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We (Don't) Suck

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
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March 18, 2024 6:16 pm

We (Don't) Suck

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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March 18, 2024 6:16 pm

On a Monday "March Madness themed" Drive, Josh reacts to how the ACC fared on Selection Sunday, tells how the "NC State stuff" curse may have been broken after their run to win the ACC Tournament, attaches letter grades to the ACC NCAA Tournament draws, in Graham's Grades, publisher for Deacons and Devils Illustrated, Conor O'Neill, joins the show to tell whether or not Hunter Sallis will be back for Wake and whether or not there will be real pressure on Jon Scheyer and Duke, next year, and voice of NC State, Gary Hahn, joins the show to describe the scene of NC State winning the ACC Tournament and just how superstitious Kevin Keatts was over the course of the run.

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This is the DRIVE Podcast with Josh Graham.

Now you're talking my language. You can hear the DRIVE weekday afternoons, 3 till 6 on WSJS. You are on a Monday DRIVE. It is WSJS News, Talks, Sports for the Triad, where with bracket in hand, we are back from the ACC tournament in Washington, DC. And we have a March Madness themed show for you today.

A lot of basketball to get to. WD, prepare your soundboard. The voice of the Wolf Pack, Gary Hahn, is going to join us today. Let's go to the sidelines, Tony Haines. Plus, in studio, our buddy Connor O'Neill.

Deacon Illustrated, Devils Illustrated. But enough promos. Let's get into the bracket. Even though it's the third year in a row that the ACC gets just five teams in, Selection Sunday was actually a win for the league. Or to put it another way, the last couple of years, the ACC had real reasons to gripe about the number of bids it received. This year, it really doesn't.

Because, as is often the case of life, even if something is suboptimal for you, not the greatest for you, odds are somebody, somewhere, has it worse than what you're going through right now. Just look at the Big East. The ACC got, not one, but two more bids than the Big East Conference got. Virginia, second to last team into the field. Meanwhile, Seton Hall, Providence, Rick Pitino, and St. John's, all left out of the field altogether.

And good on the committee. For months, we talked about this Northeast-based media push for Big East basketball and for the Mountain West. I'm looking at you, John Rothstein. I'm looking at you, Jeff Goodman, with the field of 68. Yes, I'm naming names. I'm looking at you, Linardi, who's tweeting through it.

The last 24 hours, by the way. These are Big East guys. These are folks in the Northeast telling us for months telling us for months how much better the Big East is than the ACC.

Oh, the Mountain West Conference is so great. When the reality is, after UConn, who's a monster, the Big East, two through six in their league, every bit as good as the ACC. Actually, I take that back, the ACC's better than their two through six. Give me the ACC's two through six versus Marquette versus St. John's, Seton, Hall, Creighton, those top two or three, really good. But the ACC has more depth, the ACC's a better conference. Contrary to all this propaganda that's been put out there the last few months, that has fueled this perception problem that the ACC's had in recent years. And similar with the Mountain West Conference.

Oh, the Mountain West is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Other than San Diego State, who was respected with the number five seed, all the other schools from the Mountain West that got in give them pretty low seeds. Nobody higher than an eight seed. So the ACC gets a little bit of respect that way. Virginia gets in while the Big East has schools left out. The Mountain West schools, they're knocked down a peg with some of the seeding that they released. And frankly, this was not a banner year for the ACC. So this is not the year to be complaining for six teams. That didn't stop Brad Brownell, though. Here was the Clemson coach this morning speaking about the ACC and the five teams that got bids.

I haven't had a chance to look at it all. As I mentioned earlier, I'm excited that Virginia got in. You know, I hate it that Pittsburgh didn't.

I thought they were right there. And I think Wake Forest is easily good enough to get in the tournament and win multiple games. I just think our league is, for whatever reason, maybe the metrics aren't aren't as good. And I think it's something that we as a league have to have to look at. Key there.

We have to look at fixing ways to fixing the metrics. The ACC had Clemson left out last year. Brad Brownell knows the feeling. Wake Forest two years ago and now Pittsburgh.

What do the three have in common? Really bad out of conference strength of schedule. 344 for Pitt and didn't play anybody out of conference. Clemson had that problem last year and even lost to Loyola Chicago. Wake Forest didn't play anybody in 2022.

So at least the committee is consistent. If you're on the bubble and have a low non-conference strength of schedule, you're going to be punished. That's why Virginia gets in, for example. Why did Virginia get in over Pittsburgh? Because they beat A&M by double digits. Because they played Florida and beat them as well. They challenged themselves with Memphis. They played really good teams out of conference. Plus NC State stole a bit. So Pittsburgh doesn't get in. NC State does stealing a bit.

It's really the first time in recent memory that that's happened. We could speculate that Virginia Tech maybe doesn't receive a bid if they don't win that ACC championship in 22 and against Coach K in Brooklyn. But aside from that, can't really think of another instance where an ACC team steals a bid by winning the conference championship. As for Wake Forest, they had their shot, just missed their opportunity. They have no one to blame but themselves for not being into the field with the types of losses they had down the stretch after the Duke win at the Joel. The other reason why you can't really complain if you're the ACC today and Selection Sunday was a win, you got a number one seat.

