Getting Defensive

By - October 22, 2006

Last season, the ACC sent four teams to the NCAA tournament -- as many as the Missouri Valley Conference. Today, Maryland coach Gary Williams was one of several coaches who got defensive when the subject was brought up.

Williams mentioned the importance of an open campaign on behalf of the ACC, even entreating the league's television announcers to do their part.

"You’re the third-ranked conference in the country and you get four teams in. Why should anybody but the two conferences ranked ahead of us get more teams than us in the tournament?," Williams opined. "As a coach I’m saying right now -- and this is legitimate -- that we should get six or seven teams in the NCAA tournament.

"But I think it has to come from our league office, too. It’s one thing to send out facts and information, but the ear is really important. It’s important that the announcers in our regional games talk about the ACC like the Big Ten announcers do. It’s OK to be a homer when you’re talking about a league. If you’ve got two league teams playing or whatever, we shouldn’t worry about being politically correct about how we feel about the ACC."

Miami coach Frank Haith agrees. He called the selection of just four ACC teams to last year's field was "crazy" and believed Florida State was robbed of an at-large birth.

"I’m not so sure Maryland shouldn’t have made the NCAA tournament, either," Haith said. "People don’t realize how tough it is in this league. We had a 105 games played that were decided by five points or less. Year in and year out, this league recruits the most Top 100 players, the most Top 50 players and the most McDonald’s All-Americans. And to me, when you have those types of things happening year in and year out, there are no down years."

Posted by at 04:55 PM on October 22, 2006

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