For those who haven't seen it, The Wire is a five season HBO series that ran from 2002-2008 and examines the landscape of inner city Baltimore. Each season tackles a different aspect of life in the city, but it primarily focuses on the drug trade and the subsequent police response. Short version: it's the best show ever.
As the best conference in America, the ACC is the college basketball version of The Wire. Not convinced? Here are 19 memorable Wire quotes and how they relate perfectly to ACC basketball. (Note: I did my best to avoid any spoilers for people who haven't seen the show and want to, but it ended eight years ago so if something gets ruined you can't be mad, you had time.)
19. "We're building something here detectives, we're building it from scratch. All the pieces matter." -Det. Lester Freamon
While I can't confirm this in any way, I maintain that these were the first words Tony Bennett uttered to his staff and players when he stepped foot on Grounds. Just as Detective Freamon built his case piece-by-piece until it was whole, Bennett has built Virginia basketball from the bottom up to the national power that it is today.
18. "SHEEEEEEEEEEEEIT." -Clay Davis
One of the most well-known catchphrases from the show is also the same sound all Virginia Tech fans made upon realizing that this will be yet another season without an NCAA tourney bid. The Hokies haven't been dancing since 2007, the longest drought in the ACC, and that's not going to change this year.
17. "I'll take any person's money if he giving it away." -Clay Davis
Tech fans do have some hope for the future, however, as this quote seems to epitomize Buzz Williams' personal philosophy. While the head coach at Marquette, Williams went 139-69, made an Elite Eight, two Sweet Sixteens and never had a losing conference record. For some reason, perhaps a seven-year $18.2 million contract, Williams left Marquette after the 2014 season to take over the Virginia Tech program and go 11-22 (2-16 in ACC). Great move Buzz.
16. "The bigger the lie the more they believe." -Det. Bunk Moreland
15. "The game done changed." -Cutty
When UNC coach Roy Williams and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim found out they were under NCAA investigation, surely they were convinced that the NCAA would never actually penalize two of the sports' flagship programs. Much to his surprise, Boeheim was suspended for the first half of ACC play this season, while Williams continues to hang around in limbo awaiting a ruling on a widespread academic scandal. Many people think UNC will get off without any real punishment but maybe, just maybe, the game done changed and the NCAA will actually enforce the rules, regardless of program prestige.
14. "I think you play in the dirt, you get dirty." -McNulty
The opinion of all ACC fans outside of the state of Kentucky when Louisville coach Rick Pitino denies that he knew anything about the report that alleges ex-Louisville assistant Andre McGee paid for sex and stripper parties on campus for Louisville players recruits. Pitino claims that he was unaware and only McGee knows if these allegations are true or not.
13. "I'm just a gangsta I suppose." -Avon Barksdale
Pitino is skipping ACC media day next Wednesday in light of the aforementioned scandal, though Louisville is still sending two players down. It'll never happen, but I'd have a great deal of respect for the man if he just showed up, repeated this iconic Avon Barksdale line whenever asked about the allegations, and then walked out without another word.
12. "Look the part, be the part." -Proposition Joe
It seems plausible that Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory repeats this to himself in the mirror before every game. Gregory has struggled in Atlanta, going just 55-71 (19-51 in ACC play) during his four seasons at the helm, but you can always count on him to be one of the best dressed coaches around, no matter what the scoreboard says.
11. "I ain't cut out to be no CEO." - Slim Charles
Almost every year at least one program decides that their coach just wasn't quite ready to navigate the rigors of ACC basketball. While all of last year's coaches return for the 2015 season, I'm betting that is the last hurrah for Gregory and Clemson's Brad Brownell. They've combined for a lone NCAA appearance (Clemson in 2010-11) during their nine seasons and that just doesn't cut it with the fans. They both seem like nice people, so I hope I'm wrong with this one.
10. Leonard Hamilton=Bunny Colvin
9. "A man got to have a code." -Omar
This is one of the best and most accurate lines in the whole series and NC State coach Mark Gottfried seems to have taken it to heart. Gottfried's code involves winning between 22-24 games and 9-11 conference games in each of his four seasons guiding the Wolfpack. While each season can seem like a roller coaster while it's occurring, Gottfried sticks to the code in the aggregate and I respect that.
8. "Money ain't got no owners, only spenders." -Omar
Coach K says this to the refs before every game as he slips each of them a crisp hundred dollar bill. I have zero evidence, but you'll never convince me otherwise.
7. "It's all in the game." -Omar
Meanwhile Dookies recite this to opposing fans over and over again while their players parade to the free throw line and yet another flop is called a charge. Calm down guys, we all know Duke is a football school.
6. "You don't ever want to be the last man to the party." -Chris
Miami fans can take solace in the knowledge that their basketball program is better than their football program, especially after that Clemson disaster (too soon?). Sadly, Miami still ranks dead last in the ACC in all-time NCAA tournament appearances with 7. We get that you're new here and the notion of being a basketball school is still a novel concept, but please try and keep up if you can.
5. "Shit is like a war ain't it. Easy to get in, hell to get out." -Det. Bunk Moreland
During their run in the Big East, Pittsburgh basketball was somewhat of a powerhouse. The Panthers finished outside the top four in the conference standings just once in their final five years, including two top two finishes and a regular season title in 2010-11. In their two seasons in the ACC, however, Pitt has finished fifth and ninth. They still may win the Coastal division for football but just a note to be careful what you wish for.
4. "A vote's a vote and I never give one back." -Norman
Oh hey there Caulton Tudor! Everyone's favorite UNC homer is back! You may remember Tudor as the one guy who prevented Mike Scott from being an unanimous All-ACC selection in 2012. Personally, I'm just excited to see how he rigs his ballot this year, can the Tar Heel starting five be the entire first time All-ACC? Nothing is impossible for Caulton Tudor, a man who apparently doesn't believe in standings, statistics, or watching game film of other teams.
3. "I thought I might legalize drugs." -Bunny Colvin
I have it on good authority (aka I made it up), that both Wake Forest coach Danny Manning and Boston College coach Jim Christian proposed this is as a possible recruiting strategy when interviewed for their head coaching positions. On the one hand Christian does live in a state where marijuana is decriminalized, so he would appear to have the upper hand. Conversely, Manning's Demon Deacons won more ACC games last season and showed considerable signs of upward progress after the Bzdelik fiasco. The winner will have to be decided this year.
2. "I wonder what it feels like to work in a real police department." -McNulty
I feel bad for Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt. He's averaged double-figure points per game in each of his three seasons with the Yellow Jackets despite never playing for a contender. Last year, Georges-Hunt averaged 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds for Georgia Tech, and it leads one to wonder what he could accomplish on a contender with a solid supporting cast.
1. "You come at the king, you best not miss." -Omar
We started with a Tony Bennett quote and we end with a Tony Bennett quote. After back-to-back ACC regular season championships, Bennett's Hoos have established themselves as the class of the ACC. Virginia has lost one ACC home game over the past three seasons as JPJ has established itself as one of the toughest environments in the country. I'm not saying that UVa will win the ACC again this season, but for everyone else, you get one shot at the crown, make it count.