North Carolina was given a number one seat, which was not a given after Carolina lost to State on Saturday night. And meanwhile, Iowa State rolled Houston. In fact, the final AP poll was released today. They don't do this after the bracket and after March Madness.

They do it after conference championship weekend. Iowa State was given the fourth spot in the AP poll, North Carolina fifth. So this was a tough conversation that had to be had by the committee. And Charles McClellan, the committee chair, the SWAC commissioner, even said as much on the selection show.

There was a lot, a lot of discussion. Obviously, North Carolina got it. We looked at some head-to-heads with Tennessee, but overall, North Carolina had a magnificent season.

They did what they were supposed to do in the regular season, fell a little short in the tournament. And that's ultimately why we gave them that number four line seat on the number one, excuse me, the number one seat on the fourth line. Not only did Carolina get a number one seat, they're sent to Charlotte, too. We'll talk more about their draw a little bit later on, but Selection Sunday, when you look at all the details and context, largely a win for the ACC this given you're getting five teams. 336-777-1600, if you want in on the show. First caller of the week is Ed from Winston-Salem. Ed, let's make it a good one.

What do you have for me? Okay, I want to talk briefly about the congratulations to NC State. They played a hell of a ball game. They came out and they punched Carolina right in the face. Went up by 10 points. And then Carolina finally got their defense going. And you know, they had a one-point lead. I said, well, things are looking pretty decent here. In the second half, they reverted right back to what they did in the first half. No defense, poor shot selection.

And as far as I'm concerned, Baycott didn't get near the shots that he needed, but I'm proud of them, you know, the season they had. And I look forward to hearing your comments on the bracket. And that was really an unusual Saturday, too, Josh, because you had three number one seeds go down, too.

Crazy, no doubt. Thanks for the call, Ed. Yeah, where all the number one seeds take a lump, except for the UConn Huskies, W.D., Will Dalton, is taking your calls at 336-777-1600. You can reach out to the show on X at WSJS radio.

We're also streaming the show on YouTube and Twitch. In addition to X, W.D., did you miss me much? I did. It got kind of lonely here in the studio.

Sorry to hear about that. But since Ed brings up Saturday's game, let's talk about it. We're going to be talking about what NC State did in D.C. for a very, very long time. We suck. We might need to retire that drop after what they did. For those who don't know, Denzel and Ridgeway, a long-time listener of the show, first couple of years on the show, would always call in after NC State losses, frustrated, and he would cap every one of his calls by saying, We suck. It became the NC State stuff drop from our show.

We suck. Perhaps you can retire that because that type of win in the ACC Championship is the type of win that can transform a program in the long term, but certainly transform the outlook in the short term. Let's start with Kevin Keats. He solidified himself. He delivered. Going back to his first press conference, Kevin Keats told us, He let us in on the secret.

Kevin Keats is a winner. It just took a little while for him to win BIC, and he earned an extension as a result. He added in his contract. Last year, when NC State was handed down punishment that affected NC State's ability to recruit, he had it built into his contract. If that happened because of the Mark Godfrey, Dennis Smith Jr. situation, two years would be added on to his contract, and they were from 26 to 28. Now, if you win the ACC Championship, like he did on Saturday, two more years are added to the contract, so he's under contract now, based on the reporting on this, through 2030. He's going to be there for a while now, but going into the week, it didn't seem like that. If he lost Tuesday or even Wednesday, he's likely gone, and on Tuesday, without their best player, DJ Horn, they trailed Louisville by double digits. State, this is the part that's exciting.

They have a nucleus to build on. Of course, they won't have the two DJs, DJ Horn and DJ Burns, who are going to be remembered as state legends, regardless of what happens in Pittsburgh this week, the pack drawing Texas Tech in an 11-6, but think about Michael O'Connell. He has a COVID year.

That guy's never going to buy a drink and rally in his life. He could be back. He's going to forever be a pack legend for the shot he hit on Friday. Ben Middlebrooks, Mo Diarra, Jaden Taylor, all those guys are juniors. That win, it changes local dynamics. Maybe this show retires the NC State stuff drop.

We suck. Maybe it retires the not our rival stuff from Carolina people. I did see Bryce Johnson tweet out early Sunday morning, oh, we had to let you guys win one of those. That doesn't work for the ACC Championship game.

Doesn't work. Wanted to call Bryce out on it, but had other things going on, trying to get out of DC. But Bryce Johnson, you can't use that line anymore, Carolina people. You can't say, oh, you know, little brother's got to win one of these times in the ACC Championship.

When's the last? That works if you guys win it ever. It's been eight years since Carolina's won it, and now state has. So just saying, you don't have that line anymore. State beat them head to head in a game.

