Friday, December 28, 2007

All I want for Christmas is a new ACL
NC State's Degand Out for Season, NC - Dec 24, 2007
Degand, a 6-foot-4, 178-pound native of Boston, has started all 10 games for the Wolfpack, averaging 6.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 28.6 minutes per game. ...

The Money Times
UNC's Frasor tears ACL
Sports Network - 9 hours ago
Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) - North Carolina reserve guard Bobby Frasor will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee ...
Heels' Frasor Out For The Year With Torn ACL
UNC's easy win comes with a big loss MSNBC
Ellington on the mark as Tar Heels clobber NevadaSports Network

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back from Cuba

Not a headline you see often, but I had the really rare opportunity to spend a week in Cuba, which explains the long absence of posts. Net connections are really painful to come by there, as is Diet Coke and just about anything else American. I did manage to hear about State's win over Davidson, but haven't seen or heard much else of sports at all for about 10 days.

One quite unique thing worth posting here did happen. I hadn't really noticed, but I went nearly a week without seeing a single UNC related thing. Really nothing ACC related at all there, but it is hard to go anywhere in the world without seeing a tarheel shirt, hat, logo, something. Never did. But about 5 days into the trip, a friend points out someone with a sweatshirt I needed to check out. It was a tour group checking into our hotel from somewhere in Europe. On the back of the hood it says "Raleigh, NC". Really wasn't something I'd expect to see in Havana. Went to talk to her. As she turned around, it was a very old "NCSU" sweatshirt. If she understood English, she couldn't understand my southern version of it, so really couldn't find out how she had come by it or if she even knew what the letters meant, but it was very cool to see it there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

3 fouls in 16 seconds

I'm sure it has happened before, but I don't remember it.

Vasquez loss too much

After being called for a backcourt violation in the first half, Greivis Vasquez thought about pleading his case, but instead went over to a referee and gave him a hug.

By the end of last night's loss against Boston College, it's safe to say Vasquez had considerably less affection for the game's officials.

In a span of 16 seconds, Vasquez picked up his third, fourth and fifth fouls - the final one a technical, when he smacked the padding on Boston College's basket in frustration of the previous foul call.

"That was the key situation of the game, when he got his fifth foul, without committing his fifth foul," coach Gary Williams said.

"I've never seen a player get that many fouls in that short of time, so it was kind of stunning that he fouled out that quickly," said guard Eric Hayes, who at the time thought the technical was only Vasquez's fourth foul.

Vasquez fouled out with 10:30 remaining in the second half, and could only be a spectator in the final quarter of the game, as he watched the Terps give up a lead which he helped build. Full Story...

WRAL Archives

I use google alerts to help keep up with new stories. Interestingly, some very old stories have been popping up. I'll take a guess that maybe WRAL is slowly going through their entire story archive and putting really old stuff on the web, and in the process, those stories show up as new.

Anyway, just saw this one pop up. Or, maybe, since it is something written by Tim Peeler, maybe it is something special he is doing to follow the 83 teams track to the championship. Now that I think of it, the couple of others I saw were from 83 as well, so maybe this is somehow related to his new book When March Went Mad.

Harold Thompson Lends Hand vs. Michigan State
State 1983 Michigan State VO

By Tim Peeler

N.C. State junior Harold Thompson made the most of his 57 seconds on the floor Saturday night against Michigan State.

The junior from Raeford, the last recruit signed by former Wolfpack coach Norman Sloan, didn’t mind that he was limited to that lone minute, since it happened during some of the most important moments of the No. 18 Wolfpack’s 45-41 victory over the Spartans at Reynolds Coliseum.

His first steal of the season secured the Wolfpack’s fourth consecutive victory and ensured that third-year coach Jim Valvano and his team (4-0) will go into a 10-day break for exams with an unblemished record.

Thompson, inserted in favor of senior guard Dereck Whittenburg as a last-ditch attempt to stop Spartan star Sam Vincent, deflected an inbounds pass from MSU forward Derek Perry to N.C. State senior guard Sidney Lowe. Teammate Thurl Bailey put the finishing touches on the old-style victory with a pair of free throws with one second remaining.

