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?
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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?
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.”
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.