Matt Patton is an RTC contributor.
Everyone has a first memory as a fan. Mine came in 1997, the day before my seventh birthday. I’m sure I went to college basketball games before this, but none of them stand out. I was in first grade, headed to the ACC Tournament championship game. The game was between N.C. State and North Carolina. The Wolfpack were the electric underdogs, if you can call a team that runs a modified Princeton offense electric. They were the eighth seed in a nine-team conference, having put away Georgia Tech, Maryland and top seeded Duke in the process.
My most vivid memories from the game were Ramses and Mr. Wuf (the mascots) getting into a fight ending with a one-horned sheep and a victorious wolf; N.C. State losing the game; and my younger brother switching his allegiances to the Tar Heels for the rest of the day much to the chagrin of my parents. A surprisingly thick head of hair topped Herb Sendek’s head, as he led a team of overachievers to the conference championship game in his first year of coaching. But the real history was held by the man coaching the Tar Heels. I’m embarrassed to say this, but until yesterday I never knew that was Dean Smith’s last ACC game. I had no idea.
This game, along with dozens of “full-length, classic Tournament and regular season men’s basketball games from all 12 ACC member institutions,” is now available online at the ACC Vault. You’ve likely seen the NCAA Vault (another must-visit site for any college hoops fan), and the ACC and Raycom Sports have followed suit. The site features games from 1983 through the present with some really cool features that make the viewing process more user-friendly. I’ll list some highlights for each school after the jump, but seriously, how cool is this?