“Vincent was trying to run me off the top of the pick,” Thompson said. “I knew if I got caught on the pick, he’d get the ball. So when the guard set the pick, I stepped around him and ran right to Vincent and got my hands on the ball.”
Worth checking out the WRAL page for this, as they have video story on it. Worth a watch just to see:
  • A much thinner, faster Sidney Lowe.
  • Reynolds in action.
  • A bit of V on the sidelines.
  • That insanely short 3-point line the ACC used in '83. (My range pretty much ends 6 inches beyond the current 3, and I dread the day it gets moved back, but anybody could shoot from that 1983 line).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

ECU Scores First Ever Hoops Win Against ACC...

Unfortunately It's Against The Wolfpack

In another of those W.T.F games, NC State looks out of sync against ECU in Greenville. In the opening minutes of each half, the Pack looked like they would blow the Pirates out of Minges Coliseum, but after falling behind 11-7 and 47-38, the Pirates hit a parade of circus shots to win 75-69.

ECU guard Sam Hinnat had the game of career hitting 10 of 13 from the field including 6 of 8 from downtown for 30 points to pace the Pirates. Gavin Grant led the Pack with 25, but missed 2 key free-throws with the score tied at 64 with 2:27 left in the game.

After Gavin missed the free-throws, Hinnat hit a 3-pointer with 2:13 left to put ECU up by three and then Cory Farmer stole the inbound pass and hit a jumper with 2:05 left to put the Pirates up by 5.

After starting the game 21 of 23 from the line, the Wolfpack missed 5 of 6 free-throws down the stretch.

I think we can officially that unless the chemistry problems are resolved quickly, the Wolfpack is in trouble. Just too many wild shots and turnovers when the Pirates could not match up with Hickson and Grant. Let's hope that Marques Johnson is ready to handle the point when the first semester ends.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sendek at ASU

Nice N&O Article on how Arizona State is embracing Herb Sendek. I really hope over time he can build a strong team there. It took some of us longer than others, but I think most fans were glad when Herb moved on, but I also think we all appreciate what he did to turn around an NC State program that was completely lost. I hope in a few years State will start playing ASU, and I believe Herb would get a warm welcome back to the RBC Center. It just may take a few more years...

They call themselves the Herbivores. Without any reference to plant-eating animals, student fans at Arizona State created the moniker and accompanying T-shirt last season to pay homage to new basketball coach Herb Sendek.

"It makes no sense, but it has a nice ring to it," said ASU senior communications major Jacob Krug, who was sitting in the front row of the student section at Wells Fargo Arena last week in a gold shirt stenciled with a black and white profile of the former N.C. State coach.

Krug's buddy, Jack Leary, helped co-design the shirt with a picture that looks like a play on the work of John Tsombikos, the elusive graffiti artist who two years ago taunted Raleigh with his subversive Borf wall tags.

In considering Sendek -- the coach many N.C. State fans liked to dislike -- they overlooked the "boring offense" gripes, the "dull personality" complaints, the "he can't beat Duke or North Carolina" concerns and welcomed a successful stranger to a place that had never forged a significant basketball tradition.

"We listened, we knew what they were saying," Leary said of State fans. "But we were going to find out for ourselves."

With such an open welcome, Sendek has found a basketball home in the desert where his soft-spoken monotone, highbrow vocabulary, dry wit and 3-point bombing style seem to suit the locals just fine. More...

Duke vs. Michigan

Michigan comes to cameron today for a 2pm game on CBS in HD. This was once such an amazing rilvalry. I made it to one of those classic games when the Fab5 came to cameron. I've never seen Carolina play there in person, but I can't imagine even those games out-do the fire in the building on those nights. You just can't understate how much Duke and Duke fans hated the fab 5 and everything they stood for, and there was nothing quite as sweet as beating them.

It has been a long time since Michigan has been good. Tommy Amaker could just never get over the hump. We'll never know whether the probations and sanctions left by Steve Fisher and the Fab 5 were the reason, or if Tommy just wasn't the right guy for Michigan. Personally, I'd love to see Michigan be good again. Much like Spurrier at Florida, Patino at Kentucky, Tubbs at Oklahoma, some teams you just want to be good because it is so much fun to hate them. (subscription)
UM can't rest yet: Duke's up next, MI - 1 hour ago
6-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It's the end of a brutal stretch for Michigan (3-5), which has dropped five of its last six games and is coming off ...
Unbeaten Duke faces slumping Michigan HoopsWorld
Michigan Heads To No. 6 Duke Saturday
Michigan, Duke renew once classic series Burlington Times News

This is a powerhouse!

