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ACC Tournament's crucial factors: Food, folks and fun

As sportswriters, we would have you believe that we are knowledgeable about all things under the sun. Obviously that's not true. There are, however, three things which we know about. I take that back, there are three things we think we know about-sports, members of the opposite sex and food.

You've read The Chronicle long enough to know that the first one is iffy and if we knew so much about dating why do we know that SportsCenter starts at 11 p.m. and again at 2 a.m. on Saturday night. But, if there is one thing we are knowledgeable about, it is food. Many people should realize that every school serves a pregame press meal to all sportswriters. That would explain why the seating capacity on press row is only about 30 people when the student body can cram over 75 people into one row.

Last year, one of my column idols-Abe Wehmiller-wrote a column in this issue explaining how Duke had the talent and luck to win the ACC Tournament. He was obviously wrong and the problem was that he didn't stick with something every sportswriter knows about-food. The key to this year's bracket is not Wake Forest's Tim Duncan or Georgia Tech's backcourt, but the pregame meal.

No. 9 N.C. State vs. No. 8 Florida State

The Wolfpack serve up some good ol' Carolina barbecue and it has an entire refrigerator of soda in the press room guaranteeing that you will miss a majority of the second half making your game story look like Swiss cheese because of all of the holes in it.

Florida State, the defending national champions in football, could only muster up premade ham and cheese sandwiches before this year's football game in Orlando. Pitiful. N.C. State survives the play-in game easily, 82-60.

No. 9 N.C. State vs. No. 1 Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has a pretty good pregame meal, but the key here is that the Yellow Jackets bring in pizza during halftime. N.C. State counters with brownies and doughnuts for a middle-of-the-game snack. It's close, but Stamey's and Krispy Kreme outdoes Pizza Hut any day. N.C. State slides by 75-73.

No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 4 Duke

I've been to enough Duke events to sample a wide variety of Duke cuisine and for the most part it's excellent. We have a theory that they serve better food for the bigger events, but you can't eat Bullock's barbecue all the time-trust me, I've tried to. Maryland food is actually pretty good, but it wins the Religious Insensitivity Award. A Duke sportswriter went up there last week and was forced to near starvation because there was no kosher food there. Oh, and another thing. If you're going to serve food, don't put the cafeteria a mile-and-a-half from the stadium. If I want to stuff myself full of crap, I sure don't want to do a forced march afterwards. Duke rolls, 90-30.

No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 3 North Carolina

Clemson had a wide variety of dishes, including ham and fried chicken, along with many different vegetables. All four food groups were amply covered, so the Tigers should be commended. I've never been to North Carolina for a game, but by the looks of Dean Smith, the food must be pretty damn good. North Carolina in a squeaker, 62-61.

No. 7 Virginia vs. No. 2 Wake Forest

Wake Forest was decent, so I don't want to get into them. Virginia, however, wins dead last in this tournament for sure and is eliminated from both the NCAA and NIT Tournaments. The Cavaliers attempted to serve a bunch of beer-swilling, red-meat eating sportswriters Chicken Cordon-Bleu. Now I've never been in a French kitchen, so I don't know what was so cordon about this, and the only thing blue was the color of my face after eating this. As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure that it was chicken. This mystery meat came complete with Lunch Lady serving it to you. Furthermore, they give you a meal ticket and only allow you to pass through the line once. Talk about cheap. Anyway, two big thumbs down here. Wake Forest crushes UVa, 95-12.

No. 9 N.C. State vs. No. 4 Duke

This semifinal is difficult because it is barbecue versus barbecue. Overall, Duke would probably get the nod, but the deciding factor here comes down to the Duke-UVa game two weeks ago. I had the salisbury steak that Duke served us and I wasn't able to eat solid food for another five days. Now, I'm not a judge in the Betty Crocker Bake-Off, but if something makes you violently ill, I think that you have to knock it down a place or two. N.C. State continues its improbable run, 81-75.

No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Wake Forest

I ignored Wake Forest in my last write-up so I'll explore them in a little bit more detail here. In the game I attended, they provided the standard coke and cookies, but the highlight here was the main meal of chili including the sides of sour cream, cheese and crackers. While the meal did make most of the game pretty unpleasant, I have to give them four stars just for having the guts to serve chili to a bunch of middle-aged men and women. Wake Forest reaches the final, 70-59.

No. 9 N.C. State vs. No. 2 Wake Forest

No one from the play-in game has ever won the ACC Tournament, but the Wolfpack break tradition here. Basing the winner of the ACC on the pregame meals I've eaten in my career is probably pretty questionable, but give Todd Fuller a State hot dog and some barbecue and he's over the flu and ready to play. N.C. State saves Les Robinson's job and earns a trip to the NCAAs with a 68-62 win.

William Dvoranchik is a Trinity senior and associate sports editor of The Chronicle. He would like to thank Julia Child for being such a positive role model for all these years.

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