Notes from the ACC Tournament

I found a $4 ticket to the 12pm Wednesday game of the ACC Tournament at Barclays Center, so I went. Shout out to everyone’s favorite podcast sponsor, Seat Geek.

First off, it is beautiful out. Like there are some really ambitious types with shorts on, which is stupid and a good way to get sick and something I wouldn’t do because I’m not 12, but it is beautiful out. So naturally I’m gonna go ahead and spend the next two hours in a dark arena.

Needed some bites. First menu I saw had chicken tenders + fries. I had one of those divine menu moments where your eyes go over the option and your stomach and your heart immediately sign off. I’m exceptionally bad at making food choices, but this had to be the easiest decision ever. Feel like it’s a sign that I should be playing the lottery today. Or maybe like that I should learn how to make freaking basic decisions more quickly in general. Either one.

Walked for forever to find my seat. Was kinda thinking I could just slide in to a lower level, but there were ushers at every door and I sure did have a red coat and a big old backpack on, which makes being sneaky pretty tricky. So I hiked to section 210, somehow doing a lap around the entire arena.

I’m in a section of Syracuse fans. I fkn hate Syracuse.

Feel like I’ve been here for 20 minutes of timeouts and 2 minutes of basketball. They interviewed a dude who played for Syracuse in 1996. And the guy interviewing him was like “What was it like playing in the — well back then it was the Big East Tournament.” And now I’m like how the hell is Syracuse in the Atlantic Coast Conference?? Ain’t nothing coastal about upstate New York. When I first got here I was like why is the ACC tournament in Brooklyn? You think ACC you think Carolina — Duke, UNC, NC State, etc. and then like Georgia St, Florida State. Then they did some trivia thing where they mentioned Pitt in a question. Like holy shit — totally forgot Pitt was in the ACC. And obviously I’m watching Cuse, plus Boston College. And I mean Louisville is in this conference, so really what is geography? Like why not Brooklyn, I guess. But this place is mostly empty and I feel like if we were in Charlotte or Durham or something the place would be full. But who knows.

So much orange on the court. Miami vs Syracuse. Miami is wearing green uniforms, but with orange trim. And Syracuse is wearing white with orange trim. But like in my head they’re both wearing full orange, which probably makes no sense.

Man there are a lot of Syracuse fans here. And they are so angry.

Ouch. A “pop your pimples” chant attempt from an Orange fan. Pretty tough. Not a lot of traction. Not really any giggles.

It’s actually amazing anyone would try to chant anything from back here. We are SO far away from the court.

But fandom knows no bounds.

This is a pretty cool arena, I think. I’m not really an arena expert. But I like the black seats and the dark lighting around the crowd. Let’s people sit in anonymity and scream into the void.

Halftime. Miami up 8. Pretttttty boring basketball. But it is noon on a Wednesday in Brooklyn with a half empty arena. Can’t say I’m shocked.

Those chicken tenders and fries were really top notch. Chicken was nice and crispy. At least at some point I assume it was crispy. By the time it got to me it was less like fresh crispy and more kinda crunchy and tired. Fries were a solid just cooler than room temp, not a crisp in sight. Really just blander than bland. And I devoured that shit so quickly.

Halftime entertainment is some break dancers. They are pretty fire. Doing some pretttty sick tumbling passes. And then a dude spun on his head for like a full minute. Oh man. Dizzy watching.

The hype woman at the Barclays has turned on the dance cam. So we get to go from incredible professional break dancers to middle aged ACC graduates two light beers deep playing hookie from their finance jobs. And I think the crowd reacts more vocally to the dance cam. God bless. Then a pep band dance cam. Honestly, this is a cute idea and I can see a universe where it works, but neither of these bands is bringing the dance heat.

Wow. Hardo Syracuse cheerleader with the huge S flag runs to mid court to start the lay up lines. Right as Miami came out too. What a move. Would have been sick if a Miami player ran him over like that Cowboys player did T.O. when he spiked the ball on the Dallas star at the 50 yard line.

Observations on the band: Miami’s fight song kinda sounds like the Mickey Mouse club theme. Really just one tiny lick of it, but it sorta pervaded the whole thing for me. More importantly, they are actually really tight. This rendition of Gloria Estefan’s “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” is a real toe tapper! It’s no PC pep band, featuring full on instrument solos, but pretty solid arrangements.

