ACC has its day in the NCAA with favorable tournament seeds


It's hard to picture the nine members of the NCAA tournament selection committee sitting in a Kansas City, Mo., hotel room chanting the initials of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Sunday when the 64-team draw was announced, but what else can you think?


After all, the committee not only gave the ACC six bids to the tournament, but also awarded the conference far better seeds than most of its rivals.

"I think it's obvious that the committee felt that the ACC had the premier season. When you look at the seedings, they got a 1 [North Carolina], a 2 [Duke], a 3 [Wake Forest], a 4 [Clemson], a 5 [Maryland] and a 9 [Virginia]. It would appear to me that the ACC has an excellent chance to get two teams to the Final Four," said CBS basketball analyst George Raveling.


Said Billy Packer: "They're the prominent conference in terms of seedings and numbers of teams that got into this year's NCAA tournament. It's not surprising at all."

Packer, who worked the first two quarterfinal games of the ACC tournament for Raycom-Jefferson Pilot, said the most surprising thing from last weekend was the poor performance of Duke, Wake Forest and Clemson, as well as Maryland's upset by North Carolina State.

"Teams that played really well going into March are coming out a little bit bruised. Maybe the conference had its best day going into March, much less coming out of March," Packer said.

While the ACC is sitting fat and happy, the Big East apparently was dissed in a major way, with, for instance, Syracuse, last year's runner-up, left at home.

"If anyone's going to be howling about that there should have been a fifth team out of the Big East, if you look at the way the committee looked at that conference, they were lucky to get four," CBS announcer Jim Nantz said.

"They gave them a 4 [Villanova], a five [Boston College] and two 10s with Georgetown and Providence, so, based on that, if you match them up against, say, the WAC, which got a 2 [Utah], 3 [New Mexico] and a 5 [Tulsa], then the Big East was lucky to have four and five was never a part of the question."

Legendary game

The obvious thing to do in watching the five-part documentary "Legends of Hockey," whose first two parts air tonight on ESPN at 8: 30, is to compare it with Ken Burns' epic paean to baseball a few years ago.


Both feature archival footage, photos and interviews with some of the greats of their sport, along with the unseen voice of an all-knowing narrator, waxing rhapsodically about the sport that is the pastime of their respective North America nations.

The difference is that "Legends" has none of the pretentiousness of "Baseball," perhaps because hockey, even with its on-ice brutality, is a game essentially played by down-to-earth Canadians, who carry little self-consciousness about themselves or their sport.

That earnestness shines through during "Legends" as the greats of the game discuss what makes hockey special. The show continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7: 30 each night.

A nasty hire

Former Cincinnati Reds reliever and "Nasty Boy" Rob Dibble has been hired by Fox Sports News as a studio analyst for its baseball coverage.

Dibble, a two-time All-Star with a quick wit and fiery temper to match, will appear with Baltimore native Kevin Frazier on pre-game reports, seen occasionally locally on Home Team Sports.


Pub Date: 3/11/97