Friday, February 17, 2012

NC State at Duke


It's Disappointing and Makes Me Want to CRY!

For most Wolfpack fans, the glass is half full. The team has been transformed, the players have been transformed, and to some extent expectations have been transformed. Under the leadership of Mark Gottfried and staff, what was a pathetically run, out of shape and emotionally absent team has become a factor in the ACC and for sure a bubble team for the NCAA tournament. What we've seen this year is pretty much the most any state fan dared to hope for. And we won't even talk about next year, at least not quite yet.

But you can't be a real State fan without being in some pain today after the way things unfolded last night in Cameron. I just couldn't let this one go by without a few comments.

Domination

I can't imagine anything more fun that the way we played for 30 minutes last night. The style that Gottfried has them playing, the 11-0 fast break advantage in the first half, the athleticism Calvin exhibited making every Dookie look slow and lazy, the confidence of our mid-range shooters, the fact that even when we gave up a basket we simply pushed back harder and faster, ALL give us great joy and hope and pride. After watching 30 minutes of that it is hard to understand why any recruit wouldn't want to be part of it and our bright future (
Amile Jefferson).

Officiating

No, there isn't a conspiracy among ACC Officials to favor Duke or Carolina or anything even bordering on that. BUT, officials are human, and officiating during a game is an active organism with a life of its own. For the most part the officials played no major role in the 1st half. CJ Williams picked up 3 early, but every now and then that will happen, even to one of the best defenders in the league.

But what took place in the first few minutes of the 2nd half was unfortunate for NC State. In the early minutes of the half, CJ is called for his 4th foul on an off the ball play that wasn't a foul in the first half. The first half of the game had been called pretty loose. If you could get an honest answer from the ref that called that foul, I'd be willing to bet 10 seconds after making the call, he wished he hadn't. They are human, things happen. All 3 refs recognized the fact that NC State had just been very disadvantaged by a call of something that probably wasn't the type of thing they had called the entire first half. So, the next time down the court, a Duke defender makes the exact same type of contact, a small hold that had been going on all game, but had just been called on State in a huge play, so it had to be called on Duke.

Now at this point, both teams are pissed off, the crowd is getting more vocal, and both coaches are screaming at the refs. The emotional level cranked up another level, and without the intention of intervening in such a way, the officials had imposed a completely new interpretation of what is isn't a foul. Having done this, they pretty much had to stick with it. What followed was a flurry of fouls that likely in the first half would have been no-calls. The calls were pretty much evenly distributed, causing players on both sides foul-trouble and causing both coaches to have to adjust. I think you can make a strong argument that if that ticky-tack foul against CJ Williams hadn't been called, this game plays out completely differently.

Depth

NC State doesn't have it. NC State may have the best starting 5 in the ACC. Not the most talented, but with the exception of the UNC game, NC State's starters have beaten the starters of every team they have played this year. State starters beat Syracuse, beat Stanford, beat Indiana, and beat Duke. But state has no depth. You can argue whether Gottfried could have developed depth by this point, or whether the cupboard is just bare, but we don't have it. Between the fact that key players couldn't participate for much of the 2nd half, and the high number of minutes being played by those who did play left open a door for Duke that couldn't easily be closed.

Duke

Coach K was bold in orchestrating this comeback. I think you'd have a hard time finding another coach in the country that would have used timeouts the way he did to help keep that comeback going. It goes against all conventional wisdom to put so much effort and resources (timeouts) into a run with 7+ minutes left in the game. But K masterfully recognized that if he could make a big run while State had key players on the bench, and that if he could get it below 8 or so, the game would completely change. By pulling his levers when he did, he took advantage of a window that wouldn't be open later and I believe that was a huge factor in the comeback. I also can't say enough about the performance of Seth Curry. With State unable to play great defense because of fatigue and foul trouble, Curry took advantage of the high screen to perfection.

