ACC tournament notebook: How Virginia Tech became a national championship contender
Plus: Charlene Curtis's legacy, Louisville's return to form, and a very serious orange squeeze.
Hello, Power Plays friends! Last week, I spent most of my time at the ACC Championship here in my hometown — and current town — of Greensboro, North Carolina. It was an exhilarating week watching sports and interacting with the people I cover in person again.
Due to life events (such as a kitchen flood that took seven months to fix, for example) I hadn’t actually done any in-person coverage sports in a staggering 10 months. This year, my goal to never go longer than one month without attending a women’s sporting event in person, and I expect you all to hold me to that.
I was reporting some bigger-picture stories for Power Plays at the tournament, but those aren’t quite ready to be published. So, I’m going to start something new, and do a notebook dump for Power Plays paid subscribers when I attend live events. This will give me a chance to share stuff that doesn’t fit into feature stories, and hopefully you’ll all enjoy learning about different teams and players and coaches and teams. It’s at least worth a shot.
Now, this particular notebook dump is hopefully the longest I will ever do, because I waited until I’d watched 14 games to start putting it together. I’ll be in person at the NCAA tournament for the first two weekends, and I plan to do notebook dumps after each round. Sound good? Fabulous.
Okay friends, let’s do this.
Let’s get this out of the way first: The ACC women’s tournament was not good this year.
The only really tight game was Duke/UNC, and while the two programs have a thrilling rivalry, the current iterations of their teams produce a version of basketball that is so physical, so defensive, so disjointed, that it barely resembles basketball as we know it.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t bright spots, with the brightest spot of all being the Virginia Tech Hokies, which won their first ACC championship with a 75-67 victory over Louisville in the final.
It was invigorating to get a front-row seat to see a program make such a huge breakthrough on one of the biggest stage of the sport. Below are my thoughts on Virginia Tech, Louisville, legacies, and much more.
I simply cannot get over what Kenny Brooks has done in Virginia Tech
Kenny Brooks is so calm. That is, um, not a trait I usually associate with great coaches. But he has this composure, this humility, that is absolutely captivating, especially when he is gushing about his team.