That matters. So if there ever was a curse, cursed, quote, Dave Doran, once upon a time, might officially be broken. That win can transform, and it should, the outlook of Wolfpack basketball. Josh Graham loves to talk sports. He also loves the way his new jeans highlight his man curves. Ooh, hot. Oh, yeah, that's hot. You're on the drive with Josh Graham.

My God, that's Connor O'Neill's music. Deacon Illustrated, Devils Illustrated. We'll get to the Devils in a bit because there's a lot to talk about related to the Deacs. Damari Monsanto, day one of the transfer portal opening up, has entered the portal. I'm being told Jawa Tuka has entered the portal as well. These seem like inevitable good things for the Deacs.

It's a reminder that the portal kind of works both ways in a sense. Like there are guys that you want to have back that don't come back, but there are also guys that it's time to move on from. And it was clear Damari fit into that category of moving on to Deacs. And Jawa Tuka as well, especially when you consider, if I have this right, they have one signed commit. Which means unless, and they have no other guys that they know for absolute certainty isn't going to be back next year.

In other words, they could bring everybody back if they wanted to. Wake kind of needs roster space right now for Steve Forbes to do anything. Right, everybody on the roster could have come back if they should choose to. Juke Harris out of Salisbury is the only one signed.

Very, very good combo guard. And yeah, I mean the writing was on the wall before this, but then the writing was probably in Sharpie on the wall when both of them are nowhere on the bench for their games in DC. So if you're not even bringing guys to the conference tournament, and one of those guys happened to be a key bench player for you at certain times this season, that's pretty much written in stone.

In terms of what comes back for Wake, what doesn't? I feel pretty comfortable saying that Hunter Salas is probably going to go pro. Yeah, I mean, I would... Look, if you want to be glass half full, you want to say that he's going to test the water and go through the process. And maybe he decides that he really wants to have a degree and comes back and gets it.

Maybe he tests poorly. I always think it's a weird thing to root if you're a fan. Like, I know you want players that you like watching to come back, but I always think it's weird to root against your guys.

To like start, you know, love them up for four months and love everything about their game. Too badly in the combine. When they go to the NBA, when they go test the waters and stuff, then everybody starts pointing out their flaws. Like, no, Hunter Salas isn't aggressive enough. He's not assertive.

He's not an alpha. He didn't shoot enough. He didn't go get the ball in certain points. And it's like, okay, but he was a first team All-ACC player. He averaged four and a half points a game for two years at Gonzaga and averaged 18 and a half or 19 this year. He was over 40% on threes, I think still. He's a heck of a player.

When I sat next to scouts throughout the year, they looked at him and said, that's an NBA player. That's a prospect. So we can assume he's probably not back.

But I will add this. When people saw the Mitch Shaw investment of $5 million to the Wake basketball program, the immediate reaction was, oh, Steve's going to do everything in the portal. Most of that money, if they're going to invest on the roster, is going to be on retention. It's not going to be on going into the portal.

Wake still has the same challenges of admitting people that they would, regardless of what money they have. It's funny, my reaction was that the little, in the like fourth or fifth graph where it said he gave the money to them about eight months prior. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. Timing is everything. Timing, yeah.

Timing is everything on some things there. Another Wake Forest note. You have the NIT Wednesday night, 8 o'clock, against Appalachian State.

That's going to be fun. That's the one matchup that they could have had that might attract a significant crowd. A lot of AppState fans in Winston and getting a shot at getting an ACC scalp for Dustin Kearns, hashtag take the stairs, is something that they're going to get up for. The question is, will Wake Forest get up for it? Oh, if I remember correctly, when they came to Winston about a year and a half ago, I think I rankled some feathers by pointing out that there was probably more App fans than Wake fans there.

Let's hope we get as good of a game as that one was. Andrew Carr hit a shot at the buzzer to win it after an AppState turnover on their baseline, if memory serves. So Wake decides they're going to play, especially with a team that has so many guys that could be back. Makes sense for Wake to play in the NIT, unlike Pittsburgh and others who have decided not to. Man, like Pittsburgh has two freshman guards. They have stick figures of big men that all have eligibility remaining.

They should be playing in the NIT. I agree. The only, I get it from the standpoint of, I think Washington declined to bid and they're in the middle of a coaching change.

Yeah. And I don't, I don't agree with it, but I at least understand it from a Carolina standpoint last year, of that team wanted to be finished with the season as soon as humanly possible. I get it with St. John's too, after what Rick Pitino was saying about his roster just a few weeks ago. Oh God, that was all an act.

That was all an act and they didn't lose for like three weeks after that. Rick Pitino is good at what he does. Yeah. But I don't think he's going to be able to sell to the guys. All right, you know, let's get up for the NIT here.

Let's do that. Yeah, then go lose a game. Like still go to it.

Just get another home game and lose it if you don't want to show up. Speaking of the NCAA's or teams that didn't make the NCAA that were on the bubble, Wake obviously didn't get in. They don't really have reason to complain today, right? I think it'd be different. I think the conversation as a whole would be different if there weren't so many bid stealers.