The Scars of Losing

I texted a Duke friend at half-time "Don't worry. We forgot who we were because of the black uniforms. State will show up in the 2nd half. Collapse to follow".

NC State fans "expect" to lose games like this. We have been through hell as fans for way too long, and this is just how we are. It is going to take time to change that. As much as we feel pain for loses, it has to be far worse for players. These players have had years of disappointment. I believe that re-wires your brain to some extent. That cannot help but mess with your confidence. Along with fatigue, I believe that is a key part to why NC State couldn't close the door on Duke, and couldn't respond with plays in the last few minutes of the game. Getting your body in shape, learning a real offense, learning to trust your teammates and coaches are things you can learn in 6 months. Learning how to win the big game is going to take longer.

I'm really confident we will earn how to win big games like this. The future looks bright and whether or not we ever become on par with Duke and Carolina every year or not, games like this will start going our way occasionally in the future. I'm really looking forward to that.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Bad Afternoon

For the last 35+ years I have been following Carolina Basketball and yesterday at the Leon Civic Center in Tallahasee Florida something happened that I have never seen in all these years is, not only did a basketball team give up,but its coach did too. Getting blown out is one thing. But giving up and walking off the floor to avoid the storm.(But "he was protecting his players", so he says)) Why would he leave those walkons on the floor to fend for themselves? That was only part of it.
I remember Dean Smith teams getting blown out,but never giving up! One I distinctly remember in 1990 when they were crushed by Lethal Weapon 3(DennisScott,KennyAnderson@BrianOliver) Georgia Tech couldnt miss that night winning by 27. Carolina kept playing even though they had no chance. Yesterday Tyler Zeller was the only one who kept playing hard. Cold shooting days do happen but someone else picks up the slack. Barnes,Marshall,Hensen, and Strickland looked like they did at the beginning of last year.But they fought through it and became an elite 8 team. They looked frightened and their coach DID NOT HAVE AN ANSWER. How do u not have an answer? Thats what time outs are for. But u prefer to let the players play through the mess. Please call timeout to atleast stop the bleeding for that moment. If they continue staying hot. Well at least u tried to stop the carnage. Its very annoying to hear Dukie V talking about Carolina getting blown out like this. The only positive I see in all this is. The season is not over yet. Another thing is. These are kids. Yelling and screaming at them constantly is not going to get better results. Also John Henson needs to quit shooting jumpshots and his poor freethrow shooting is going to be a problem. Justin Watts should not be in rotation unless there is foul trouble or someones hurt. Robert McAdoo and P.J. Hairston need to be more aggressive and get faster on defense. It would also help Marshall(needs serious work on D) and Barnes. Florida State was benefited by hot shooting great hustle and Carolinas poor play. Still a long way to go!

Monday, September 19, 2011

ACC is first Super Conference

The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University as new members. The invitation followed the submission of letters of application from both universities.

"The ACC is a strong united conference that is only going to get better with the addition of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University," said Duke University President Richard Brodhead, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents. "Both schools are committed to competing at the highest level of academics and athletics. We welcome them as full partners in the ACC."

"The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. "Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC's reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States."

"This is an exciting day for the University of Pittsburgh. We have a long history of competing and collaborating with the distinguished universities that already are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have enormous respect for both their academic strengths and their athletic accomplishments," said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "In looking to our own future, we could not envision a better conference home for Pitt and are grateful to the Council of Presidents for extending an invitation to join the ACC community."

"We are very excited to be joining the ACC. This is a tremendous opportunity for Syracuse, and with its outstanding academic quality and athletic excellence, the ACC is a perfect fit for us," said Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University. "The ACC is home to excellent national research universities with very strong academic quality, and is a group that Syracuse will contribute to significantly and benefit from considerably. As a comprehensive, all-sports conference, the ACC provides Syracuse tremendous opportunities for quality competition and growth in all sports, while also renewing some of our historic rivalries. This move will also bolster our continued efforts to look outward, engage, and extend Syracuse's reach to key areas of the country, including the southeast, as we grow and expand our national connections to alumni, partners and the students of the future. We are pleased that Syracuse adds a New York City dimension to the ACC, a region in which we have built strong identity and affinity, and we look forward to bringing ACC games to the Big Apple. Overall, for Syracuse, this opportunity provides long-term conference stability in what is an uncertain, evolving, and rapidly shifting national landscape."

