any BlackBerry tips, I’d love to hear those, too. The day began with me having locked the touch screen, whereupon I employed the time-honored scientific method: I removed the battery and re-started the thing.

Miami and VPI (as us old folks used to call Va. Tech) are about to tip. Tech and the Tigers should get going around 2:30. Stick around, won’t you?

Actual breaking news! (Sort of)

I just saw Jason Capel, who played for North Carolina and who works for Raycom now. I asked him if his brother Jeff is coming to coach Georgia. He said he didn’t think so. Jason said he has heard the numbers being thrown around — Georgia is said to be willing to pay $2 million per season, which is more than twice what Dennis Felton was making — but also said he didn’t think Oklahoma would let Jeff Capel leave.

For the record, neither do I.

Halftime update, Game 1

Virginia Tech leads Miami 28-24. The ‘Canes made a little run late — Jack McClinton actually hit a three-pointer, his one and only — and more than halved their deficit. But I can’t see the U taking this one. VPI is a better team.

Then again, I’m occasionally wrong.

Ticketing update!

I’m told by someone who should know that the ACC doesn’t plan to sell tickets for individual sessions at the box office. (You have to buy a tournament set.) But stay tuned. That could change.

I just saw Tech AD Dan Radakovich and his aide-de-camp Wayne Hogan in the hall, and we agreed this wasn’t the year to bring the tournament to a 40,000-seat venue. Then again, that decision was made years ago. As Radakovich said: “If someone could have predicted back in 2005 that the economy would do what it has, we’d all have kept our money under our mattresses.”

Tech halftime update

The Jackets are tied with Clemson at 39 and have made 51.6 percent of their shots. Clinch has 15 of the 39. Rebounds are even. This is a winnable game for Tech, which I kind of thought it would be. Please follow along on the live blog below in the comments section. We’re having so much fun!

Tech wins!

If you haven’t been following along in the live blog — and if not, why not? — Tech beat Clemson 86-81. Lewis Clinch had a career-best 32 points. Moe Miller was terrific running the team. Gani Lawal outplayed Trevor Booker underneath. The Jackets have now won half as many games in the ACC tournament as they did in the 16-game conference season. Sounds a little like Georgia last year, doesn’t it?

Speaking of which, a weather update

Tech publicist Mike (Moose) Stamus just walked over and said, “We moved our baseball game up 2 1/2 hours tomorrow — there’s a threat of thunderstorms.”

As for me …

Despite falling on my backside in the attempt to get a blurry post-it-yourself photo (read about it below), I’ll be back to blog live again tomorrow. We’ll start around noon, and we’ll keep going until Tech beats Florida State in the second afternoon game. (Wait a second! Did I just say that? Yes, I did!)

Thanks to one and all who visited and contributed today, and we’ll keep going a little while longer.

183 comments Add your comment

Julia on Marietta

March 12th, 2009
12:08 pm

Excellent photo, Mark. Think it’s no cruder than your columns. If you were to buy a ticket to the games this weekend, where would you want to sit?

Leland

March 12th, 2009
12:14 pm

Dear Mr. MB–thanks for letting me know about the ticket availability, but I can’t go. I have some other things I need to do. Your pal, Leland

Just a Fan

March 12th, 2009
12:16 pm

If you’re talking on the phone the lock button is on the top (press it in to lock/unlock).

Reno 911

March 12th, 2009
12:23 pm

Keep the Slim Pickens references coming! MB, have you contemplated embarking on a Jim Rome-like “Slim streak”, wherein you might reference Mr. Pickens in 20 consecutive columns?

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
12:24 pm

Ticket update: They’re no longer available on Ticketmaster, but I’m told by ACC folks they’re available at the box office through today.

Not to sound like a homer for the Georgia Dome, but even the upper deck isn’t terribly far away. Anywhere in the first two sections would be a great seat, I’d think.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
12:25 pm

Reno, I’m contemplating one even now.

