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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Friday, March 14, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

C-USA, ACC flap an interesting dilemma

Replay Monday's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW, which aired on WCZI 98.3 FM and Greenville Cable 7...  Listen...


There is a certain faction in the Pirate community that apparently feels like Conference USA basketball and ACC basketball canít co-exist in Eastern North Carolina.

There is a belief that if youíre a fan of one, you canít be a fan of the other.

I received one e-mail this past week saying that we should cover the Conference USA tournament over the ACC tournament, even though the Pirates didnít make the C-USA field.

Honestly, not just in Greenville, but in our entire viewing area which consists of most of Eastern North Carolina, do you believe that there is more interest in a South Florida-DePaul game than in an N.C. State-Georgia Tech or North Carolina-Maryland match up.

As I wrote on Monday, Iíve been a big ACC fan since I was a kid. And thatís the deal; many of us were born and raised in ACC country.

Does that mean we donít enjoy Conference USA basketball? Does that mean we think the ACC is a better league? No, itís just the way we were raised. Perhaps it will be our job as a generation, as East Carolina becomes more competitive, to woo over our youngsters to C-USA.

C-USA should get more teams into this yearís NCAA tournament then the ACC. I believe that Marquette, Memphis, Louisville and Cincinnati, despite its opening round loss to Southern Miss, are all in.

The league could get five teams in if one of the lower seeds pulls some upsets.

The ACC has three locks. Wake Forest, Maryland and Duke are all in. I think N.C. State has to win at least one game, and probably two in the ACC Tournament to get in.

But back to what I call this new anti-ACC Pirate mindset.

In gazing over the message boards over the last couple of days I read where one guy was complaining because he overheard two gentlemen in the bathroom during an ECU game talking about two ACC start times.

I donít know about you, but I often plan my sports viewing around an ECU game. The fact that the men were at an ECU game should be viewed as a positive, shouldnít it.

Much of this has to do with history. Conference USA is in its eighth tournament. The ACC is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

I do believe that C-USA is building momentum on a national scale. Still, a Louisville-Marquette game wonít come close to a Duke-North Carolina game in the ratings war. It may in the future, but at this time itís not even close.

Billy Packer was dead wrong with his assessment last week that C-USA was a mid-major conference. The league is a major player among the big boys.

Iíve enjoyed getting a chance to see the likes of Louisville, Marquette and Cincinnati up close.

I think that we have the best of both worlds. East Carolina is a part of an outstanding basketball league that is known as a national power. Our ACC neighbors also provide us with outstanding hoops. Who could really ask for more?

Conference USA shouldnít take a back seat to anyone. The league just doesnít have the regional interest that the ACC does for Eastern North Carolina.

At least not yet.

Crystal ball perking along

Iíll be the first to admit that my ďpoolĒ selections and ďupset specialsĒ usually arenít worth the paper that they are printed on.

However, I did pick both South Florida and UAB to win in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament.

Somehow, I didnít see that Southern Miss. upset of Cincinnati in my crystal ball. Thatís the beauty of a tournament, though. Anything can happen and it usually does.

That is why it is so vital for East Carolina to make the field. You have to get in the thing first, and then go after a Goliath or two.

Of course, I was so brave earlier this week that I took the top seeds the rest of the way. Hereís hoping Iím wrong on that end, because upsets and underdogs are what March Madness is really all about.

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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:26:22 AM

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