"This is a very significant day for all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Pittsburgh," said Steve Pederson, University of Pittsburgh Director of Athletics. "The strength and quality of the ACC is highly regarded by everyone at Pitt. When we set high expectations for our student-athletes in their academic, athletic and personal goals, it is important to provide every opportunity and resource to enable that success. Joining the ACC and the outstanding institutions in this conference will give every Pitt student-athlete the chance to achieve their highest aspirations."

Daryl Gross, Syracuse University Director of Athletics said, "Today is a day that we will remember for years to come. We are truly excited that academically and athletically we will be a member of the ACC, one of the nation's premier collegiate athletic conferences. As New York's College Team, we plan to compete at the highest level across all of our sports and help to enhance this great conference."

About the Atlantic Coast Conference:
Now in its 59th year of competition, the ACC has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. Since the league's inception in 1953, ACC schools have captured 122 national championships, including 65 in women's competition and 57 in men's. In addition, NCAA individual titles have gone to ACC student-athletes 140 times in men's competition and 99 times in women's action.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HUGE WEEKEND!

Auburn@Clemson- This was a great match up last year where Clemson had its chances to beat Auburn and keep them out of the National Championship picture. Obviously 2 things can happen.
1. Auburn has played 2 really close games to start the season and may be ripe for an upset.
2. Clemson is still mad from last years collapse and is looking for an identity. Beating Auburn will help establish that. Hopefully the Home field advantage at "Death Valley" will rally the troops but Auburn plays in this kind of enviornment weekly.


Oklahoma@FloridaState- Great match up on paper. You know what u can do with that paper. This game should be a shootout and these 2 schools have had rough Septembers over the years. They both want to show they are among the nations elite with a lot of action to be settled onthe field in Tallahassee on Saturday.


Ohio State @Miami- letting their flag football fraternity teams play this one. A rematch of the 2001 National Championship game. Had neither team screwed up in the off season or seasons past. This would have beena very interesting match up after Ohio States win in Columbus last year.

WestVirginia@Maryland- The Terps are off to a fast start with those "highly scrutinized" State flag uniforms. But they are playing a team that loves a physical battle and will hit u in the mouth. Miami didn't provide that in Marylands first game. West Virginia has plenty of size and speed to compete in "Turtle town".

ArkansasSt@Va.Tech- East Carolina gave the Hokies fits last weekend in Greenville and home cooking should benefit Va.Tech this weekend. But thats been said before. A la James Madison.

Kansas@Ga.Tech- The Jackets will be trying to avenge last years "upset beatdown" in Lawerence. Kansas looks like they have fallen on hard times since their Orange Bowl appearance just a few years ago.

South Alabama@NCState- The Pack who are licking wounds from their loss at Wake Forest. The question was. Has Wake improved? Or is State regressing?
Time for Mike Glennon to assert himself. This game should help with that.

Conference play starts as well: Virginia @ N.Carolina- Heels need to regroup from its extremely close call with Rutgers. Five turnovers against Virginia and they won't be as fortunate to pull out a win Also Duke heads to Boston College to try and get its first win of the year. The Devils were beat up at home by a really good Stanford team last weekend.


Last year at this time the conference got crushed in its hopes to show the rest of the nation they belong with the big boys! Hopefully they are not sent to the kids table again this year!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Different listening to a game without Woody.

