He doesn't have a say in the matter, so his words should be taken only as those of a man with an obvious bias. Nonetheless, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski made a strong case Tuesday for two conference schools to receive No.
1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Duke won the ACC regular-season title but lost twice to North Carolina. Both teams have been ranked among the top five in the country all season except for one week _ when Duke dropped to sixth.
The Tar Heels are fourth and the Blue Devils are fifth entering the conference tournament, which begins Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., when ninth-seeded N.C. State plays eighth-seeded Clemson.
"There is only one conference in the country that has had two of the top five teams in the country the whole year. Duke and Carolina have been right there all year," Krzyzewski said. "It says something about our conference that we have four losses and Carolina has five in the conference. You knock each other off. We won the conference, but they beat us twice.
"Going into this tournament, I believe that Duke and Carolina are No. 1 seeds and that our conference should merit that."
FSU coach Pat Kennedy agreed. "Both Carolina and Duke should be No. 1 seeds, no doubt about it," he said. "They've been in the top five all year long, and I think we deserve six teams in the NCAA Tournament. You put a lot of those other teams in this conference, and I guarantee you they won't have the records they have now. Having been there, I think there is no doubt that Maryland, Virginia and Georgia Tech should all be in the tournament."
Duke, Carolina and Wake Forest are locks for the NCAAs. Virginia and Maryland, with 8-8 league records, appear to be in, although they play each other Friday.
Georgia Tech is the curiosity. The Yellow Jackets are 16-11, but 7-9 in the league. They defeated North Carolina twice but had an otherwise disappointing season. Yet they are rated 34th in the RPI Report , one spot ahead of Maryland. A win over Wake Forest on Friday probably will give the ACC its sixth team in the tournament, but the Yellow Jackets should not be feeling too secure.
With two more victories, North Carolina coach Dean Smith reaches the 800-win mark. He could get it on Saturday during the ACC semifinals.
"Dean's fantastic," Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins said. "I played against Dean. He's a great story. I wish he would retire soon, but he looks like he's going to keep going. It's unbelievable what he's accomplished. At the rate he is going, if he remains healthy, he'll become the all-time winningest coach in the history of college basketball."
Smith, 62, is in his 33rd year at Carolina. With a 24-6 record this season, he has won 798 games. Kentucky's Adolph Rupp won 876 games in 41 years.
In one of the conference's best years for newcomers, Maryland's Joe Smith heads a group of three promising centers named to the Associated Press ACC All-Freshman team.
Smith, the first freshman since Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson in 1990 to be named to the All-ACC first team, was named on all but two of the 111 ballots cast by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association. Maryland's leading scorer narrowly edged out North Carolina forward Jerry Stackhouse (105) as the top vote-getter. The team includes centers Rasheed Wallace of North Carolina (95) and Tim Duncan of Wake Forest (83), and Virginia guard Harold Deane (69).
_ BOB HARIG, AP