Fourteen Is Such An Awkward Number

Posted by KCarpenter on October 13th, 2011

Whether you are against ACC expansion or a fervent proponent of a wildly dominant Atlantic Coast Mega-Conference, there is one thing that we can agree on: Fourteen is a really awkward number.  Mike Krzyzewski, supposedly one of the driving forces behind expansion, spent a good deal of Duke’s media day explaining the problem with fourteen team conferences. Citing a distaste for pods, he discussed a two-division based strategy for scheduling that, while reasonable, would yield a nineteen-game conference schedule and an uneven number of home and away games. While Krzyzewski kind of brushes it off, this is the kind of schedule imbalance that can end up deciding which team wins the ACC regular season title. In Krzyzewski’s mind, however, the problem with his plan just bolsters the case for a sixteen-team league.

Coach K Isn't Shy to Voice His Opinion

Of course, the problems don’t stop with the regular season conference schedule: Fourteen teams would significantly complicate the ACC Tournament. Craig Littlepage, the athletic director at Virginia, has broken down a number of possibilities for the conference tournament, none that really seem particularly appealing. His concerns seem legitimate in that it’s hard to make a fair bracket with fourteen teams. Unless the conference were to resort to some form of multi-round byes, we’re looking at an extra day of competition or morning games. Considering the fact that Thursday is a pretty sparsely attended part of the conference tournament, adding  Wednesday games might be stretching things out far too much. When the Big East had fourteen teams, the conference solved the problem by simply excluding the last two teams. This approach seems like it would be despised in the ACC, but it’s hard to see many other effective approaches. Obviously, there could be an elegant solution to the fourteen-team problem, but at the moment, no one can seem to put their finger on it.

The expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference seemed to reach a point of stability in the last few weeks, despite the uproar over Boston College’s role in denying Connecticut’s admittance. It seems, however, that true stability on the basketball side might be impossible with fourteen teams. Fourteen is an awkward, challenging number. With all of the accompanying challenges, complications, and troubles, it’s easy to see that sixteen is a more appealing configuration. Things may not be as stable and set as they seem.

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Well, That’s One Way to Avoid a Home Loss (bcc: Tom Crean)

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2009

RTC typically doesn’t have a lot of SWAC coverage, other than our biweekly correspondent updates on the conference managed faithfully and superbly by HBCUSportsBlog’s inimitable JC.  But thanks to a loyal tipster (h/t Bluejay Basketball), we were alerted to a peculiar situation out of that bottom-dwelling league from a game earlier this week.   Er, almost a game.  From the Monroe (La) News-Star:

The Talladega College (NAIA) men’s basketball team arrived at Grambling’s Assembly Center on Tuesday expecting a game. There was no game to be played.  Talladega coach Matt Cross said the team was initially told that the scheduled 7 p.m. game had been delayed because referees were late in arriving, and 20 minutes later, Grambling officials told him the game was canceled because the Southwestern Athletic Conference had forgotten to schedule the referees.  “I said, ‘Can we reschedule? We’ll just stay another night,’” Cross said. “They said, ‘No, we’ll just cancel.’”

We’ve heard some harebrained excuses over the years (“sorry about that, but can you believe that I contracted malaria this weekend?”; “my ex called me out of the blue from Korea and said he wanted to get back together”; “I’m really just not into to guys anymore”), but this one certainly strains the seams of credulity.  The SWAC forgot to schedule the refs?  And no refs could be found within a day’s drive?  Hmmm….

More Like Grumbling State

More Like Grumbling State

Cross, to his credit, smells a dancing Tiger rat in Denmark.

Cross said he suspects there is more to the situation than a scheduling mix-up. He said Grambling just didn’t want to play the game. The Tigers (5-13 overall, 3-4 SWAC) were blown out at home 83-58 by conference rival Jackson State on Saturday, and Talladega already has four wins over SWAC teams this season: Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Southern, and Mississippi Valley State.  “They didn’t want to play the game,” said Cross, a Shreveport native. “They wanted to save the embarrassment.”

So Talladega boarded onto its bus and took the 7-hour trek east back home.  The school will still receive its $2500 guarantee for the game, but can you imagine if, say, Duke showed up at the Dean Dome next month and UNC said, “y’know, we couldn’t find any refs, so you’re just going to have to get on back to Derm.  It’s the ACC’s fault.  See ya!”  Absurd.

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