All right, so we are joined on site by my friend Andrew Carter.
First of all, from the News & Observer, at underscore Andrew Carter. I knew there was an underscore in there somewhere. But I did get the un-underscored version on Post News.
Oh, did you? When we all migrate over there after Twitter breaks, which I'm mildly surprised it still works. It is a little bit of an upset. I thought we were all going to be on Mastodon or Koo at this point. I don't even know what that last, what is that last one?
Koo. I keep seeing advertisements for it on Twitter. How about that?
Yeah, it's pretty good. To one of the few advertisers I think still there. Andrew Carter, by the way, congratulations to you. The soon to be, I guess it's not official till June, but you're already voted the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. Second time for you, but the first time you don't have to be bothered by sharing it with Luke DeCock. Well, speaking of Luke, I think the people who voted for me, I think they meant to vote for Luke. I don't know. It's the way that I consider it.
I think Luke was robbed there a little bit. Certainly, if you judge it by volume, if you write five stories a year like me, they better be good. You don't write as much, but you lay it out there. Especially in this state with so many talented guys doing the work, it is an honor.
Congratulations again. Do you remember three years ago? It was three years ago Thursday when they shut it all down. We're sitting here, quarterfinal Thursday, John Swafford initially said, no, we're going to play, no fans. And then by 1230, he was handing the trophy to Leonard Hamilton, top-seeded Florida State was going to play, I think Clemson. They were. So do you remember? Kind of fitting. I know there's been a tournament here since 21, but a little bit fitting to me that Florida State is in the first game here, like the first, I don't know, quote unquote real tournament back in Queensborough with full fans.
That's right. We did come back here in 21. I came and did a story in 21 about just the weird vibe. I bought a ticket, sat upstairs.
Really? I did. You could have gotten a media credential. I wanted to do that story of what it was like, kind of as a spectator. But you asked what I remember. I mean, I remember everything. And when I was walking in here this morning, it's weird how certain moments and days just are imprinted into your mind and on your brain. I mean, I remember being in that room, the media room right there. And I think I was like the last person in there that day, that Thursday, writing the story in the aftermath of what happened. Not because I'm a good writer, but because I'm a slow writer.
It takes me forever to get anything done. But I remember walking out of the arena that day, kind of shutting the place down. Just being like, this is like the weirdest experience of my life, professionally speaking. That day started, like you mentioned, with John Swafford holding that weird press conference. And I think everyone around the country, what sticks out three years later in my mind was kind of like all these commissioners waiting for the other one to kind of make a decision. And I can't remember the order of events, but it was like one conference called it quits and canceled their tournament.
And then the next one did the next one. So, we're in there having lunch or breakfast or whatever that Thursday. And it looks like they're going to try to play with, I think, just like friends and family, just family, just family.
So, there are maybe a couple hundred people in here, family members of players, you know, kind of filing in. And it was a super weird scene, you know, out on the court during warm-ups. Yeah, just, it was just bizarre. Yeah, then going out on the court and Swafford presenting the trophy and all of a sudden announcing, hey, it's done. And I just, I had this weird recollection of the FSU mascot, Cimarron, is that how you pronounce it, I think?
That's right. The horse. Yeah, but the horse was not here.
No, he wasn't. The horse was here. I have a picture of it and the band. So, I remember the band and the horse kind of milling about after FSU quote unquote won. Right.
Because Swafford basically declared them champion, which I guess that's the right thing to do in those circumstances. But I remember like the band and the mascot kind of like not knowing what to do because there's no audience really. And they're just kind of milling about and your team just won an ACC championship. And it's just kind of like, well, what do we do?
This is totally weird. But the whole thing was just, I mean, surreal is a word I think that gets overused. But that's the one that really, I mean, if ever it fits, it was that day.
Andrew Carter from the News & Observer is joining us here at the Greensboro Coliseum. I had forgotten that they had come back here the next year. But even that might have been limited fans and whatnot. Totally. And it was like socially distanced.
Right. So, it was like you came in and you had to sit. I think I had like my own row.
Awesome. In the upper deck. We're talking the whole row, you know, lengthwise and then a few rows ahead of me and behind me were empty. And I, you know, it was like a very limited seating thing. I can't remember how many spectators they allowed.
But I do remember the ushers in the Coliseum walking around with those signs like, you know, be sure your mask on and that kind of thing and really taking care of socially distance. And, you know, it is good to be back here three years later in kind of a full circle moment and have kind of a, you know, a true tournament experience, if you will, with people in the stands and kind of get back to what it was. One of the things that also sticks out to me because I was in the media room when John Swafford met the media about 10 o'clock on that Thursday was just how much the tournament being in Greensboro meant to him. Because it was, I don't know if it was, it wasn't ever going to be the last one. We're never going to not come to Greensboro, which I think most, a lot of people kind of misconstrue with, you know, we're going to go to Charlotte a lot.
We're going to go to DC a lot, which is I think going to be the two main places. But we're never going to not come to Greensboro. But it meant so much to him because he was going out as the commissioner and this was what he wanted. Not a celebration of him, but he wanted a celebration of Greensboro. I don't know, maybe he wanted to be celebrated.