App State Headed to FCS Title Game

Appalachian State began the season by stunning Michigan and will end it playing for a record third straight national championship.

The Mountaineers can thank their elusive and versatile quarterback for their latest victory.

Armanti Edwards rushed for 313 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 182 yards and three more scores as Appalachian State advanced to the Football Championship Subdivision title game with a 55-35 win over Richmond Friday night.

Edwards dominated on the ground as the Mountaineers built a 21-point lead. After Richmond rallied to tie, Edwards went to the air to put it away.

His 29-yard TD pass to tight end Nic Cardwell with 10 minutes left made it 49-35. His 13-yard TD pass to Cardwell with 5:27 left iced it.

Edwards' yards rushing were the most by a quarterback in FCS — formerly Division I-AA — history, and 20 shy of the playoff rushing record. He also completed 14 of 16 passes in a nearly flawless performance that ended with the fans tearing down the goal posts, the same way they did when the Mountaineers won 34-32 at Michigan in the first week of the season.

Behind Edwards' shiftiness and bursts of speed, Appalachian State (12-2) won its fifth straight game and will play the winner of Saturday's Delaware-Southern Illinois game for the title Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn.... More...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wake says not so fast...

Got to love how these reports contradict so quickly. Let's hope he's staying...
AD says Grobe staying at Wake, not headed to Arkansas - College ... - 33 minutes ago

Wake Forest football coach Jim Grobe will return next season to the Demon Deacons, rebuffing an apparent attempt to lure him to Arkansas to replace Houston ...
ESPN - 262 related articles »
Grobe to Arkansas? If so, the SEC just got a lot tougher - Atlanta Journal Constitution - 45 related articles »

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Grobe to Arkansas

This is really bad news for Wake Forest fans. Jim Grobe was the perfect coach for Wake Forest. I'm sure this was a really hard decision for Grobe. But you really can't blame him. While no doubt there could have been more ACC championships in his future every ten years or so, there is simply no way to compete for a national championship at Wake Forest. It just isn't possible. But it is certainly possible at Arkansas, and you have to believe this is one of those "once in a lifetime" chances that is just too hard to pass up.

So now, both Wake Forest and Duke are looking for pretty much the same guy, a coach with D1 experience, clean as a whistle, and an innovative offensive mind. I have to believe Wake gets their guy before Duke does.

Arkansas Offers Wake Forest's Grobe, AR - 1 hour ago
by Chris Bahn FAYETTEVILLE — Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe is expected to be named Thursday as head football coach at Arkansas, multiple sources confirmed. ...
Arkansas Hires Wake Forest's Grobe To Lead Razorbacks KHBS/KHOG 40/29

The end of V Week

Anyone who spent a minute on ESPN in the last week knows they had their inaugural V Week.

I've given to the V foundation in the past, but never often enough and I just made a donation and would invite any readers to do the same. It only takes about a minute at

The money will do some real good, and you'll feel great about doing it.

I was at NC State starting in '84 and got to see V raise the championship banner. I can't describe what a treat it was to go to games in Reynolds while he was the coach. But what was certainly a much more rare treat was the many practices I watched, either from the upper level of Reynolds, or from the balcony in the gym when they were forced to practice there.

There is even today no shortage of people who all too quickly point out Valvano's flaws, and he had plenty of flaws. But he also had enthusiams and thirst to squeeze something great out of almost every moment of his life. Somehow, that amazing drive and the personality he shared in pursuit of his dreams and desires touched people in very lasting ways. I never met him personally, but I still feel like he touched me in ways that still motivate me today. And I think a clear sign of his ability to touch and motivate people still shows in a lot of people, ranging from his players, most who have gone on to really nice success, to all of those at ESPN who worked with him. In this age of short corporate memories, especially given the fact that ESPN is now part of mega-corp Disney, Valvano's legacy and cause could have easily been long forgotten. The fact that ESPN has committed more time and resources to the V foundation this year than ever before is a clear testament to how much V touched the lives of those who knew him well.

