First, as a matter of housekeeping: You can now follow on Instagram @eightyminutes. This'll be all 80 Minutes of Regulation, all the time, so on the off-chance that you've followed @80mins, you can still see my adorable kids, but it's not your best place for marching/athletic music and sports.
* * *
This week, the ACC Men's Basketball tournament is in Washington DC, thumbing its nose at College Park, but last week, the women's tournament was at home here in Greensboro. I made it out to most of Friday's action, including some mascot night festivities with my daughter, and I caught three games, six teams, and, of course, six pep bands. Oh, you forgot why I was there?
Having not yet been to a women's hoops game this season, there were a few rule changes I hadn't yet seen play out. Prior to this season, the women's game went to four 10 minutes quarters, with some nuanced rules surrounding called and media timeouts. This meant that the standardized media timeouts I was used to no longer had context: Is this the under-12? Under-8?
Of note in the three games I saw: Bands were traveling a little lighter on the lower end this go round. Typically, four sousaphones is pretty standard, with three being occasional and two betting pretty rare. Half of the bands I saw brought just two and the others brought three; I couldn't get a gauge if they had electrically augmented bass that aided in that particular decision making. Notre Dame was the only band from my sessions that came with field drums; everyone else went with the drumset.
Another one of the rule changes allowed for bands to play in dead ball situations. I noted this would be a relatively small change, since most such moments are the short time between a made basket and the ball being put back into play. Both teams in the third game did take advantage though, mostly on fouls: Syracuse - who I was seeing for the first time since joining the league - had a brief sting they used, and NC State, in the best use I've heard (small sample size, I'll admit) played the Price is Right failhorns after a foul.
I won't give you the full social media roundup this go round - nearly all of it was on Twitter at @80mins - but you can certainly check out the live reactions there.
The Greensboro Coliseum is dark this week - at least from basketball action - but I'm glad I can look forward to the best tournament of its kind in the nation each year here at home.