March S, 1973
rocixy mere in
". . . And then there are those
notorious ACC fans. Some
think they are the worst to be
by Winston Cavin
Atlantic Coast Conference basketball is a world of
. There are the ACC basketball teams, which are the
best collected under one banner anywhere. And then
there are those notorious ACC basketball fans. Whether
they are the worst to be found anywhere is perhaps
debatable, but a lot of people think so. And hot Without
The players and coaches wind down the boondock
highways to a lost place someone called Clemson a long
time ago. They zip to an old Memorial Coliseum in ugly
Winston-Salem. They sweep through the hazardous
Carolina-Duke-State area under extreme duress. They
trek to classy University Hall at Thomas Jefferson's
University of Virginia. And they fight the infamous D.C.
traffic to suffer the consequences of Lefty Driesell.
ACC teams travel one of the most dangerous circuits
anywhere in an attempt to conduct some business. The
road trips often prove deadly for one reason or another,
and many a nationally-ranked powerhouse club has been
bushwhacked on the road in the Atlantic Coast
The University of Maryland's Cole Field House is
certainly an unfriendly place. Since, the arrival of
Driesell, the Terrapins have fieldedP some awesome
teams, and the fans have been getting more frenzied
Coming out of northeast Washington, the Baltimore
parkway brings visitors to the campus of one of
America's larger institutions (35,000). The field house is
nestled snugly behind tiny, poorly-engineered Byrd
Stadium, where football fans have their choice of bad
seats because nobody goes to the Terp games. But Cole
is no laughing matter.
Bricks make up the foundations and walls, but the
roof consists of a weatherbeateh green metal. The place
looks like an airplane hangar from the outside.
Inside, the place has a strange carnival atmosphere.
The 14,500 Maryland partisans-1 0,000 of whom are
students-pack the place for every game, and most get
there early enough to take in all the pre-game festivities.
The Terrapin pep band stirs the fans into a frenzy
before the beloved Lefty rolls out to the sound of "Hail
to the Chief." He gives his characteristic V for Victory
sign (a la Nixon 1968) and the crowd I goes wild. All this
is even before the team takes the floor.
The visitors finally emerge after getting up their
courage and, when the starters are introduced, Maryland
fans boo them for having the audacity to oppose the
The Terps have always been rough in Cole, even back
in the days when they had pitiful basketball teams.
Once, in 1967. Carolina's Tar Heels rolled into town
with a third-ranked club. Maryland was in the midst of a
sorry 11-14 season, but the Heels needed two free
throws from Dick Grubar in the final minute to escape
with a 79-78 win.
This season, Carolina fell to the strong Terps by
94-88, and the crowd's behavior was less than courteous.
Students and fans booed, hissed and threw cups and
other objects on the floor throughout the rough contest..
At one point in the second half, there was a touch of
irony as an irate Terp fan threw a cup on the floor,
hitting Maryland's Len Elmore on the face and narrowly
missing a chance to do some vicious eye damage. The fan
is probably sharpening his aim now.
After an ACC visitor finishes taking the guff in
College Park, he can look forward to a trip to Virginia.
University Hall, only a few years old, is a handsome,
8.250-seat arena found on one of America's prettiest
campuses. The Cavalier fans are noisy enough to rattle
You have to take guff
even the most stable athletes, but usually they are
Cavalier fans have had little to crow about through
the years. For season after season, Virginia consistently
produced off-brand ball dubs, and the other ACC
schools took delight in beating them to a pulp.
That is, until two years ago. Suddenly, in the 1970-71
season, the Wahoos came to life and posted a winning
record (15-11) for the first time in 17 years. The Cavs
were especially rough at home, beating highly-touted
South Carolina and sweeping nine of 10 home games.
Only one opponent Carolina managed to win in
Charlottesville that year.
A year later, the Amazin' Cavaliers streaked to fifth
in the national standings before dropping seven games
against 21 victories. They slaughtered third-ranked
Maryland -at home, 78-57, and forced Carolina to play
one of its best games before giving in, 85-79.