I think they, they obviously... But you're in line behind Pittsburgh when they beat you two out of three. Right, you needed to beat Pitt. Like the hypothetical starts stacking up and it just becomes a pretty academic conversation when you lose the game to Pitt, you have the late season three game losing streak, you have the two and nine road record. It's just kind of the factors add up to not push Wake forward in front of Pitt. I think that's the only one they're behind. Do they get in if they beat Pitt?

I don't think so. I think if they beat Pitt, I think Georgia Tech, they probably get in. I think if there weren't so many bid stealers, if you beat Pitt, you might be in.

But I think like, didn't the committee say there were five bid stealers that they... They counted New Mexico as a bid stealer, which is a little bit of a surprise, but I have the feeling if Wake takes care of its business against Georgia Tech, beats Pitt, then it becomes probably Waker, Virginia. And Wake killed Virginia earlier this year. Even though Pitt won at UVA, Wake Forest is... What Pitt has in common with Wake two years ago and Clemson last year, really bad non-conference strength of schedule. Wake did not have a bad non-conference strength of schedule this year. Right, and you're talking about adding two wins to Wake's resume at Georgia Tech.

Yeah, then I think Wake is probably in there. Before we get to the ACC Tournament pool, final standings here, a reminder that Mercedes-Benz of Winston-Salem is wanting you to take a test drive today. Feel the difference. A car is a car, except when it isn't. Mercedes-Benz, it's just different. Interest rates as low as 499 APR, 72 months on select new models. Visit Mercedes-Benz of Winston-Salem today. 691 Jonestown Road and take a test drive.

Heavily invested in their community, Mercedes-Benz of Winston-Salem. W.D., your reign as ACC Tournament draft champion is over. Yeah, I should have taken Armando Bacot. Not Cormac Ryan. Over Cormac Ryan? That probably was the difference because Connor O'Neill had a lead going into the final day, needed Armando not to cook.

Oh, I needed him to have like the worst game of his career. Yeah, Carolina became a two-player team in the championship game and Armando was one of those two players. And our guy, Brendan Marks, from The Athletic is the winner of a $100 BJ's Brewhouse and Restaurant gift card. Congratulations to Brendan, who couldn't be here today. Actually, he probably could.

I just didn't ask. But Brendan Marks, 323 combined points, steals, rebounds, assists, blocks of his lineup of Kyle Filipowski, Armando Bacot. Armando, Judah Mitts, Mark Mitchell, Bayon Dongo, Quentin Post. Quentin Post of Boston College, by the way. Boston College? For the second year in a row, the one constant, I finished in last place. Did you finish last year, too?

I did. I picked two guys from Clemson. It is crazy that Brendan won this and four of his six only played one game.

Yeah. It really makes me... Yeah, because he had the two Duke guys and then, well, Post... Oh, you're right, because Bayon Dongo lost round one, too. It really makes me re-evaluate the strategy because I drafted PJ Hall with the second overall pick thinking that I would get two games minimum, probably three because I thought they would beat Virginia and a possible fourth. And I only get one. See, that's the strategy I had and I had Andrew Carr and Boopie Miller who got two.

Boopie! Two from Clemson, though. Yeah, I guess maybe the moral of the story is pick really good players. Yeah.

Like the fact that... Yeah. I mean, you picked Blake Hinson in the last round. I guess you were kind of justified in that given the way that he played against Carolina, but Bub Carrington, nobody ended up taking Leggett from Pittsburgh who went nuts one of those days as well.

Yeah. W.D., if DJ Horn would have played on Tuesday night against Louisville, you probably have a really strong shot at this, too. You're the one that I think should be feeling terrible today because you're the one that drafted Cormac Ryan over Armando Bacot and took a hurt player who didn't play on Tuesday, even though he went nuts in the championship. I don't feel bad about the DJ Horn pick. Okay. I feel bad about the Cormac Ryan pick because that's the difference right there, in my opinion.

Congrats. Here's the question that I asked. Is Cormac Ryan going to score 31 points the rest of the season after scoring 31 in Cameron? Oh, like combined?

Yes. No, no, there's going to be one NCAA tournament game. I don't know who it's going to be against. Oh, yeah. But you watched. There's going to be a Cormac Ryan NCAA tournament game, but it's going to be singular.

It's not going to be consistent at all. We have three March Madness-related announcements to make on the show, and we'll share those and get into the Blue Devils as Connor O'Neill continues with us, next. It's The Drive with Josh Graham, WSJS. On The Drive back to DC with B-Dot, B-Dot, I introduced Dot to some of Hayes Permar's parody songs over the last 10 years. One of them was for this song where P.J. Hairston had his situation in Greensboro with Fats Thomas, Once Upon a Time in a rental car, and people were saying, oh, P.J.

might be done. But the premise of the song was rather than everybody's all night, everyone's up all night to get lucky is the lyric in the song. He changed that to I bet P.J. is back for Kentucky because 10 games in, they play Kentucky. And guess what? P.J. was back for Kentucky that year.