Saturday was a difficult day for many tarheel fans. First off I have been following Carolina football and Basketball for the last 30 something years and have followed only one voice,especially in basketball. Growing up I got accustomed to turning down the volume on TV and turning up the radio. (Now its difficult because one feed is always ahead of the other) The voice that gave u eyes on the radio. Using your radio dial as a description of the direction of the playing field. Even some of the biggest Carolina haters I know hated to see him go. Nothing against Jones Angell but he has some really big shoes to fill. Still remember as a kid playing ball and pretending Woody was doing play by play. His voice gave us memories we will never forget. So many times when watching on TV and u needed a little umph that only Woody could provide. So u would sneak away or walk outside to put Woody on the radio in the car or hide in one of the bedrooms and listen to game on a clock radio. Many people listened to Woody on a headset while attending a basketball or football game. Woody made a lot of Tarheel fans become superstitious by saying,"its time for u to go where you go and do what u do" That means its crunch time and go do what ever you do to will the Heels to a win. Carolina has had some amazing wins over the years and listening to Woody calling those moments are unforgetable. Durham has been behind the microphone for 13 of the Tar Heels' 18 Final Fours, as well as four national championships (1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.Durham's tenure has spanned the college careers of some of the storied basketball program's biggest names, including Phil Ford, Michael Jordan, Antawn Jamison and Tyler Hansbrough. He also called games during the football careers of Lawrence Taylor, Amos Lawrence and Julius Peppers, among others. He also broadcasted 23 bowl games.

Woody's sons now follow in his footsteps; Wes, a five-time Georgia Sportscaster of the Year, will be in his 14th year as the play-by-play broadcaster at Georgia Tech and his fifth as the voice of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. Taylor is the network affiliations manager for International Sports Properties in Winston-Salem, NC.
We will miss u Woody! Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You will never be forgotten!

We all remember the night, the broadcast, the game,The Pit in Albuquerque, and a miracle that will be talked about forever and then some. NC State lost a legend. Lorenzo Charles lost his life in an unfortunate accident off of Interstate 40 exit ramp yesterday. Growing up here and being a fan of their rival in Chapel Hill. The name Lorenzo Charles became a icon in the State of North Carolinas rich basketball tradition in April of 1983. Seconds remained and we all remember the call by Wally Ausley(NCState announcer). Some of us had to listen to the game on a clockradio hidden under our pillow at Military School. It was after taps and some of us were hoping not to get caught listening. State had come out of a time out with 44 seconds left. I remember States offense was perimeter oriented and relied heavily on outside shots. They shot their way back into a game where Houston could not hit a freethrow at all. Like Jimmy V PREACHED "We want to be in a position to win the game at the end". Whittenberg shoots his 35 ft prayer and Charles answered it with 2 seconds left. Making this night one of the most memorable ever. He became a stud for the Pack his last two years. Had a little run with the NBAs Atlanta Hawks and in European Leagues. He had many friends abroad and on facebook. Also had an enormous smile and zest for life. Jimmy V will hug and take care of him. Lorenzo you will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Interesting Times for State Fans


While the Championship game last night depressed most of the country, NC State Fans are glued to twitter for every last bit of misinformation they can digest. I have to admit after reading Debbie Yow's Letter to Fans last night, I felt like reaching for a Xanax.

Most people think we are insane and I'm pretty sure we need to setup a non-profit to explain to the rest of the world what it is like for the generation of rabid NC State fans who grew up during the David Thompson era, went to NC State during the Valvano era, and have purchased season tickets throughout the Les Robinson, Herb Sendek, and Sidney Lowe era. I'm pretty sure we are a very unique group with a yet to be named condition that drives our behavior. It is a hard life for those of us who still care so much. I've actually apologized to my 10 year old son that he couldn't grow up a UNC fan, but it just wasn't going to happen, and he continues to learn what it is like to celebrate seldom and look for silver linings in the small things like "At least Wake finished worse".

I'm pretty sure most logical analysts assume Shaka would be at an NC State press conference by now. I don't think it is State fans over-estimating the value of the job to have believed he would take our "offer". We are quick to optimism though, and Greg Marshall was the better hire. But when that doesn't happen, you can't help but panic a bit.