Dean Shore

March 12th, 2009
12:29 pm

The ACC Tournament should always be held in NC. NC is central to the ACC. NC loves good basketball and locals will continue to support the tournament even when their team loses out. In NC the ACC Tournament would be a sell out every year. Keep it in NC and it will again be the hardest ticket to obtain outside the Masters.

Boston Williams

March 12th, 2009
12:33 pm

Have the tournament in the state of NC. NC rules college basketball. (NC, Duke, WF, all top-10)

Illini Fac

March 12th, 2009
12:39 pm

So if I want to go to tomorrow’s session, I need to buy the tix today?

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
12:39 pm

Wish you were here, Leland.

And thanks for the BlackBerry pointer, Just A Fan. I’ll be coming back for more momentarily, I’m sure.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
12:41 pm

Va. Tech leads 22-14 with 5:28 left in the half, by the way. Miami looks awful.

Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I did watch the U lose to Georgia Tech eight days ago.

MatthewH

March 12th, 2009
12:42 pm

For those of you saying that NC will sell out every year, you have to remember that whether it is held in Greensboro or Charlotte, it is in a 20,000 seat arena. The GA Dome is 46,000(?). I believe that they’ve sold 20,000 seats. It is all relative.

Joe

March 12th, 2009
12:45 pm

Sell individual game tickets and the ACC might get butts in the seats. As Clemson Alumi living in Atlanta, my wife and I can’t come up with the scratch for 2 tourney books. We’d be there if they sold single game tickets though.

brewdawg

March 12th, 2009
12:59 pm

Mark,

Anybody blogging the SEC tourney today? Or is the SEC so bad this year that it does not warrant coverage? Tech fans: Good luck throughout the tourney from a UGA fan.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
1:03 pm

Don’t know about the SEC from the AJC perspective, blog-wise. (Esteemed colleague Chip Towers is there, and I’d assume he’ll have something for y’all at some point.)

But I know my longtime pal and esteemed former colleague John Clay will blog live from the Kentucky game, which is starting about now. Click on “John Clay’s sidelines” in my blogroll — halfway up on the right side — to find his fine coverage.

NativeAtlantan

March 12th, 2009
1:06 pm

I have a hard time believing the ACC isn’t going to put single session tickets on sale. I think a lot of people would be down there in a heartbeat. Like others say, 2 tourney books is a ton of money. I’m just interested in coming down for a session, and I figure I can find tickets on the street or on Craigslist at face or less.

Coastal

March 12th, 2009
1:08 pm

Mark, probably a dumb question from what i’ve seen of GT crowds this season, but are you expecting a big GT crowd for the game today? GO TIGERS!!!

Coastal

March 12th, 2009
1:22 pm

might help if i read the article above.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
1:30 pm

No, Coastal, I’m not.

And I apologize for being out of pocket here for the last 10 minutes. Would you believe I’ve had Internet connection issues?

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
1:32 pm

43-37 Va. Tech, 10 minutes left. Still not much of a game.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
1:41 pm

Over now. Virginia Tech by 17, if anyone cares.

SunnyD

March 12th, 2009
1:46 pm

I don’t get why the ACC would rather have 20K fans in an arena that seats 46K, than have 20K fans in a sold-out arena that seats 20K. Why? I don’t understand it. ACC tournament should be in Greensboro at the Coliseum, every year, period.

Mike

March 12th, 2009
1:51 pm

Yeah, the price for the ticket book for the whole weekend was ridiculous. The ACC swung and miss with their ticket selling/pricing policy for this one. I wanted to go but thought the price of the book was ridiculous. Now I’m just skipping out on the whole weekend unless I can get some single session seats.

Coastal

March 12th, 2009
1:52 pm

Wish Charleston, SC had a bigger arena to host the ACC and/or NCAA tourney (like the NAACP would let it happen anyway). I like the tourney being in Greensboro, but there is nothing to do there. At least Atlanta and Washington provide stuff to do when the games aren’t going on.

Joe

March 12th, 2009
2:04 pm

65-47 VT. Clemson next…GO TIGERS!