Duke's Pocius done

Season ending ankle surgery will mean a red-shirt for Pocious. He wasn't looking like a vital part of the team, but this combined with McClure's very slow comeback from his injury makes Duke a little thinner.

Duke's Pocius done for the season

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Big East Championship Game...

One of the fears going into expansion was that the a couple of Big East teams would come in and dominate. In fact the two teams were put into the same division so the survivor could face the expansion team that joined the league in the 90's in the championship game every year. If Bobby's team had a bad year, no problem, his son's team would be able to face one of the big bad expansion teams from the Big East in the championship game. No one really worried about the other expansion team. They were just a middle of the road team that would win seven or eight games and not compete for a division title. Little did anyone realize that Miami and FSU's football programs would tank and that this little private school from Boston would find just the right quarterback to carry them to the conference championship game.

1:00 PM

Boston College vs. Virginia Tech
Jacksonville, Fla. (Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game)
TV: ABC (XM 190/191/192)
Championship Site ACC ISP Sports Radio Network ACC Championship Saturday Preview Show

Here we go, Tech and BC for a trip to the Orange Bowl… Think about it if Tech had played just five more minutes of defense in the first game between these teams they would be playing for a shot at the BCS Championship Game… BC’s season has been one to remember, but one has to wonder how many of their fans will remember to go to their bowl game if they don’t make it to the Orange Bowl…

Matt Ryan is by far the best QB in the ACC. In my mind his signature moments were the comeback wins at Va Tech and at Clemson. Not too many visiting QB’s can say they have won games in Death Valley and in Blacksburg, during the same season. None of them can say that the led last minute come backs that stunned the home crowd. Ironically, the Eagles face a Hokie team that has struggled some at QB this season. Tyrod Taylor has added a spark to the offense with is play making ability, but after a disastrous start, Sean Glennon has played well down the stretch and given the Hokies a passing threat. People often say that if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. That’s not the case here as both of these guys can hurt you. It reminds me of when NC State rotated Charles Davenport and Shane Montgomery at QB the year they beat Iowa in the Peach Bowl.

Now to the game. Tech will definitely remember that they let one get away from them when these teams played in Blacksburg. I am sure Bud Foster’s defense will not change up and go to the prevent if they have a late lead. The key is to keep pressure on Ryan. The bad news for the Hokie Defense is that there is only a slight chance of rain today in Jacksonville. The Eagles will have to avoid giving up the big plays on special teams. Ryan will have to have a complete game and not count on being able to come back late in the game. Although on paper it looks like a ticked off Hokie team should be able to handle BC, remember the last time the Hokies were in the Championship Game they lost to a very underwhelming Florida State team… Hokies 28-24

Friday, November 30, 2007


I'm pretty good about not going off topic too much, but this is a bummer.

Daredevil Evel Knievel dead at 69

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Evel Knievel, the hard-living motorcycle daredevil whose exploits made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69.

Knievel's death was confirmed by his granddaughter, Krysten Knievel. He had been in failing health for years, suffering from diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition that scarred his lungs.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ACC 8, Big Ten 3

No surprise after the first 6 games, but the ACC won the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the 9th straight time. Carolina, Maryland, and BC all took care of business. Virgina Tech lost a close one at Penn State.

As bad as Duke made Wisconsin look on Tueday, Michigan State did worse to NC State. MSU is a very good team, it is a bad matchup for the Wolfpack, and nobody should be surprised that Lowe's team would lose this one. But NC State was a complete flop. The offense was absolutely terrible, but the worse thing is after a few minutes of every shot rolling in for MSU and nothing going in for NC State, the players just gave up. They were beat down the floor repeatedly, and for the most part they didn't give anything close to the effort required to play at that level.

I'm a bit of a New Orleans Saints fan. The Saints have tons of talent, but have under-achieved big-time this year, including a 0-4 start. My theory has been that last year, a team that wasn't expected to do much, suddenly had big success, then had a long off-season of everyone telling them they were great, and how great they were going to be next season. The net result was they all expected success rather than working hard to be ready to earn it. They came in with the mindset "We Are Good", rather than "If we work we can be good". Then, when pushed, they hadn't put in enough work to be mentally tough and ready to respond to adversity.