Dot enjoyed many of those parody songs. We'll catch up with Permar later in the week. Connor O'Neill's in studio with us.

Deacon Illustrated, Devils Illustrated. Got comments to get to in the YouTube chat that you can chime in on. Just search The Drive with Josh Graham.

You can watch the show in addition to listening to it. We got one comment. Connor, aren't you a giant lover of video replay? You would have loved Friday Night. See, you got out of town before Friday Night's Games because Wake and Duke were gone. But Roger Ayers going to the monitor in overtime for a third time when the clock read 1150. Not fun for the NC State, Virginia game.

That was not the most fun occurrence. Another one, Wake Forest just has it worse than everyone else. Super irrelevant on Tobacco Road. Wake Forest has suffered more than State. Maybe it should be considered Wake Forest stuff.

Just let NC State enjoy something nice. We suck. One time.

One time. Wake Forest fans now are this woe is me, stop it. Stop it. You guys went to an ACC football championship two, three years ago. You guys, the 2000s weren't that long ago. Chris Paul, Tim Duncan.

Number one. Well, Duncan was in the 90s. But tell me about the number one in the country NC State basketball team in the 90s and 2000s.

I'd love to hear about it. And then you won ACC titles in the 90s with Randolph Childress and Company. State hasn't had anything nice since the 80s. Just let them have this.

It doesn't have to be about you. There is the one number of State won more games in DC than Wake has won ACC tournament games in the last 18 years. Ah, I thought you were going to say they won more games than the Washington Wizards has won this season. That's a stat and a half right there. They had a chance to tie that against the Boston Celtics last night. They lost by 30.

Yeah, I think they gave up 17 threes in the first half. Boston NBA analyst Connor O'Neill here. We've got three programming notes, announcements to share with you.

Let's start with this. Wednesday, our show will be broadcasting live from Joel Colosseum. Wake Forest App State eight o'clock tip. Our show will be there. Hashtag Deaktown. Hashtag take the stairs.

One hashtag is a little cooler than the other. All due respect. On Thursday, our show will be at ACC headquarters ahead of the first round games in the Queen City. Have a great day and go ACC. Was Jim Phillips idea?

So we appreciate that. 10 a.m. to noon. Who knows? Maybe Jim Phillips will be on the show.

Perhaps. 10 a.m. to noon. Thursday and Friday, our shows, because we carry NCAA tournament. Live action, Tracy!

Thursday and Friday, all day. So there's our second announcement. Excited for that to be in the ACC headquarters in Uptown Charlotte. Our third announcement about a month ago, we gave away some of the shirts that our show inspired. Breaking Tea Armando Bacott. We have a couple signed Armando T-shirts to give away during March. We will share some details on how we're giving away those at a later point. But signed Armando T-shirts that we'll be giving away later. There you go, Connor O'Neill.

Important. That's a quick turnaround for you. Wednesday night to Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Uptown. We'll figure it out. We'll figure it out.

It's going to be fun. Getting to Duke, how do you like their draw in Brooklyn? I mean, Vermont is a tough team. Vermont, third straight America East tournament championship.

Under John Becker, they've just been a model of consistency. Is that the same conference as American in Loyola, Maryland that they're in? I don't think so. Oh wait, that's the Patriot League.

My bad. Yeah, American East is like, UMBC is in that league. They won up at Vermont in, I think, 2018 was the year they beat Virginia.

NJIT is in the league, UMass Lowell, a bunch of the random teams that you'll see teams down here play in November and December. To me, for Duke, it's less about the draw. It's more about what Duke team is going to show up. Is it going to be the one that we've seen in spots this year?

The team that came out of the Wake Forest loss and beat Louisville, Virginia, and NC State by a combined 65? Or is it going to be the team that just doesn't do any of the marginal things that don't have anything to do with talent or X's and O's and just gets beat to 50-50 balls and hustle plays and can't make up for that? And that's what they've been the last two games. And I hate to sound like a fanboy and sound emotional about it, but it's like watching that team gets frustrating because you know it's not a talent issue.

No. You could make the argument that it's a depth issue without Caleb Foster. They definitely miss Caleb Foster and it'd be nice if TJ Power or Sean Stewart were a little further along developmentally than they are. But it's not a talent issue.

It's more of a hustle and effort. At this point, like I wrote yesterday, they're the embodiment of the quote that hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. Which leads to conversations already happening about next year circling where Duke's bringing in Cooper Flag, they're bringing in Isaiah Evans who won a state championship over the weekend in Winston-Salem. You have a top five recruit from the Senegal who's a seven-footer coming in and we'll see who comes back from this Duke team.

Do you think Duke needs to perform well in this tournament to quiet some of the critics? Because if you have a bad NCAA tournament performance, that coupled with the class that's coming in and the expectations that will be behind that, don't spell the most comfortable of resumes or recipes for Jon Shire. Yeah, I think the pressure that comes with next year is kind of in a vacuum all to itself because Cooper Flag's not just the number one overall recruit. He's the number one overall recruit since. Like he's got that sense behind him.