Try This

March 12th, 2009
2:14 pm

Guy here at work bought his Clemson tix on Stub Hub. Seems the NC peeps buy books for both sessions, then sell the tickets to the games they don’t want to attend. So he was able to buy the tickets he wanted for short money. Even with fees, he only dropped $17 per ticket for each game. Good seats, too.

Matt

March 12th, 2009
2:15 pm

Well, it sucks to be unemployed… but what a day to be unemployed! You’ve gotta love March!

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:20 pm

God love you, Matt.

Tech game is about to start. More Clemson fans here than Tech folks, it seems. (Of course, it’s hard to tell Clemson fans — they were such understated colors.)

The Dude

March 12th, 2009
2:25 pm

Wear dude… wear. Here’s to Tech giving something for fans to smile about. Surely they can’t lose three to Klimp’s Son, but you can bet I’ll call them all Shirly if they do.

David

March 12th, 2009
2:26 pm

GT alum watching on RAYCOM in Raleigh, NC.

I am shocked – SHOCKED – that Tech’s not the primetime game.

Next year, true believers…

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

Tech’s up 10-2 after three minutes. Clinch hit a three to start and just drove for a hoop.

Matty Ice

March 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

Mark, any celeb sightings? I’ll be there tonight so give me a head’s up.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

Tech 12-9 at the first TV timeout. Clinch has seven already. How come it took this guy 3.9 seasons to turn into Michael Jordan?

wes

March 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

Derrick Favors skip school ? He there?

wes

March 12th, 2009
2:31 pm

Stuck @ work…

Has Gani fouled out yet?

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:32 pm

Dave Odom. Wimp Sanderson. Dan Bonner. Jeff Capel’s brother Jason. Roger Owens, who’s from Maysville, Ky., and whose wife Maurita was one of 16 children. That’s about it for big names.

Louis T

March 12th, 2009
2:32 pm

GameTracker tracking from Asheville, NC. Go Jackets.

Ace

March 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

Capel to Georgia? How about Capel to Georgia Tech?

wes

March 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

As per ur question about Lewis….he was studying too hard.

LOL

pws

March 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

Well, if GT can hang on to the ball and not turn it over, then they may have a chance. Mark, how about counting the turnovers for us, so we will know whether or not to stay until the end of the game…..I’m not sure I can watch another one when they keep turning the ball over. Let’s hope Lewis knew what he was talking about yesterday…

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:35 pm

Bad foul by Clinch, his second. He sits with 12:52 and Tech up seven. He has nine of Tech’s 16 points.

Louis T

March 12th, 2009
2:35 pm

Mark – The reason is two words….Paul Hewitt. Go Jackets.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:39 pm

Clemson’s press is eating Tech up now. Jackets have had to call two timeouts in backcourt — in backcourt, I say — in the last minute.

Tech up one now. Clinch back in.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:40 pm

I’ve got three turnovers by Tech in the first 8 1/2 minutes. Which isn’t all that bad, considering.

Matty Ice

March 12th, 2009
2:42 pm

Mark, any truth to the rumor that Corey Feldman is going to perform a halftime show? Don’t hold out on us.

Ace

March 12th, 2009
2:43 pm

Tony Bennett from Washington State should be the future coach of Georgia Tech! Very young and bright coach with the coaching pedigree to compete in the ACC.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:47 pm

Oh, and the security guy who tried to eject me from the 1990 ACC tournament is here, too. Remind me to tell you about that someday.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2009
2:48 pm

Tony Bennett left his heart in Pullman, Wash. (Sorry. Can never resist.)

ERIC

March 12th, 2009
2:48 pm

GO JACKETS!!

Ted Striker

March 12th, 2009
2:51 pm

Mark: Blackberry Tip #231. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/4 butter in 8 inch baking dish. Add 1/4 c. sugar & 2 tsp lemon juice to 16 oz. blackberries. Add 2 cup flour after combining with 1 c milk. Bake 45 mins