I'm wondering if the same thing applies to NC State. Despite a mediocre season, the post season success of NC State left an after-glow in the team and the fan base. That success, the hot young coach, the top 10 recruit, all led the fans and media to tell these kids how good they were going to be. And I suspect some players began to expect that success, rather that work to get it.

The challenge now for Sidney Lowe is to get back to the drawing board. It is time to build some mental toughness in this team. It is time to teach these kids how to play some decent man-to-man defense. It is time to either teach them how to execute the offense, or possibly rework the offensive scheme a bit so they aren't having to look back to the bench each time down the court for a play call.

Enough of that rant. Congratulations to the ACC once a gain.

Some random blog posts:
We Own the Big 10... how about a new challenge?
ACC-Big Ten Enough of this ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The ACC needs to move up a notch. I think maybe a ACC-Ohio Valley Conference Challenge next year would be more exciting?
ACC Beats Big Ten Again In Challenge
Challenge this
Mich. State wins Big Ten/ACC Challenge (AP) t’s like being the best player on a bad team. Game after game, you do your job but the rest of the team just doesn’t contribute enough to get a win.
Around ACC Nation
NC State Falls Hard To Michigan State, 81-58

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ACC 5, Big Ten 1

Too soon to call it another dominant year for the ACC in the Challenge, but Tuesday night couldn't have gone much better. I didn't get to see any of Virginia stomping of a BAD Northwestern team, but watched much of the other 4 games.

Georgia Tech had a chance and did a great job of staying in an obviously tough game, but there just is no way to overcome Eric Gordon's 29 points. Based on the performance though, I'd say Tech has some ACC wins coming their way this year.

FSU was too much for Minnesota. Tubby Smith is going to have a couple of lean years as he installs his system and waits to bring in the kinds of players that can run it.

Probably the most exciting game was Clemson hosting Purdue. No doubt Clemson is a different team without James Mays playing. There is talk about him being out 6 weeks. Let me be the first to vote for Red Shirting him. But Clemson is FUN. They pressed 90% of the game, have some fun guards to watch, and KC River's is a man. Oh yeah, they still can't shoot free throws, which is what kept this one close.

No big surprise, but the Duke/Wisconsin game never was close. I've had problems liking Duke of late. I think first I hated them, mostly because of repeated slaughters of NC State, then as those faded, they just weren't a fun team to watch. This year, they are fun. At positions 1 thru 4, Duke is the best team in the country. That 5 slot is where their problems will come, and we'll see what teams come along that can take advantage of that. I know we can almost certainly look forward to two matchups between Duke and Carolina with both of them in the top 5.

Tonights slate:

7:00 p.m. ESPN N.C. State at Michigan State
7:30 p.m. ESPN2 Illinois at Maryland
7:00 p.m. ESPNU Boston College at Michigan
9:00 p.m. ESPN North Carolina at Ohio State
9:30 p.m. ESPN2 Virginia Tech at Penn State

Some random blog postings on the challenge:
The ACC Smashes The Big Ten. Again.
ACC Continues Dominance Over Big Ten
Big 10 stereotypes proving true
MSU fans realize the Pack is a legit threat. ACC is KING.
Lawson may be out but Buckeyes still worried about stopping Hansbrough
Big Ten-ACC Challenge Notebook #1
Thoughts from Clemson
The ACC, the Big 10, and their so-called "challenge."
My thoughts on tonights slaughter
Big Ten/ACC Running Diary - Rambling thoughts

Washington Post
No. 15 Indiana 83, Georgia Tech 79 Hoosiers up to this ACC challenge
Indianapolis Star, United States - 9 hours ago
By Terry Hutchens BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jamarcus Ellis came to Indiana with the reputation of a player who could pretty much produce whatever his team needed ...
College Basketball Roundup Indiana Rallies to Keep Home Win Streak ... New York Times
Gordon Leads Indiana Past Georgia Tech The Associated Press
Indiana beats Georgia Tech 83-79, extending home win streak to 21 ...Indianapolis Star
Minnesota vs. Florida State Recap, November 27, 2007
ESPN - 9 hours ago
Florida State won 75-61.(AP Photo/Phil Coale) Associated Press TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Isaiah Swann's 15 points led a balanced Florida State attack ...
Recap: Florida State vs. Minnesota Macon Telegraph
Florida State Hands Gophers First Loss of Tubby Smith
Florida State tops Minnesota 7561 in ACC/Big Ten challenge ... KXMC

