Let the tournament sideshow begin

Staff WriterMarch 10, 2010 

There's always a tournament within the ACC tournament. It's a sideshow event sometimes referred to as "Tournament Pressure" and comes with its own pecking order.

Here are the seedings on the pressure front this year.

No. 1 seed - Paul Hewitt: Now in his 10th season at the school, Georgia Tech's coach has a conference tournament record of 6-9 and a league regular-season mark of 105-109.

During that stretch, Yellow Jacket rosters have included Chris Bosh, B.J. Elder, Alvin Jones, Tony Akins, Jarrett Jack, Javaris Crittenton, Thaddeus Young, Anthony Morrow and Will Bynum in addition to the current players.

Whether the Jackets need a win over North Carolina to secure an NCAA bid may be debatable, but there's not much doubt that Hewitt's 2004 run to the national championship game has the earmarks of a fluke.

No. 2 seed - Larry Drew II: It's not fair to put all of the blame for a miserable season on a single player.

But fair or foul, UNC's sophomore point guard has the primary flash-point for all that's gone wrong since several impressive early-season wins. Amid growing speculation that he'll transfer, Drew will go to Greensboro with one last chance this season to show he can be a decent ACC floor leader.

No. 3 seed - The tournament itself: Expansion has been a disaster for basketball and about the same for football.

The move to 12 teams has only diluted competition, created senseless scheduling quirks and combined with Carolina's season as an N.C. State look-alike, is eroding fan interest. If the NCAA expands to 96 teams, there's no reason whatsoever to think the ACC tournament will remain a viable endeavor.

But hey, it used to be the best show around until television became ultimate sports dictator.

No. 4 seed - Sidney Lowe: If Carolina's spectacular crash hadn't so completely dominated the landscape, State's fourth-year coach would have been on a blistering griddle to Greensboro since early February.

But regardless of what happens next season, Carolina can't provide a second straight diversion for Lowe and his program.

He needs to get a jump start on a big season by winning a couple of games this week.

No. 5 seed - Brian Zoubek: Having finally done enough to grab the attention of NBA scouts, Duke's gritty giant is now officially playing for a couple of million bucks.

If he can make the most of the postseason, starting Friday against either Boston College or Virginia, he'll take his unexpected progress straight to the bank in June.

No. 6 seed - Roy Williams: His team has had a bad season, but so has the Carolina coach.

Williams somehow got so fixated on size that he forgot to sign enough guards even after Ty Lawson almost turned pro following the 2007-08 season. He's left with a team that can't shoot, can't pass and won't compete. That win over Michigan State in Detroit seems like it happened longer ago than one year.

No. 7 seed Wake Forest: The Deacons may already have an NCAA bid secured. But if they lose to Miami on Thursday, can anyone honestly argue that they deserve to be included?

No. 8 seed The Zebras: The officials need to stay out of each other's way long enough to avoid launching a new TV series - "America's Got Whistles."

caulton.tudor@gmail.com or 919-829-8946

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