He's one of those guys that only comes around once every five, six, seven years. He's the best recruit since Zion Williamson. Yes, and not just the best recruit at Duke, the best recruit in college that's going to generate buzz where people are going to go out of their way to watch college basketball because of this player. Exactly, so that pressure is going to be there no matter if they lose to Vermont or if they're in Phoenix. Even if they're in Phoenix, people are going to talk about that. Yes, that team is going to be so hyped next year. Yeah.

Just because of Cooper Flag. But there isn't a scenario where things get nuclear uncomfortable for Shire if they go to Phoenix next year unless you're talking about Carolina last year level disaster with expectations connected to them. Yeah, yeah, I would agree with that. I just, I think that I really think this is going to be a clean break.

Like this is John Shire has referred to this group as the core group. They have as many as six and as few as one games left together. And then I think you'll see Kyle Philpowski go to the NBA. You'll see Tyrese Proctor probably go to the NBA. You'll see Jeremy Roach even though he has another year left.

He's probably, I mean every indication and every sound made it seem like he played his last game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He's coming back. You think so? I'm calling that right now.

Okay. Roach, Roach is back. I don't think so. I think there's room for Roach to come back. There isn't room in that front court. Sure, there is room because look you look at what the roster looks like next year and you have Caleb Foster at the point guard. You have Cooper Flag at the four and Kamen Malawak at the five. And you have maybe Sean Stewart in there at the five and bring Kamen off the bench.

You don't know how that shapes up over the next eight months. Where there's room is the wings. The two and three guard. The two man, I don't know if Jon wants to put another three in there like he had last year with Mark Mitchell or if he wants to go three guard like this year's team is.

I would expect Jared McCain to at least test the water. He has an NBA skill with the way he shoots the ball. His long arms he's going to test well and the way he plays I think he'll probably go.

Yeah. Only because the thing if it's close this year I think guys go just because of the quality of the draft. Next year's draft is supposed to be awesome. This is why I think RJ Davis is gone too.

I think if it's close you go you roll the dice this year. Right and then that's why I question why you just told me Jeremy Roach is going to come back. I don't think he's I don't think he's close to close enough to be considered a draft pick. I think it's probably better that he goes back to Duke especially considering what they have returning there's going to be more hype attached to that Duke team that will be beneficial to him in a way that it's not going to be with Carolina next year I don't think. See I don't think Jeremy Roach wants to go through another process of learning a new freshman class.

All the I just don't get the sense that that guy wants to go through another year of college basketball. Friendly wager. We'll figure out something.

Some are saying how do I get the Armando t-shirt? What part of I'll tell you later? You don't understand. People on the internet are impatient. I'm shocked.

We'll tell you it's gonna it's gonna happen but we got clearly a lot going on here. Connor O'Neill. Appreciate you being in here. My pleasure. Deacon Illustrated. Devil's Illustrated. Let's go baby.

What kind of like this? Not just the men's tournament bracket released last night. The women's tournament as well. We'll get to some takeaways on that shortly. The NIT is coming back to the Triad 2. Plenty to get to there as well. Let's start with the men's bracket.

You might have one in hand. Five ACC teams are on that bracket in the field of 68. So we will attach letter grades to each ACC team's draw right now in Graham's grades. A through F. We like starting with the good first.

So let's start with A. The North Carolina Tar Heels. They lose to NC State. Iowa State blows out Houston. Iowa State is ranked ahead of the Tar Heels in the final AP poll that was released today. Yet the Tar Heels still get that sixth number one seed. And on top of that they get to go to Charlotte as well where they wanted to be all alone. They might have drawn the easiest region when you look at it.

It's kind of crazy. Usually the number one overall seed gets the easiest path. If you're looking at KinPOM's rankings, Yukon is the most difficult path.

WD. It is nuts when you look at how many top 25 KinPOM teams are in Yukon's region. This is even crazier. There are 32-33 automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament each year. Take a guess how many are in Yukon's region.

Maybe three, four? Eleven. Eleven of the conference champions taking automatic qualifiers are in Yukon's region. So North Carolina doesn't have that to deal with.

Yes, they do have Arizona and Caleb Lubb. But if that were to happen, there's a long way between round one of the tournament and the Elite Eight. I think it's an A draw for the Tar Heels. B. Clemson. After losing its first game in DC to Boston College on Wednesday night. They're fortunate to get a number six seed. I think we learned how little the committee values conference tournaments last week. Or I guess yesterday, Providence, they beat a really strong Creighton team.

That you think would put them over the top, put them into the tournament. They're not in the tournament. Clemson loses that game to BC and they're still getting a number six seed when some are saying they're going to get an eight or a nine because of this. They're there on the six line, but it's not an A considering they drew an under seeded 11 seed in New Mexico, who is also a top 25 team in the Kim Pom rankings.