I don't know. I never thought John was that way anyway. But, and then to have the tournament, like they knew they had to shut it down. He didn't want to. He didn't want to that morning. No, that was the last thing he wanted to do.
And you're right, like that specific tournament in 2020 was supposed to be, you know, kind of like the unofficial Swofford sendoff. And it wasn't like Everyone loves TV Dad. On the next TV Dad presented by Progressive, TV Dad explains becoming a man.
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Potential savings will vary. You know, Celebrate Me, I Am All High and Mighty, Emperor Swofford, that kind of thing. Like there wasn't that vibe. But a man who, you know, grew up not far from Greensboro, up in Wilkes County, a North Carolinian, a guy who went to Carolina, was AD there for a long time, a guy who'd been AD, or not AD, but commissioner of this conference since 1997. You know, the roots run so deep between Swofford and ACC in North Carolina and this particular city, you know, and he's one who really always appreciated that and recognize what Greensboro has meant to this conference and to the people in it and to the schools. And so you're right, it was kind of supposed to be this unofficial sendoff and farewell and kind of the celebration of, you know, a guy that, you know, fans have their opinions of Swofford and what kind of job he did. But, you know, I can tell you that the vast majority of people within the league respected him to a great deal.
No question. And yeah, it was sad. And I think it was really emotional and difficult for him. And I know in hindsight, it's easy maybe to, you know, criticize him for maybe the lack of action or kind of waiting in the wings to see what other leagues did. But he desperately wanted to find a way to make that thing happen. And what if it came clear that it wasn't possible?
You know, obviously, I think he realized that and accepted the outcome, but still a very difficult moment for him. Could have been worse, could have been the Big East. They started their 1130 game or 11 o'clock game. And then at halftime, they were like, nope. Yeah. Right. I mean, at least we just played half a basketball. Yeah. I mean, like at least the ACC like had that right. They didn't start a game.
They almost did. Yeah. I mean, for a long time, I remembered how much time was left on like the arena countdown clock. You know, there's a clock that leads to tip off or whatever. And it was less than an hour. Oh, no, no.
No question. It was getting on close. They didn't make the decision to cancel until after 1130. Yeah. We were sitting here.
It was before noon and we had not even received word. Right. And I'm sure there's a lag time.
They probably made the decision about 1115, 1130. Andrew Carter, before I let you go, from the News & Observer at underscore Andrew Carter, what is the storyline of this tournament? Like there's a storyline for today, which is separate from the tournament. I think the storyline for the tournament is does North Carolina have to win it to get into the NCAA tournament? Yeah. And I think they do. You know, I think they have to win at least twice.
Yeah. Depending on how the bubble stuff shakes out. Certainly, that would be the easiest path for Carolina just to win the whole thing. And they could. They could with that backcourt.
I mean, if they get hot, they got hot a year ago throughout March and you saw what they're capable of. So, certainly, that's in the realm of possibility. To me, the broader storyline, I think, is just how wide open this thing is. You know, I can't remember another ACC tournament.
We're going into it. To me, at least, it doesn't feel like there's a clear favorite. Like, Miami's good. Duke has been playing really well of late. But I don't look at any of these teams, especially among the top four seeds, and think, boy, like they're unbeatable or whatever. You know, like nothing would surprise me almost. Perfect tournament for State to win. I mean, I've been making that point with folks. Luke and I did a thing yesterday, our little ACC Now podcast. I think I did pick State to win, which basically means we're going to win these on Wednesday night.
I cursed them, pretty much. But, I mean, if ever there's a year that NC State is going to break this good, not having won this thing since 1987, it shapes up pretty well for them. I mean, with that backcourt, that's what I think is possible. The wide open nature of the league this year, it's kind of like a why not NC State thing. Well, except for all their history. I guess, why not?
But they do have, you know, they do have the pieces and things could fall into place. Andrew Carter from the News and Observer, the current North Carolina sportswriter of the year. Look forward to you. Well, you can't win it twice in a row. So, I guarantee you won't win it next year.
I can't. Is that a rule? You're not even allowed to be nominated the next year.
Wait a minute. That must be new because I swear Ed Harden won it like four years ago. Well, Scott Fowler, who we had on before, who knows how many times he's won it. He's got all sorts of AP awards. He's like 20 times AP.
He does. AP sports writer of the year. Well, and he deserves it. He's the best. I'm just happy to be in the room. I'm happy to be in the room.
Facts say you are. So, thank you very much for stopping by. Thanks for having me. Everyone loves TV Dad. On the next TV Dad presented by Progressive, TV Dad explains becoming a man. Hey, son.
It's time we had the talk. Okay, TV Dad. You know, drivers who switch and save with Progressive could save hundreds. Oh, is that why my voice is changing? That's a question for your health teacher.
Listen to your TV Dad. Drivers who switch and save with Progressive could save hundreds. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and Affiliates. Potential savings will vary.
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