Syracuse Moving to the ACC Q&A: North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 30: North Carolina Tar Heels fans cheer during a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Dean Smith Center on November 30, 2011 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

We got our chance to talk about our future ACC rivals in the "Meet Your New Neighbors" series. Now those same folks that we lightly poked fun at get to offer up their own opinions of us! Each week, I'll be posting Q&A responses from one of the 12 current ACC schools, and I'll also be submitting to some questioning on their respective sites, too. It should be fun, and if we're lucky, people might get as angry as they did in the Virginia Tech profile comment thread.

This week, we get a rare opportunity to speak about a college basketball team that's won more games than we have, courtesy of Carolina March's T.H. As you'll soon find out he hates Duke, thinks our snow competitions are strange and also has some Orange ties of his own.

Also, see our previous round of questioning with Backing the Pack.


Was Syracuse your first choice for ACC expansion?

Carolina March: My first choice was to not expand, but I understand the need to proactively grab teams to involve having members poached, particularly at that moment in time. I do think conferences this large become unwieldy. As for the pick of Syracuse, I'm more excited by Pittsburgh, but Syracuse was my second choice among teams likely to jump ship.

We get you guys kind of run things around here. Where do you see Syracuse falling in the pecking order (specifically in hoops)?

CM: I think they'll be a Top 5 ACC team for the near future. Beyond that, I don't know what their future is when Boeheim retires, but I'm not optimistic for you guys. In football, I remember the good Syracuse-UNC season openers in the '90s, so I know you guys can be a strong football team. It's tough to get the memory of the Greg Robinson years out my head though. I think they'll be a middle-of-the-pack team, challenging for the league title once a decade or so.

Lacrosse is sure going to be fun though, isn't it?

Thoughts on Jim Boeheim? Curious if you guys cared about his commentary on Greensboro last year.

CM: I'm a Greensboro native, actually. I wasn't too offended, but I look forward to him getting some grief come March. In fact, I look forward to his interactions with the ACC media, who are going to mix with him like oil and water. I give him six months before he just implodes and stops dealing with the press altogether (Ed Note: that's probably on the high side. We doubt he'll last six weeks).

Early projections have the Orange and Heels sort-of close next season (mostly 7-15 range). Who has the better 2012-13 basketball season?

CM: Syracuse by a hair. They just return more people than the Heels do.

Whose football future looks brighter, SU's or UNC's?

CM: I am always, ludicrously optimistic about Carolina's football chances every August, so I have to say UNC. If nothing else, the natural light of Kenan is brighter than you'll find in the Carrier Dome.

Any tips for getting by in the ACC (dos, don'ts for fans)?

CM: What, and spoil the surprise? OK. First of all UNC and Duke don't run everything, but if you want to fit in with the rest of the conference, whine endlessly that we do. Drink your iced tea sweetened. No conspiracy is too elaborate for an N.C. State fan. The dirty little secret about Cameron Indoor is that they don't have the alumni base to sell out a bigger arena, and the Cameron Crazies haven't had an original thought in twenty years. Coat and tie is appropriate football spectating apparel at Carolina and Virginia, and airplane bottles of bourbon go well with souvenir cups. Only a few people abandon football season come October 15th, even in Chapel Hill. Carolina's probably going to crush you in a lot of women's sports you aren't aware you play. Wake Forest is a long way from being good in basketball, but will probably upset you in football when you least expect it. You're probably not going to get the love you think you deserve from the media in preseason polls, especially after Boeheim opens his mouth.

Thoughts on Syracuse overall? (both as an institution and an athletic program)?

CM: My wife is an alum of the Newhouse grad program, which gives me a bit of a fondness from the school. And that year you guys spent providing us with extra Greg Paulus entertainment was nice. Jim Boeheim irritates me, however, and I have a fear you guys will just turn into a second Boston College down the line, not contributing much and just being a long, annoying road game every year. That's the worst-case scenario, though.

And that snow-pile contest you have with neighboring cities is just weird, man.

Thanks again to T.H. for taking the time out to answer these questions!

John Cassillo authors Atlantic Coast Convos, which chronicles every aspect of ACC (plus Syracuse & Pittsburgh) football. Check out the blog, and follow him on Twitter: @JohnCassillo

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