The ACC likes to tout itself as the best basketball conference year after year, much to the annoyance of fans everywhere else. While the merits of that stance is arguable (ahem, 2007), one thing that is not is that on balance the ACC is the most passionate conference about its hoops. The history and culture of a league that has identified predominantly with roundball for over fifty years has created rabid fanbases from College Park to Atlanta that make home court advantage really mean something.
With expansion of the ACC from its base in the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic to now entail western Virginia, parts of Florida (Tallahassee & Miami), and Boston College, the culture of ACC basketball has proliferated in these remote outposts – with one exception. Florida St. has fostered a tough home environment (for a formerly dominant football school) at the Leon County Civic Center since joining the league in 1991. Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum has already become a bottomless pit for ACC teams in only its first few years in the conference. BC’s fans were already rabid, and that hasn’t changed. Which brings us to our exception - the curious case of the University of Miami.
Miami Fans Burying a Terp?
Since joining the ACC in 2004-05 in a purely football-related decision, Miami has gone 18-30 in ACC basketball, worst in the league. This relative on-court ugliness is reflected in the stands too, as Miami in 2007 finished outside the top 100 schools in home game attendance, dead last among ACC schools (next lowest: BC #81). Look, we get that there are other things to do in the dead of winter in Miami other than heading downtown to see the Canes take on Georgia Tech on a 75-degree Saturday afternoon, but still, even we were amazed by what the school’s administration has cooked up in an effort to increase student attendance this year.
Determined to boost men’s basketball attendance, UM is about to unveil some of the most creative ideas we have ever seen from a local team. Besides dropping most season-ticket prices by about 50 percent, UM will add a hot tub, a sandbox and lifeguard tower in the student seating section — students will be encouraged to attend in beach attire — and elsewhere in the arena, in-game shoe-shines, massages, haircuts and a computer work-station will be offered.
Yes, creative is putting it lightly. What the Miami Herald really meant to say is certifiably insane. We’re so completely disturbed by this idea that we’re not even sure how to process it. Nothing says ACC hoops like a bunch of SoBe kids in swimwear building sand castles at the arena. We’re sure the Cameron Crazies are already planning on shipping in their own sand from the Outer Banks – that’ll show Tyler Hansbrough and Sean Singletary what’s up. Please, Miami hoops, for all of us who remember ACC basketball, just go away.
ACC expansion - killing the league one marketing campaign at a time. Since 1991.