With the ACC sending a record 6 teams to the Sweet 16, it’s been a great week of basketball for the conference. The ACC offices in Greensboro must be sharing high fives across the office, and I”m pretty sure John Swofford made a fist pump after each ACC win. North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Syracuse, and Notre Dame all made it into the second weekend If you want to make the claim the ACC is the best basketball conference in the land, who can argue? The ACC is an astonishing 29-6 the last two years in the NCAA tournament.
Conference pride is tricky thing though. There’s a right way and wrong way to do it. Let me lay out the rules for you if you are a fan of an ACC School.
1) You don’t have to root at all for the rest of the ACC teams if you don’t want to. There’s no rule that says you have to. When it comes down it, you only have to cheer for your school.
2) You can root for other teams in your conference. Each time an ACC team participates in an NCAA tournament game up to the Final 4, that’s literally money in the pocket of the ACC school you root for. Each of these games is called a unit and they are worth about $250,000 and it goes up each year. In 2013 the American Athletic conference distributed more than $28 Million, made up mostly of the Big East’s NCAA success during that time. It’s a 6 year rolling number based on these units, so over 6 years a win is over $1.5 million. To make it simple – winning = $$$$.
3) You cannot at anytime say “We won” if an ACC team other than the one you root for wins a game. Saying I’m glad an ACC team won is fine. You can’t claim championships or wins as your own.
4) You most definitely cannot make direct reference to a winning team. When I heard some South Carolina fans say Roll Tide after Alabama won the national title, it was nauseating and frankly dumb. At most you can say at least a conference team won, but refer to rule #3 – never “we”.
5) You can discuss and say the ACC is the best basketball conference in the country. The NCAA results give you plenty of ammunition, but be careful you could get some push back from other conference fans who point out negative things about your school or the ACC. Keep the conference chest pumping to a tolerable level and stick to the facts. Saying something like Michigan State wouldn’t finish 6th in the ACC sounds ridiculous.
For me personally, I do root for other ACC teams to do well out of conference. There are just too many benefits that come from a healthy conference – TV exposure, revenue, recruiting etc. Let’s hope the ACC continues having an excellent tournament.