Rivers helps No. 18 Clemson over Purdue
Sports Network - 11 hours ago
Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - KC Rivers recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, as 18th-ranked Clemson held on to nip the Purdue ...
Clemson Beats Purdue on Rivers' Shot The Associated Press
Glockner: Clemson off to yet another good start ESPN
Purdue vs. Clemson Preview, November 27, 2007 ESPN

The Associated Press
No. 7 Duke Dominates No. 20 Wisconsin
The Associated Press - 6 hours ago
Mike Krzyzewski and Duke sure know how to handle a Big Ten test. Making up for a glaring size disadvantage by turning up the tempo, the seventh-ranked Blue ...
Duke outruns taller Badgers in 82-58 romp Baltimore Sun
Duke finds shortcut to victory over Wisconsin San Jose Mercury News
Duke thumps Wisconsin Chicago Tribune

The Free Lance-Star
Cavaliers Down Northwestern in ACC/ Big Ten Challenge
WCAV, VA - 13 hours ago
The Cavalier Men's Basketball Team hit 16 three pointers, 12 in the first half, and stormed to a 94-52 win over Northwestern in the ACC/ Big Ten Challenge. ...
RATCLIFFE: You call this a Challenge? Charlottesville Daily Progress
Cavaliers let 'em fly deep MEN'S HOOPS 94, n'western 52 The Free Lance-Star
Northwestern vs. Virginia Recap, November 27, 2007 ESPN

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Funniest Football Penalty of the Year

Downplaying the Challenge

This article caught my eye. No big surprise that its writer is in the heart of Big Ten country. I was wondering this morning why on earth the Big Ten continues play the ACC. They never win it. NEVER. I guess there must be so much money on the line.

Challenge games aren't what counts

Games will be battles, but madness to think March bids on line

Don't be misled as you watch this week's Big Ten/ACC Challenge. That is just a grandiose title that barely brushes up against reality.

This is no challenge at all, no smackdown to determine a conference's superiority or settle where the best basketball is played. It is simply a bunch of early-season games. Full Story from Chicago Tribune...

ACC 1, Big Ten 0

Wake Forest remains unbeaten after knocking off Iowa

Video Highlights
Photo Wire

Wake Forest's Chas McFarland shoots over Iowa's Jarryd Cole during the second half of this college basketball game, Monday, Nov. 26, 2007, in Iowa City, Iowa. McFarland scored 15 points as Wake Forest won 56-47. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

· View photo | View gallery
Team Stat Comparison

Points 56 47
FG Made-Attempted 19-56 (.339) 19-50 (.380)
3P Made-Attempted 1-15 (.067) 2-15 (.133)
FT Made-Attempted 17-26 (.654) 7-18 (.389)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
Largest Lead 17 2
Game Leaders
PointsC. McFarland 15J. Cole 14
ReboundsC. McFarland 8K. Looby 10
AssistsI. Smith 2J. Peterson 7
StealsI. Smith 4J. Peterson 1
BlocksC. McFarland 3K. Looby 3
· Team Stats: Wake Forest | Iowa
Game Flow
2007-08 Season
· Nov 26, 2007 WAKE 56, @IOWA 47Recap | Box Score
Next 5 Games
11/29 @CHAR 7:00pm
12/01 SEC 1:00pm
12/05 @VAN 8:00pm
12/08 @UGA 2:00pm
12/16 BUCK 2:00pm
11/30 ULM 9:05pm
12/05 @UNI 9:05pm
12/08 @ISU 2:00pm
12/14 DRKE 8:05pm
12/29 SELA 9:05pm
· Complete Schedule: Wake Forest | Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Chas McFarland scored a career-high 15 points and Wake Forest remained unbeaten under first-year coach Dino Gaudio with a 56-47 victory over Iowa on Monday night.

The matchup in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge was sloppy and a struggle offensively at both ends. But Wake Forest (4-0) made enough shots to build an early 11-point lead, increased its margin to 16 at the half and had no trouble holding off the Hawkeyes (4-3) in the second half.Jamie Skeen added 11 points for Wake Forest, which won on the road for the first time since beating Miami last Jan. 6. Full Story...

Monday, November 26, 2007

ACC/Big Ten Challenge Starts NOW!