Next stop for an ACC cage dub is Tobacco Road, the
North Carolina home of four conference schools. In
Winston-Salem, Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh, the
Big Four teams engage in some heady rivalry and usually
win consistently at home.
Wake Forest plays its home games in Memorial
Coliseum, an 8,200-seat facility. The Deacs had some
national powers not so long ago, and the winning
tradition often stands up at home.
In 1967, Carolina needed a last-second shot from
All-American Larry Miller to eke out a 76-74 win over
Wake in a 9-18 Deacon season. Carolina finished fourth
nationally that season.
And so it goes, on to Durham and the Duke Blue
Devils. Duke is one of college basketball's most
enigmatic teams providing more surprises than perhaps
any other NCAA squad.
Duke plays its games in Cameron Indoor Stadium,
formerly Duke Indoor Stadium. Built in 1940, the place
is not exactly the showplace of college basketball, but
the 8,800 seats are usually filled with loyal Durham
Duke fans. A new twist was recently added to the
colorful arena, as two pigeons were seen flapping around
the gym during Duke's 85-81 upset of Maryland.
Blessed with a low ceiling which makes the crowd
noise fhat much more harrowing, the place has been
good to the Blue Devils over the years. Duke has
compiled an amazing 107-15 mark in the stadium over
the last 10 and a half seasons. They also won their first
six home games this season despite a 10-9 record.
Cameron has been an especially nauseating place for
Carolina teams of late. On January 7, 1967, Carolina
edged Duke, 59-56, in Durham, and the Heels have been
winless there since. Over the last five seasons and half of
this season, Carolina has won every game with Duke on a
neutral court (three in Greensboro, one in Charlotte, one
in New York), every game in Chapel Hill (six) and none
in Durham (five for Duke).
Next stop on Tobacco Road is Carolina's Carmichael
Auditorium, where the Heels have enjoyed plenty of
success since 1966. In eight years of Carmichael
competition, UNC has suffered only seven defeats.
Carmichael is rarely the scene of ugly behavior, but
the noise level is sometimes unbearable. Last year. Tar
Heel fans greeted Tom McMillen of Maryland with a
standing ovation, and the tall Terrapin was so stunned he
let his team get smothered, 92-72. Maryland went on to
win the NIT and post a 27-5 record.
Carmichael is another noisy ACC gym, and one of the
main reasons is the acoustics. The unprotected steel roof
doesn't exactly muffle crowd noise, and visitors
frequently find it hard to concentrate in Carmichael.
The last stop on the Big Four .strip is hardly the
easiest. N.C. State's Reynolds Coliseum is another
basketball din, with room enough for 12,400 howling
Wolfpack fans to watch their charges in action.
Reynolds is nestled in the brick campus of the State
university in downtown Raleigh. The campus is not one
of the prettiest of its kind, and neither is Reynolds. Built
in the '50s, it was once one of the best basketball houses
around, but times have changed. It is so poorly
engineered that half the people in the place can hardly
see. Unlike the revamped Greensboro Coliseum, the seats
are at a low angle; thus, if you're on the back row,
you're almost in the parking lot. It's just too spread out.
In addition, the lighting is terrible, with fight and
dark spots all over the court. The floor itself is hollow in
places, not unlike UNC'sTtn Can. and the ball makes a
weird thud when it strikes one of the hollow spots.
Clemson plays its home games in beautiful Littlejohn
Coliseum, the newest of the ACC arenas. Opened in
November, 1968, the arena holds 10,300 fans, making it
the third largest arena in the conference.
Clemson's fans are not known for poor behavior, but
the Tigers have a reputation of being tough to stop at
home, like every other conference school. Carolina has
never lost in Littlejohn.
Clemson is probably one of the best places in the
ACC to play, from a visitor's standpoint. And the reason
is that Tiger teams are consistently sorry.
Yes, the ACC is no place to stage a picnic during
basketball season. The rivalries are intense, the hate is
evident, and the fans are wild. And just imagine what it
would be like today if South Carolina were still in the
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State was rough in Raleigh