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All's quiet at Stamey's, for now

What to expect from the ACC men's basketball tournament, which begins Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum:

Day 1

Here's the first over-under bet of the tournament: Will there be more people having lunch at Stamey's barbecue at noon Thursday or in the arena where Virginia and Miami will meet to see which team can be home before Duke arrives in town?

I'm picking Stamey's as the first-round winner and not just because I'm partial to hush puppies.

This might be the ugliest first day in ACC tournament history. That makes it beautiful in its own 35-percent shooting, turnover-cluttered way.

Wake Forest is required to participate.

The most compelling first-round game should be the Maryland-N.C. State game at 7p.m. because it's sure to feature Sidney Lowe's red coat, which could be making its final official appearance.

I suspect the Wolfpack will hang around for at least a day, in part because the Terps are a mess and just when you think the Wolfpack is done, it keeps hanging around like wild onions in the spring.

There will be plenty of chatter about who will replace Lowe as the Wolfpack's next coach, and the list currently looks like this:

1. Phil Jackson

2. Phil Jackson

3. Rick Barnes

4. Rick Barnes

5. Cozell McQueen

Someone will ask Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg if he thinks his Hokies are in the NCAA tournament this year.

Someone will continue to ask that same question until the pairings are announced Sunday afternoon. It's always a fair question when the Hokies are involved.

North Carolina fans will smugly sit out the Thursday action at the tournament. If any of them show up and have a sense of humor, they should wear a "Been There, Done That" T-shirt from last year.

When the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game mercifully ends around midnight Thursday, there will be no traffic jam leaving the arena.

Four teams will already be finished.

None of them is named Clemson.

Day 2

This is when the tournament officially starts and not just because Florida State is in the house.

North Carolina plays the first game, which means you won't be able to get a dinner reservation at 7 p.m. in Greensboro. But, then again, Outback doesn't take reservations.

Stamey's will be filled with Clemson and Florida State fans talking about spring practice and discussing the relative merits of coaches named Dabo and Jimbo.

Duke arrives and the Coach K Countdown To Passing Bobby Knight recommences. Seven wins and Coach K will have more wins than anyone, including Charlie Sheen.

If Lowe's red coat makes it to Friday, it doesn't make it to Saturday.

Wake Forest will still be savoring the ACC game it won this season.

If Florida State meets Virginia Tech in the 9:30 p.m. game, Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit will be the announcers.

Day 3

Assuming Duke and North Carolina are still playing, it feels like old times at the ACC tournament.

That means all the seats are filled and the fans of the two schools are trying to out-clever each other.

Duke fans are a 10-point favorite.

Virginia Tech remains firmly on the bubble.

Gary Williams petitions the NCAA for one more year of eligibility for Juan Dixon.

Boston College and its fans pretend the Eagles are a lock for the NCAA tournament.

In two days, ESPN's Joe Lunardi will go back to wherever he goes for the other 11 months of the year.

Day 4

Florida State meets Boston College in the championship game. Fans, pundits and league officials consider whether the tournament is relevant anymore.

Stamey's is quiet.