2007 Big Ten/ACC Challenge Schedule
(All Times ET -- updated July 25, 2007)

Monday, Nov. 26
7:00 p.m. ESPN2 Wake Forest at Iowa

Tuesday, Nov. 27
7:00 p.m. ESPN Georgia Tech at Indiana
7:30 p.m. ESPN2 Minnesota at Florida State
7:00 p.m. ESPNU Northwestern at Virginia
9:00 p.m. ESPN Wisconsin at Duke
9:30 p.m. ESPN2 Purdue at Clemson

Wednesday, Nov. 28
7:00 p.m. ESPN N.C. State at Michigan State
7:30 p.m. ESPN2 Illinois at Maryland
7:00 p.m. ESPNU Boston College at Michigan
9:00 p.m. ESPN North Carolina at Ohio State
9:30 p.m. ESPN2 Virginia Tech at Penn State

Roof to be fired today

Durham Herald is reporting that Ted Roof will be fired today at 2pm, ending his tenure as Duke Football coach.

Offensive Rebounding costs Pack game against Villanova

Offensive Rebounding costs Pack game against Villanova...

Or at least that is what the headline was about to read. The Wolfpack, offensive chemistry still not solved, but less obvious played a good game against #19 Villanova yesterday in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando. But, State's consistent lack of defensive rebounding continued as NC State gave up 18 offensive rebounds, including the apparent game winner with 2.4 seconds left, giving Nova a 1 pt lead.

Then, a strange thing happened on the way to that 1 pt. loss. A few references from the past come to mind as you watch those last 2.4 seconds. Costner makes a 3/4 court baseball pass almost as good as Grant Hill's against Kentucky. Gavin Grant jumps high to pull it down just outside the 3 point circle. Then, as Grant goes up to launch the 3, he's hit on the non-shooting arm. The shot misses badly, which may have helped contribute to the ref calling the foul. 0.4 seconds left and they call a foul. It almost never happens. In fact, I can only remember one other time that a foul on a 3 point shooter has been called at the end of the game like this. State fans will remember it well, because that time it was NC State's Julius Hodge fouling, and it knocked NC State out of the NCAA Tournament against UConn.

I guess what goes around, comes around. Grant hits 2 of 3 to give NC State a 1 point lead. Nova makes a final attempt with a length of the floor pass and an all too scary tip, but State wins the Old Spice Classic.

I'm not sure what these wins mean to NC State at this point in the season. Everyone is still talking about chemistry and seems to be focusing on playing time as possibly a concern for the players. The good news is McCaulley, who previously was singled out as being unhappy, played a great first half and really contributed to this win. Hickson, who has given up his starting spot, made some crucial mistakes early, but made some vital plays late. And Gavin Grant, who helped out as an assistant coach on the bench for crunch time in the South Carolina game, was on the floor for the end of this one, hitting a big 3, then the game winning play. Everyone is involved. While no player is showing consistently great numbers, someone steps up it seems. And, there's no quicker cure for unhappy players than winning. Just look at Randy Moss to prove that one.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

ACC Hoops so far

With so many of us still in football mode, let's do a quick recap of how ACC hoops have gone so far. This year has seen an explosion of pre-season tournaments with almost everyone involved in one. That has meant more early games, a few more upsets, more quality match-ups, and in general a lot of great ball games that not too many people are watching, and even fewer people are attending. ACC-Big Ten Challenge is just around the corner, but a lot has already happened.

Boston College
4-0 with a win over Rhode Island.


5-0 including big win at Mississippi State as well as taking care of business against Old Dominion and Gardner-Webb.

5-0 with impressive wins over Illinois and Marquette.

Florida State
5-2 with win over UAB and a 14 pt beat-down of #24 Florida, but losses to Cleveland State and South Florida.

Ga. Tech
3-2 with wins over Charlotte and Notre Dame, but losses to UNCG and Winthrop.

4-2 with wins over nobody and losses to #1 UCLA and Missouri.

5-0 with wins over Marist and Providence.

NC State
3-1 with bad home loss to New Orleans, but nice tournament win over South Carolina. They play #19 Villanova today.

North Carolina
5-0 with close win over Davidson, and 10 pt. win over a really tough but cold shooting BYU team. Lawson played rolled his ankle and missed all but 2 minutes of this game.