What could have gone wrong in these two cases. Most likely these guys have roots now, the money is pretty damn awesome in their current jobs, at least from where they imagined they might be at this point, and they both have wives who get a huge vote in whether to pick up the kids and move somewhere else, especially when they do know that one possible outcome is in 4 years most of the people closest to them might not be too happy with the job their husband is doing. I could be the mostly insane Gary Williams telling anyone who will listen that Debbie Yow is an evil bitch. Most coaches know Gary is crazy, but he's also a respected coach that doesn't cheat, and I imagine he's a blast to hang out with, and some of the things he says are likely hard to ignore in those private conversations. I do believe he's made it a mission to spread ill-will where Yow is concerned. Who knows if he's telling the truth or not, but at this point I think he's a Dick and can't wait to beat the crap out of his team regularly someday.

Back to the panic State fans are feeling right now. Took me a couple of hours to gain some perspective on this, but I'm actually feeling optimistic at the moment. There are a couple of big points to think about

1) People keep wanting a home-run hire. With the exception of a few names which everyone feels like just couldn't miss (Barnes, Miller), anything beyond that is all about "Winning the Press Conference". People wanted a name where national media would say "Wow, NC State did a great job with this hire". While I'd love to see Billy Donovan on the podium accepting the NC State job, just so we could throw it in the face of many national writers who said NC State fans are delusional in thinking NC State is an attractive job, that isn't what is important here.

Most successful coaches weren't home-run hires. If you go back to Coach K and Jim Valvano, local fans were disappointed. If you think about more recent hires that were the most exciting to fans at the time of the hire, I think most would say that UVA hiring Pete Gillan was just about as sure a thing as you could get that year. Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech was the hottest name around that year. Both of these saw early flashes of success but ended in failure. Shaka Smart I think is going to be a great coach. Who knows, maybe he is a great coach right now. But there is also a reasonable chance he would have gotten in over his head, that he isn't ready yet for what would face him, and it would have ended badly 5 years from now.

My point is, don't despair just because we aren't getting the first guys we've asked. Some amount of this is just guessing, projecting what might be, and you just don't always know what is good and what is bad in the long run.

2) I'd really encourage fans to re-read Yow's Letter. On the surface fans are reading it as a very negative thing, talking about the rebuilding required, those who have said no, and leaves the impression that we are back to square one.

With a half nights sleep and a little time to think about it, I believe this letter isn't written for the benefit of State fans at all, but is written for those coaches she is talking to today. You could certainly imagine a coach being approached today thinking in the back of his mind something along the lines of "I'd like this job, but will everyone see me as being the tenth coach asked, second best, desperate if I take this job"?

What Yow has done is offered cover for that coach by calling every other coach who said no a wuss. She's basically saying that everyone else we showed strong interest in was chicken, not up to the challenge. This allows our next coach to be shown in the light as a great coach who wasn't afraid of maybe the biggest challenge in college basketball. I like and respect this tact, and I hope it will help us land a great coach.

Only time will tell, and maybe we'll review this post in 5 years. I'll still be at State games regardless, but maybe by then my seats will be low enough to spit on Gary Williams at least once a year :)

For the latest and always accurate news on where things really are with the search, check out Dave Glenn at noon on
http://www.wralsportsfan.com

or on his blog at
http://www.accsports.com/

Monday, March 28, 2011

Now, back to important stuff


Now that this whole distraction of the heels being alive (sorry Brad) is over, everyone is getting back to talking about something important, NC State's next coach.

Mostly reliable sources confirm Barnes did come to Raleigh last Monday, but has removed his name from consideration. Rumors of some weird stuff in Barnes' personal life played into both his interest and him saying no eventually.

Last Friday morning, before the Duke win. Sean Miller's dad took the heat off Sean by saying the family had talked about it, and he didn't want to be considered for the State job. Don't be surprised if he hasn't heard directly from someone connected to State since the loss Saturday though.

