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For True-Blue ACC Fans, Museums Are Just a Backdrop

At home, she said, her swimming pool is shaped like a Tar Heel. "I'm the team's number one fan," she said without argument from her two companions.

Just then, three women strolled past, chanting, "Tar-Heels! Tar-Heels! Tar-Heels!" Faye Vest, 66, Dale Clark, 65, and Virginia Hawley, 62, said they were among 10 fans from Raleigh and Fayetteville who drove to the tournament aboard a Winnebago.

North Carolina and Clemson square off in the first game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Fans who couldn't buy tickets crowded into bars and restaurants near MCI Center. (Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)

_____ ACC Tournament _____
 ACC tournament
In what could be his last game coaching Virginia, Pete Gillen, pictured, and the Cavaliers lose to Duke, 76-64.
Michael Wilbon: There's evidence that tells us the ACC is the best league right now.
Georgia Tech pulls away to oust Virginia Tech, 73-54.
North Carolina survives a scare from Clemson and escapes, 88-81.
Playing without Chris Paul, Wake Forest falls to N.C. State, 81-65.
On Basketball: Expectations may be the most difficult thing coaches and their players face.
Full-Court Press: News and notes

__ Saturday's Schedule __
UNC vs. Georgia Tech, 1:30 p.m.
N.C. State vs. Duke, 4 p.m.

__ Friday's Results __
North Carolina 88, Clemson 81
Georgia Tech 73, Virginia Tech 54
N.C. State 81, Wake Forest 65
Duke 76, Virginia 64

_____ Thursday's Results _____
Clemson 84, Maryland 72
N.C. State 70, Florida State 54
Virginia 66, Miami 65

__ Multimedia __
Video: Post's Matt Rennie talks about Maryland's loss, Virginia's win.

_____ On Our Site _____
 ACC tournament
Friday's photos
Images from Maryland's loss to Clemson, a defeat that likely keeps the Terps out of the NCAAs for the first time since '93.
Talk about Maryland's loss.
ACC in D.C.: Dan Steinberg reports from the ACC tournament.
Where to go: Check out the best places to watch all the action.
An interactive guide to the hot spots around the MCI Center.

__ Tournament Preview Section __
 ACC tournament
The MCI Center plays host to the ACC tournament, considered by some to be the biggest event in college basketball.
John Feinstein: The tradition of the ACC tournament is what makes it so special.
Bracket and schedule
Although he is one of the ACC's best players, Tar Heels freshman Marvin Williams remains humble.
News Graphic: Freshman who might play big roles this week.
The improved play of center Eric Williams gives the Demon Deacons a potent inside-outside game.
Lee Melchionni has taken advantage of increased playing time and given Duke a major boost.
News Graphic: Tournament information, map and records.

_____ Team Capsules _____
Florida State
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
North Carolina State
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

They wore matching blue outfits and had painted their fingernails blue. "We're Tar-Heel born and Tar-Heel bred, and when we die we'll be Tar-Heel dead," said Clark, as the trio headed for their seats.

The fans who couldn't buy tickets crowded into the bars and restaurants that line Seventh Street NW. At Hooters, where the kitchen staff wore the trademark T-shirts that read, "Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined," the luncheon crowd paid more attention to the 11 television sets in the main dining room.

The restaurant brought in extra employees for the tournament, adding three waitresses.

Their customers hardly seemed to notice, at least while the North Carolina-Clemson game was in progress. "Thank God for the timeouts," said Jared Linthicum, 24, a Loyola University psychology student.

Around the corner, Chuck Taylor, 42, stood in a parking lot, in front of a friend's van loaded with coolers filled with beer and soft drinks, and flags for each of the schools in the tournament. A radio broadcast the game.

The men said they preferred the tournament being held in North Carolina, where they hang out for hours in the parking lot grilling steaks and hamburgers. "We don't go to the ACC to be in an urban environment," Taylor said. "We come to be in a big parking lot with our friends."

He said that the proximity to the Jefferson Memorial and other historic sites made no difference to him: "I did all that in fourth grade."

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