NORMAN AREY COLUMN: It looks as if the ACC is now in underdog role

March 24, 2017

I’ve thought about this, I’ve written it down, I’ve said it out loud and now I’m ready to share it with you. The ACC, the greatest basketball conference the world has even known and the recipient of nine NCAA basketball tournament bids, has one team left in March Madness. Meanwhile, the SEC, the greatest football conference the world has ever known, has three basketball teams left. In pure fact, according to numbers, the ACC was the best football conference around last season. What in the name of Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith is going on? In fact, the Big XII and the Big Ten also have three, the Big East has two, the SEC is 7-2 in the tourney, and the ACC is down to North Carolina and nobody else. Well, in defense of the ACC, I think it’s just one of those things. How else would you describe it? Do you honestly believe the SEC is three times better than the ACC? Of course not. Michigan sent No. 2 seed Louisville home. South Carolina, who hasn’t had a team in the Sweet 16 since 1972, ousted perennial power Duke, and North Carolina barely got by Arkansas. So who’s going to win it all? I still pick the lone remaining ACC team.

Basketball quickies

I felt sorry for Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, whose wife, Lynn Marshall was escorted out Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena Sunday following the Shockers’ loss. She is reported to have been “spewing vulgarities” at Wichita State’s opponent, Kentucky. Pictures show the missus seemingly out of control. … LSU has hired Virginia Commonwealth basketball coach Will Wade while N.C. State hired former UNC-Wilmington coach Kevin Keatts to replace Mark Gottfried, who was fired during the season. VCU wasted no time by hiring Rice’s Mike Rhoades. … The first week of this year’s March Madness was the most watched on TV in 24 years. … The team with the most difficult path to the NCAA title seems to be UCLA, who, if the seeds hold, must play Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas to reach the finals. … Former Kansas, UCLA, SMU, and NBA coach Larry Brown, 76, is talking to Long Island University, Brooklyn about its head coaching vacancy. … Bad news for Arkansas fans as guns will now be allowed at sporting events.

Out & about

The New York Mets have sent Tim Tebow to their low Class-A baseball team in Columbia, South Carolina. That means that baseball fans in Rome should get a look at the former Gator quarterback when the Fireflies visit the Rome Braves for their home opener April 13. … The University of Texas is supposedly recruiting former LSU transfer quarterback Brandon Harris. (That’s not good news for Longhorn fans since LSU isn’t known for its QB play.) … The Atlanta Falcons have signed team president Rich McKay to a new five-year contract. … U.S. Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny has resigned amid the sex scandal that is rocking the organization. … The NFL is scheduled to vote on the Oakland Raiders’ planned move to Las Vegas on Monday. … Former UNC star and now with the NBA Memphis Grizzlies Vince Carter, 40, doesn’t get older. He sank a half court shot and brought the house down with a between-the-legs dunk this week. … Sometimes-movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson claims he can hit a golf ball 490 yards. … Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will undergo rotator cuff surgery next week. … NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft has Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett as the No. 1 overall pick going to Cleveland. Kiper also predicts that LSU running back Leonard Fournette will go with the No. 8 pick to the Carolina Panthers. … The top five most clutch college football players, as chosen by Bleacher Report, are: No. 5 — Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia; No 4 — Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville; No. 3 — Quinton Flowers, QB, South Florida; No. 2 — Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State; and No. 1 — Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. … And we know college football is close, as Alabama’s Nick Saban has already jumped on a media member during his first press conference.

No Fun League

The National Football League, in its all-controlling attempt to keep its thumb on every little facet, is creating a film for its players called “How to celebrate a touchdown.” Really? Just try and leave some fun in the game.