Suracuse, on the other hand, is trotting out an incredibly basic version of “Stacy’s Mom” and the trumpet section is not keeping up with the high notes. Drummer is pushing tempo, the trombones are flat, and there is nothing interesting about the arrangement. Just lots of very straight 8th notes. But naturally, the guys behind me sung along with the chorus, so really what do I know.

2nd half started. Cuse comes out and hits a 3. I’ve never liked Miami but I’ve always hated Syracuse. Really don’t need them to win.

Best part of college basketball is the PG who DOES NOT SHOOT. All hustle, sprints up and down the entire game. Like seems like he has enough endurance to sprint a marathon, and dribbles just as quickly. Like BAM BAM BAM. But does NOT like to shoot. Throws incredibly crisp and accurate chest passes, gets back on D, hounds the other team’s ballhandler, will finish a lay up on a fast break or a well-timed cut, but WILL DO ANYTHING HE CAN TO AVOID SHOOTING. It’s like there’s no way you can be that bad of a shooter. Anyway, dude for Syracuse seems to be that type of PG, but just drained a 3. Fans around me were delighted.

Took a peak at Twitter. World is still burning. Gonna return to basketball.

Damn. Cuse has gone on a run and now leads, and the “WOO” yells behind me are deafening. Like really loud.

Do you think the Mighty Mighty Bosstones wrote music with basketball pep bands explicitly in mind?

Zoned out and thought there had been a 10 minute Long timeout. Then realized there were like 3 minutes of basketball action wedged into the timeouts, and Miami took the lead.

Miami has this jump SHOOTER. Another one of my favorite types of college players. Can’t really do all that much else on the court, but if #4 on Miami gets to his spot and gets the ball and is somewhat open, the ball’s going up. Kinda like a singer who just lives for the high notes at the end of the song. You may or may not see any acting or understand any lyrics during the rest of the performance, but you KNOW those high notes are gonna be money.

Syracuse fans are not feeling the refs. Guy behind me even clarified, “I don’t like to complain about the refs but — [whistle heard from court] — ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!”

SHOOTER for Miami misses a 3. Foul called on Syracuse going for the rebound. Cue more “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING MEs?!” and a short-lived chant of “THESE REFS SUCK.” Short lived because it’s really hard to chant that many esses.

Foul on Miami gets a small Bronx cheer. Or maybe it’s bronze cheer? I’m not sure the expression, really, but it’s basically a sarcastic cheer. A very specific “AYY!” that you really only ever hear at sporting events.

Game is kind of just winding on. Miami is up, but can’t pull away, Syracuse can’t really get any momentum going. So kudos to fan who just yelled “COME ON DEFENSE IT’S ONLY FIVE FUCKING POINTS!” Truth.

Cuse within three. Crowd getting into it. Then Miami pulls out a mean alley oop and the energy went away.

Miami pep band continuing to impress. Great sound balance, mics used properly. And I’ve never heard the song they’re playing, which is a nice change, really.

Dude from Syracuse tried throwing in a MONSTER jam. Missed, and the ball ended up at half court lol. Miami dunked it. Fans very upset. Lots of yells of FUCK.

Another timeout. Miami band playing probably their most generic sounding arrangement of the day to that song that goes “like the ceiling can’t hold us” or something like that. Still, very solid. Big ups to those piccolos! Intonation on point!

Syracuse fans see the writing on the wall. I haven’t been following the ACC at all but I think a loss might bounce them from NCAA tourney consideration? Either that or these fans are just super hardo.

Uh oh! 3 pointer by that Cuse point guard who DOES NOT SHOOT and it’s a 2 point game.

Syracuse band playing a common hip hop refrain I can’t put my finger on. Just repeating it. Snore.

Huge bucket from Miami should put this on ice.

OH SHIT Miami pep band just kinda ruined their day in my book. You had to trot out “The Hey Song” with 12.1 seconds on the clock? I mean be more basic. Granted, their band-ography is pretty tight I will give them that.

The timeout brigade at the end of the game really brings on a greater level of frustration when half the crowd has been on a “lunch break” for two and a half hours.

Cuse loses. And fan behind me yells “We’re still in the tournament!” So whatever. I guess they’re still in the tournament.