Rumors continue to fly that State is/has worked out a potential deal with Shaka Smart's agents, which will be presented to Shaka at the end of their run. Somewhat hard to believe he will be at VCU next year, but I also don't see State throwing major big-time money at him. In some ways I don't see State hiring him based on this ncaa run, so the question is was he on Yow's b list before the NCAA's. He's obviously really impressive, but his track record is short and skeen was a transfer, although you could figure he may have recruited him there. My guess is that Missouri or Oklahoma may be in the mix for Smart, and state won't get into a bidding war over someone with 2 years head coaching experience. But, if the A list runs dry, you could sure see State fans getting excited over a guy that is this young, connects with kids, and is sure to outlive the neighboring giants.

Tim Brando tweeted yesterday that he was hearing rumblings of a monster ncstate hire. That's all he said. Rumors went crazy on Miller and Barnes again, but some chance that it was something started by our old nemesis Greg Doyell, who has some talk about Billy Donovan and NC State. Can't imagine State paying Donovan money (3.5M) for Donovan.

Also rumors of deal with Mike Brey have been floating around. That one actually could make a lot of sense.

Greg Marshall, Oliver Pernell, Mark Turgeon and a couple of other names keep popping up. Unless she misses on everyone, I still expect it to be a head coach and not a top assistant. Some State fans are asking why not look at Chris Collins or Wojo. In some ways it makes a lot of sense, but the mixed bag (actually more negative than positive) of K's assistants make it somewhat risky at this point.

Let me be the first to say publicly that because this decision can have an effect for the rest of my lifetime as a State fan, it is HUGE. IF a deal doesn't materialize that is A list or very high B, while it would look pathetic publicly, would kill 2 years worth of recruiting, would hurt ticket sales, and would piss off Wolfpack Nation, there is another scenario here. If the right guy isn't going to happen this year, does Yow have the guts to publicly say, "We can't get the guy we want this year, but we will get him, so for now we are naming Towe (whoever) interim coach for 1 year".



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tudor: UNC's '77 loss to Marquette still stings - North Carolina - NewsObserver.com

Tudor: UNC's '77 loss to Marquette still stings - North Carolina - NewsObserver.com MY FAVORITE TEAM EVER!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Drew ends tumultuous career with mysterious departure - WRALSportsFan.com

Drew ends tumultuous career with mysterious departure - WRALSportsFan.com SELFISH!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Halfway almost complete

Its a long season,but the picture looks a little clearer than a month ago. There is Duke, who still has the best team in the Conference and is entitled to having a bad day. (St Johns). Only wish the performance happened in conference play. But it also shows how good the Big East is. They will get 8-9 teams in tournament come March. The ACC may get 4, 5 if they are lucky. And 6 if there is a team who gets hot at the right time! WAKE UP STATE!!!!!

The team playing the best ball is North Carolina. Their demolishing of a pretty good Boston College team at their place was a preview of things to come. This has been the best Carolina performance since the NCAA Final in 2009. The next 3 games for them is very critical.They are home against Florida St,@Duke @Clemson. Barnes and company are finally playing better and the pt guard situation is getting bettter.

Florida State, Virginia Tech, Maryland,BC,Miami and Clemson will have to battle to avoid opening round ACC Tournament appearances. State, Virginia, Ga.Tech and Wake Forest not so much.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2nd is up for grabs. Congrats Coach K

Say what u want. Its time to see who can battle for 2nd place in the Regular Season of the ACC. 3rd and 4th will be up for grabs as well. And worse if you don't kick it into gear quickly. It looks like Duke can go undefeated in the ACC. Even saying "anything can happen" doesn't sound that great right now. It has been a rough start for the conference.

Congrats to Coach K and his achievement in passing Coach Smith for second on the all time record(I know game is the 29th) You coaches have been a thrill for this area! You two have made College and USA Basketball even more exciting that it already was. Still the best for holding egos in check!