If you value that. Clemson, an underdog in most books to that Mountain West school. C. The NC State Wolfpack.

I think you got to put them as a C because they're just happy to be here. They didn't expect to get in. They won the ACC tournament. Wherever we go is gravy and they're going to Pittsburgh.

The only negative, few negatives. They have to play Thursday rather than Friday after playing five games in five days. And you got Kentucky, Oakland that you're paired with. The winner of that game will face the winner of NC State and Texas Tech. So those are the negatives, but you go to an ACC city that you might already know pretty well in Pittsburgh, NC State, a C. D. Virginia. They're in, so you should be happy about that. However, they're the team that goes to Dayton.

Saw some people complaining. Why isn't NC State in Dayton? Well, if you're an automatic qualifier from a high major conference, you can't go to Dayton. That's against the rules that they have. Automatic qualifiers from high major conferences do not go to Dayton.

So that's why that happened. Virginia, they're happy to be in, but they do have to go to Dayton to play tomorrow night. Not the Wednesday game, the Tuesday game. They also got a Mountain West team that they're an underdog against in Colorado State. And to make matters even more difficult, the winner of that game faces the better of the seven seeds. That 10 seeds are paired up with from Dayton, the Texas Longhorns. And on top of that, where would that game be played?

W.D.? Virginia, Texas. Where's that region? It's the same region as the team you root for. Charlotte. Yeah. What happened in Charlotte with Virginia once upon a time?

We're going back to the scene of the crime. The 16-1 upset happened in Charlotte. And if you win, sure, you can conjure memories of that again, if you like. F. The Duke Blue Devils, or as Dave O'Brien would call them, the Duke Blue Devils.

Yeah, I started to pick up on that more over the week. They fall off the three line instead of giving a four. They've also got to go to Brooklyn, which you would think is a huge win for Duke, not when UConn's also there. Now, you don't have to face UConn.

You're not in their region. But in terms of the fan takeover, given what time tips are for these games, I think that it's not going to be the overwhelming home court advantage that the Blue Devils are used to having. I think you're going to have a lot of UConn fans rooting against Duke in that building. But you look at the fact you're given a four instead of a three, that means you get to play. You could play a one seed as early as the Sweet 16. And given the bracket that they're in, that would be a clash with Houston in the round of 16. Those are Graham's grades for the five ACC teams that got bids this year.

Third straight year that the ACC receives five bids apiece. This is a quick reminder that Biscuits are good, just a reminder. And specifically the Biscuits at Biscuit King. Biscuit.

W.D. does it every single time that we bring up Biscuit King. He loves Biscuits. And some of the best Biscuits there are.

Lexington and High Point paid them a visit. The good news is that their Biscuits are great. The bad news is they're not open right now. They're open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Right when we get off, get on the air is when they're open. So enjoy the Biscuits in the morning at Biscuit King.

And they have fluffy pancakes. Here's Jordan Snell. He's going to dribble out the clock.

There's a horn in the back. He's done it. NC State is the 2024 ACC best basketball champion. That is the voice of NC State play-by-play man Gary Hahn, who announced in the fall he will retire at the end of the basketball season. Well, the pack postponed Gary's retirement a week.

Saturday night, taking down North Carolina, as you heard there, in the ACC Tournament Championship. And Gary is kind enough to join us now. Gary, you're a pro. You're not the type to make it about you. However, it's a long list of people I heard expressing their happiness for you to be there for that type of moment.

So I can't imagine the volume of what you receive. Has the feedback surprised you at all? Yeah, Josh, it has. I mean, I knew that people could tolerate me because you can't stay somewhere 34 years if they can't. But I never knew how people felt about me until about a year and a half ago. And then all of this that's happened here last week at the ACC Tournament, I had so many people come up to me and say so many nice things. It's just been really great. It's an unforgettable ending to a career.

I think I did pretty good. And I'm glad that I can still go out with my skills. I didn't want to hang on to where you're making a lot of mistakes and you're losing your skills.

I just can't do that. And so I'd rather go out using baseball terminology like Sandy Koufax than somebody like Robin Roberts who hung on a little bit too long. So that's kind of where I am. The voice of the pack has been in his position since 1990, as you mentioned. That was the year after Jim Dalvano left NC State if memory serves. Your first ACC football or basketball championship you had a chance to call. Over the decades, see, I grew up outside of Raleigh. So I've heard every story there is to be heard about 83 and all the stuff that surrounded it. Even last night went back and re-watched that 30 for 30 just for nostalgic sake. When you were going through this week and especially now reflecting on Saturday, you've probably heard every story as well being in the position that you are.

Did it feel that type of special to you? Like, how is this going to age, you think, this run? Well, you know, I do play by play. And when you do that, you just have to flush the game that you just did and you have to work on the next game. So that's all I was doing. I was just working on the next game and I was hoping that they would win it. Work on the next game, hope they would win it.

