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Joe Ovies

Winning is the best marketing for ACC

Posted February 11

Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski typically uses media availability before the North Carolina game, press conferences required by the NCAA during the tournament and an annual summer check-in to explore issues beyond the day-to-day state of his Blue Devils. Monday was the first of such instances this season. When Krzyzewski wasn't talking about their rivalry with the Tar Heels, he spent a chunk of his time discussing hand-checking rules and taking the ACC to task for not marketing the conference properly.

"Our league is not promoted very well,"  said Krzyzewski. "We should figure out how the Big Ten does it. They’re really good, don’t get me wrong. They’re still saying it’s great, and they’re not saying anything about us."

Krzyzewski wasn't clear on who should be doing the promotion. Is it up to the coaches, the conference itself or their media partners? Nor did he explain what, exactly, the Big Ten was doing that made their marketing of the conference superior. Is it because they have a successful network?

"We have the No. 1 team in the country (Syracuse). We have Virginia, who is having a hell of a year," Krzyzewski continued. "I don’t know, I think ours matches up with anybody. We just have 15. That’s a lot. Someone is going to lose."

It's not the first time Krzyzewski spent a press conference lamenting the state of college basketball's visibility. Last March, he compared basketball and football to sodas when reminding everyone what founded the ACC in the first place.  

"Diet Coke, they’re still trying to sell Coke. In other words, you have something that’s going good, try to keep it really going good and I don’t think we’ve had an emphasis in that," said Krzyzewski. "In the future, with the league that we will have, we need to really go after it and take a look at everything that we do because we will have the most powerful basketball conference."

The ACC does have the most powerful basketball conference in theory. Commissioner John Swofford boasted back in October that the ACC "may be strongest collection of basketball programs ever assembled." When all the accolades of the current members are stacked up, Swofford isn't wrong. The problem for the ACC is what they've done lately. 

Krzyzewski was absolutely right when he stated teams have to lose in a bloated conference, but it's not good when the majority of the ACC can't get out of its own way. 

The conference is coming off a four bid NCAA Tournament and hasn't been represented in the Final Four since Duke cut down the nets in 2010 (sorry, Syracuse and Louisville didn't count). The ACC is currently fifth in conference RPI. Outside the Blue Devils, up-tempo basketball is severely lacking. North Carolina and Pittsburgh are widely considered part of the ACC's NCAA Tournament contingent, yet the Tar Heels aren't in the polls due to head-scratching loses and Pittsburgh's best "win" this season is a loss at Syracuse.

Again, how is the ACC or ESPN supposed to market the whole conference when only a handful of teams are worth talking about at this point in the season? It's not like Swofford can reboot the Dixie Classic featuring the conference's best teams or have a best-of-seven series between Duke and Syracuse.

The ACC just hasn't been that good overall. When the conference fixes that nagging issue, everything will be in its right place.

13 Comments

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  • bmac813 Feb 13, 8:11 p.m.

    I guess last nights game between Pittsburgh and Syracuse didn't count to WRAL Sports Writers. I watched the 11:00 News and not a Word. All he talked about was the Duke ,Carolina game that was Canceled because of the Snow.
    Oh well I really don't Know why They came to the ACC when they were in the Best Basketball Conference.

  • StunGunn Feb 12, 7:15 p.m.

    Just because he said he didnt like it doesnt mean he really meant it.

    — Posted by Toddler10-21

    I don't think K likes the hand check rules at all. The refs have backed off, but I think K meant what he said (in this case).

  • Objective Scientist Feb 12, 3:58 p.m.

    Really??? Is this not one of those articles about something that is the proverbial "as obvious as the nose on your face"? Do these guys really get paid to write this stuff? What is the one and ONLY thing that matters in intercollegiate sport today? It is WINNING!!! Is that good? Not necessarily! Especially for sports that are part of an institution of higher education! Nevertheless, what is the most effective "marketing" technique for any sport? WINNING!!! The more a player, team, coach, school... or CONFERENCE wins - the more attention they receive. Coach K's pontifications is like that of all coaches... subject to the phenomenon of "mouth running - mind not engaged".

  • vt94hokies Feb 12, 12:45 p.m.

    We have some great teams, but we also have some that aren't all that impressive.

  • Toddler10-21 Feb 12, 12:29 p.m.

    Just because he said he didnt like it doesnt mean he really meant it.

  • StunGunn Feb 12, 10:45 a.m.

    OK, what did he say about the hand checking rules?

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    I believe he said he didn't like them (shocker), and said they didn't do anything to improve the game.

  • StunGunn Feb 12, 10:43 a.m.

    2010, the year that Duke won the NC, isn't exactly ancient history. I'm surprised that the ACC is as low as fifth in conference RPI. Syracuse, Duke, and UVA are strong teams with good records, and while Carolina hasn't had as good a year, they did beat Kentucky, Mich State and Louisville earlier in the season.

    I don't know how K thinks the ACC should market itself, but I do think the ACC is well respected for its basketball. ESPN programs the Duke/Carolina basketball games in prime time every year for a reason.

  • jmcdow2792 Feb 12, 7:04 a.m.

    OK, what did he say about the hand checking rules?

  • bobeugene4 Feb 11, 7:10 p.m.

    Joe Obvious

  • Hwy1Warrior Feb 11, 3:30 p.m.

    Not suggesting that the ACC is most dominant conference, but the Big 10 isn't the dominant conference to model after either? Didn't the last two conference challenges end in a push? How many titles have the Big 10 taken in recent years? How many of these Big10 schools have landed the Top headline HS recruits

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