ACC Basketball Fans Fill Finebaum Airtime


ACC basketball’s NCAA Tournament success, sending six teams to the Sweet 16, has fans of the conference swelling with pride. ACC basketball boasts success similar to SEC football, but the former’s collective fan base doesn’t have the same reputation.

Perhaps all ACC basketball die-hards need is the forum. College football is in a dead period, nearly two months removed from national signing day and weeks out from the spring games. What better platform for the fans of basketball’s most successful conference to get some airtime than on the top football conference’s show of record?

FINEBAUM: …And that’s why I’ll never dare Steve Spurrier to eat a jar of pickled eggs ever again. OK, let’s go to the phones. First up we have Preston in Durham. Go ahead Preston.

PRESTON IN DURHAM: Salutations, Paul. That’s quite an ironic moniker for you, Mr. Finebaum — were you aware the origin of the name “Paul” comes from the Latin word “Paulus,” which translates to “humble.” Ah, but when it comes to SEC football, humble’s quite the oxymoron to describe your behavior.

FINEBAUM: What’s your point, Preston? This isn’t a linguistics program.

PRESTON IN DURHAM: Well, Mr. Humble, I have telephoned to serve you some Paul Pie. ACC basketball once again reigns in March with a ferocity not seen since the Mongol Empire extended its reach into the Arabian Peninsula in the late 13th Century — and indeed, my Duke Blue Devils occupy the monarch’s throne like modern-day Ghengis Khans!

You see, Paul, Duke and basketball pair together as nicely as a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon with a well-aged brie. Likewise, Duke is the rising tide that elevates all ships of ACC basketball.

FINEBAUM: Well that was an interesting call. Let’s move on to Preston in Chapel Hill. Go ahead.

PRESTON IN CHAPEL HILL: Good day to you, Paul. Let me say that while I concur with the last gentleman’s thesis on the superiority of ACC basketball, I vehemently oppose his assertion Duke bears responsibility for the conference’s prowess. Furthermore, Cabernet Sauvignon with brie?! Ha! Any wine-and-cheese man knows Pinot Noir pairs with brie — and we at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are the quintessential wine-and-cheese crowd.

FINEBAUM: While I appreciate your culinary takes, this is SEC Network, not Food Channel.

PRESTON IN CHAPEL HILL: Oh, there’s that sardonic Finebaum persona for which you are so ballyhooed throughout the South! Your blend of deadpan delivery and biting wit rival the great Bob Newhart.

The purpose of my call is as much irrefutable fact as 18th Century North Carolina Richard Caswell’s role in the Battle of Alamance: The North Carolina Tar Heels are the preeminent basketball program of the ACC!

FINEBAUM: Don’t we have some callers who want to talk spring football? Oh, good, our next caller wants to talk Notre Dame football. Not exactly the friendliest listening audience to that topic, but anything to get us away from ACC basketball.

Let’s go to Dalton in South Bend.

DALTON IN SOUTH BEND: Pleasantries to you and yours, Paul. I wanted to discuss the Malik Zaire-DeShone Kizer quarterback competition, but while I was on hold I consulted Google. Did you know Notre Dame has a basketball team? And it won both its NCAA Tournament games? AND it plays in the ACC?

As eager as I am to talk about Brian Kelly’s depth chart, why not some appreciation for the Basketball Four Horseman?

FINEBAUM: Basketball teams put five players on the floor at a time.

DALTON IN SOUTH BEND: Of course, five! Just like the Fighting Five of the Irish Offensive Line. Regardless, as surprised as I was to learn Notre Dame’s basketball team isn’t independent, those last two callers have me convinced: The Roundball Parseghians are perfect for ACC basketball.

Notre Dame football stands in a class by itself, thus independence is the only logical place for the Irish. But if basketball is going to be aligned with others, be aligned with the best! I’m excited to cheer against…Google tells me we play Wisconsin next. Exciting! A classic Citrus Bowl matchup if there ever was one.

FINEBAUM: Just hope Notre Dame doesn’t get to the championship game, recent results suggest that won’t go well.

Maybe the next caller will save this segment. Preston in Charlottesville, you’re on the air.

PRESTON IN CHARLOTTESVILLE: North Carolina and Duke as the class of ACC basketball, how very droll!

Let me clue those two ruffians from the state south of mine into reality. Empirical evidence dictates that “defense wins championships,” and no team plays defense with the vigor and tenacity of Coach Bennett’s Wahoos!

The Virginia cagers are poised to bring glory the magnitude of Monticello back to Charlottesville.

FINEBAUM: Did I-Man forget to pay his phone bill? Next up we have Kevin in Syracuse. Thank heavens, no more Prestons on hold.

Kevin, go ahead.

KEVIN IN SYRACUSE: Yes, Paul. As a Syracuse journalism student, I was taught to dig below the surface. Duke and North Carolina have the more recent national championships, sure, but you don’t need to file a FOIA request to glean the similarities between the 2016 and 2003 Orange — and studying journalism at Syracuse, I know about filing FOIA requests.

As a Syracuse journalism student, I recognize this current roster lacks a Carmelo Anthony. However, the 2003 Orange were the first No. 3 seed to win the Final Four. As a Syracuse journalism student, my research tells me a No. 10 seed has never won it, either. Coach Boeheim’s 2-3 zone will make history again!

As a Syracuse journalism student, I can see public sentiment toward Syracuse’s lackluster finish in the ACC might warrant skepticism. But like my transition from high school studies to the rigorous academic standards of the Syracuse journalism program, the Orange needed an adjustment period in their move from Big East to ACC basketball.

Now that they have, the Orange will flourish in much the same manner I have flourished in my Syracuse journalism courses.

FINEBAUM: Mercifully, this segment has time for just one more call. Let’s go to Mark in Coral Cables.

MARK IN CORAL GABLES: *blares reggae horn*