Flush the one we just did, work on the next game. And that's kind of the way I looked at it. I wasn't looking at it from a tradition standpoint. I wasn't looking at it from, wow, this is, you know, NC State hasn't won an ACC championship since 1987. And the pack could be the first team ever to win five games in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, could be the first 10 seed. Never really started to get into that until we got to the championship game. And then of course, you know, it was definitely possible because NC State was just a different team that Carolina had faced during the regular season. A team that tightened up its mistakes on defense.

Some guys starting to step up, play great, like Michael O'Connell and Mohamed Diarra. DJ Horn was a miracle. I wasn't sure he'd even play any in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. And I'm not sure the training staff at NC State really thought he would either.

But that was a big story that went under the radar screen as well. So everything just kind of came together. And when O'Connell hit that shot against Virginia to send the game into overtime, I started thinking about the team of destiny.

That's a little bit dangerous to do, but you got to have something like that happen to put you in a position to have a chance to survive in advance. And that started to creep into my head because once NC State got past that game, I thought, well, there's a chance now. I actually started thinking that they might have a chance after they beat Syracuse because Syracuse had been such a nemesis and had been able to do just about whatever they wanted to offensively against the pack. And when NC State won that game, I'm starting to think, well, you know, I'm locked in here.

We'll see what happens. But they went all the way to the end with great poise and great mental and physical toughness, great togetherness. They just, it was remarkable.

It was a miracle run. Nobody but nobody thought NC State could pull that off. And they come up to me and say now that, oh yeah, I knew we were going to win it.

Well, they're just fibbing it. Gary Hahn is with us here, the voice of the pack. I might've told you this Saturday night before you called the game, that it was a weird vibe in the building. And it's the beauty of sports where everybody's picking one side of the ledger. And yet you kind of know that there's still a basketball game to be played.

The vibe I felt Saturday, the feeling I felt, I only felt one other time was when I walked into Cameron for Coach K's last game against North Carolina, where everybody made North Carolina the sacrificial lamb. And then when it looked like State was going to win Saturday, this question popped into my head and I'm interested in how you would answer it. How far would you have to go before risking overstatement and talking about the significance of this win for the pack? Like, how far would you go, greatest win since 83, 87? How far do you go in trying to capture how significant this is going to be? Well, all you have to do is look at the 37 years in between championships.

I think that's all you have to do. Yeah. I mean, it's pretty obvious. NC State not only been in one other time as NC State that I can remember, has been in a position to win the ACC title since I've been here. That was 2007 when Sidney Lowe was the head coach and NC State battled its way. It was a 10th seed at that time, but of course the league wasn't as big. So you didn't have to play as many games, but he got them to the championship game and then Carolina was just, they were just better and ended up winning.

So I think it's big from the standpoint that NC State now could say that it's won an ACC championship and it doesn't have to answer those questions anymore. Like, how come you can't win one? How could, you know, they've done it. Take the audience behind the scenes of the run. Where was it that the team practiced all week?

How superstitious might coaches in general, but particularly in this case, Kevin Keats might be? Well, the team practiced at Episcopal High School in Arlington, Virginia, which is an elite high school. I mean, I think it costs like $70,000 a year for a child to go there. Kids come from all over the country. It's like a college.

They live on campus. The facilities are outstanding. I mean, the practice gym was like one of the best small college gyms I've ever seen. That was just the practice gym. That wasn't their game gym. And it was an incredible place to practice.

Joel Justice, one of the assistant coaches for NC State, his friend is the head coach there, basketball coach. So that was the connection to get in there. And NC State would go over just about the same time every day, work out. And afterwards, Coach Keats and I would go down a hallway and sit near a window and do our two pregame segments.

And everything was routine. When the pack ate dinner, breakfast, whatever it was, got on the bus, went to Episcopal High School, because that's the way Coach Keats operates. He's a little bit on the superstitious side. In fact, during the regular season, if the pack loses, let's say, if Miami were staying in a great hotel next season, you won't be staying there, because that's just the way he is. So for perspective, for those who might not understand, you went to Episcopal High School due to necessity, given how many teams there were at the start of the tournament, but you just continued going back there, even though you could have had shoot around earlier in the day at the arena for superstitious purposes. Well, yeah, because Coach Keats, one of his sayings is, if it's not broke, don't fix it. And so it wasn't broken, and everything was going the pack's way.

So why mess up the routine? So I think there's something in that. No doubt. Did you get any ice cream on Saturday night? I passed it up. That was the first time in a long time I passed up the ice cream. I just wanted a sandwich. That was basically all I wanted, but there was plenty of ice cream. And I usually partake. I like that.

And I like the sherbet more than anything else. Gary Hahn, you're the best. Thanks for doing this, and best of luck. At Pittsburgh, I speak on behalf of so many people in our industry that we're so happy to hear your voice calling a moment like that. And we appreciate you spending the time in the aftermath. Well, thank you. We'll have at least one more go at it, and we'll see if there's more down the road.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-18 20:55:10 / 2024-03-18 21:16:50 / 22

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