Adam Teague has played Big East teams in his time at Navy.
He’s played at Verizon Center, too, in meetings with Howard and Georgetown.
But an ACC team? Not so much. Until today.
Why does it matter so much to Teague the Midshipmen are playing Virginia Tech in the BB&T Classic? He’s a native of Hickory, N.C., grew up rooting for North Carolina and quickly points out he pulled for Clemson a little, too, since Rick Barnes was also from his hometown.
And so this ACC thing —- even if it’s a school that joined the conference this decade —- means quite a bit to someone who was indoctrinated into the joy that is ACC basketball at a very young age.
“You’d be in elementary school, and you’d get to eat lunch and watch the ACC tournament in the classroom,” Teague said. “It’s a different animal down there and that’s what makes it so great.”
The surest way to tell someone is a huge ACC fan is a story or two from the league tournament. And sure enough, Teague found his way into a couple tournaments in Charlotte over the years.
He’s seen it in the old Charlotte Coliseum and Bobcats Arena (or whatever it’s being called now) —- which means the Patriot League quarterfinals were not the last game he was in attendance for back in March.
“I went last year, too —- yeah, unfortunately,” Teague said. “I don’t want to go again. We’re trying to get to the tournament here, so I don’t want to go again.”
Today is hardly a make-or-break for the Midshipmen, who are 7-1 and enjoying their longest winning streak (seven) since 2000. But there’s absolutely no question the program will receive much more exposure regardless of today’s outcome than it would from almost any game on its schedule, other than perhaps a PL final or an NCAA tournament appearance.
Toss in the ACC element, and the value of the BB&T stage grows even more for Teague.
“I think it’s going to be a lot different for me playing a team from the ACC, just looking at how far I’ve come in four years,” Teague said.
—- Patrick Stevens