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Hey ACC: NCAA looks for wins, not whines page 3
Steve DeShazo on the ACC basketball coaches gathering

Date published: 10/23/2006

By STEVE DeSHAZO

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"We talked about being more aggressive," Williams said. "One of the great things the Big East commissioner [Dave Gavitt] did was stand up and say, 'We should have eight or nine teams in the NCAA tournament,' and everybody wrote that down and believed him."

In fact, there's a sense that George Mason's stunning Final Four run will give the selection committee reason to include even more mid-majors in the field of 31 at-large teams--at the expense of 17-win teams from power conferences.

"If there is a deserving George Mason or a Valley team, take them," Williams said. "But don't exclude an ACC team that's just as good."

Most of the coaches also lobbied for a bigger tournament field. Hewitt cited the recent explosion of Division I programs (334 and counting), while the tournament has expanded only from 64 to 65 since 1985. Another coach also pointed out that George Mason's Tom O'Connor was a member of last year's committee, even though he didn't get to vote on his team's inclusion.

"It always comes down to who's on the committee and what their biases are," Hewitt said. "It's subjective. Until they expand the tournament, they'll never get it right, and they'll never get it wrong."

Maryland's Williams acknowledged the selection process is difficult, and he also wants more teams included. How many? That's where, in a rare moment of candor, he deviated from the message and expressed every coach's true sentiment.

"Just enough until we're in," he said with a smile.

To reach STEVE DeSHAZO: 540/374-5443
Email: sdeshazo@freelancestar.com


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