5-1 includes a giant win at Arizona and solid win over Drexel, but a 14 pt. loss to surprisingly good Seton Hall team.

Virgina Tech
2-2 with no good wins and losses to #14 Gonzaga and #23 Butler.

Wake Forest
3-0 but haven't played anyone.

Going into NC States Villanova matchup tonight and the Big Ten Challenge next week, the ACC is 49-10 against non-conference teams.

Making conference comparisons is almost meaningless at this point because schedules vary so much, but here is a snapshot

ACC____________49-10 _____.83
Pac 10__________39-9______.81
Big 12__________47-13______.78
Big East_________55-16_____.77
Big 10___________36-14_____.72
A 10____________46-25_____.65
Conf. USA________30-21_____.59

Saturday, November 24, 2007

State beats Odom

I've always liked Dave Odom, sort of... His teams typically aren't that fun to watch, but he's a solid coach. Would you believe he almost was the NC State coach? I typically don't believe everything I hear, but a former wake assistant swore to me that back after Herb's 5th year or so, when a job was open at Nebraska, there was almost a deal to let Sendek out of his contract at state to go to Nebraska, and Odom was coming from Wake to State, but that ACC Commish said no way, thinking that it was unseemly to have ACC schools raiding other schools for head coaches. I don't know if I believe it, but pretty sure state fans are glad Odom went elsewhere eventually.

This USC team doesn't look like a typical Odom team, with some really solid pressure, often full court. State won and I don't want to diminish how important that is, wins are wins. For about half the game state looked good. Thank god that Brandon got things rolling. But for much of the game, the Wolfpack still appears to be playing very restrained, like they are so focused on running a particular half court play that they do everything much slower than they should be. They seem very tight at times, and also for much of the game the offense doesn't seem to have the flow and amount of movement needed.

Part of it is still adjusting to having a pure post player. I remember back in 84, as State moved from a perimeter dominated team, to a post dominated offense built around Lorenzo Charles, it was a tough adjustment for the team to make, and some players found themselves without a role. For example, super-freshman (and one of my all-time favorite players) Ernie Myers, who was amazing during his freshman year while Whittenberg was out with injury, had a game built very much around the ability to penetrate and post smaller guards. As the team transitioned to having real post play, the lane was no longer open for those drives and guards posting, and Ernie Myers found his scoring opportunities and playing time fade.

You couldn't help but notice that Gavin Grant spent most of the last 10 minutes of the USC game on the bench. I was assuming at the time that he was maybe hurt, but haven't heard anything. He wasn't playing great, and maybe his effort and attitude weren't great, but as a Grant fan, you've got to hope what happened to Ernie isn't about to happen to Grant. Gavin's game certainly excels when the floor is spread. I truly believe that for State to have a very good season, Gavin Grant needs to be a real contributor and score his share of the points. The real challenge for Sidney Lowe it seems this year is to find a way to make adjustments for the improved talent, without having to completely abandon what allowed state to make a great run at the end of last year.

If Sidney Lowe wondered how his NC State basketball team would respond to adversity early in the season, he got a resounding answer on Friday. Trailing South Carolina 49-40 with 10:54 left, the Wolfpack stormed back to post a 63-61 victory over the Gamecocks.

ACC Semi Finals Round 2

12:00 PM

Virginia Tech @ Virginia
Charlottesville, Va.
TV: ESPN2 (XM 192)
This one will be for the Coastal Division Championship and a trip to Jacksonville to take on Atlantic Division Champion BC. I figured the Tech would be in a position to play for the division championship, but who in the world thought UVa would have a shop at the conference title after Wyoming destroyed them? Virginia has won with smoke, mirrors and a heck of a defensive end all season. This has probably be a banner year for heart specialists in the Charlottesville area because Virginia’s six conference wins have been by a total of 20 points, 11 of which come against Duke. The Hokies have done what they always do by play just enough offense to score a few points and then letting the defense and special teams take control of the game. Remember this team is a Matt Ryan miracle away from being undefeated in conference play… You know they want another shot at the Eagles. I don’t Al Groh and his staff have enough magic for the Hokies. VT 27-17

Maryland @ NC State
Raleigh, N.C.
TV: R/LF (XM 191)
Anyone up for a trip to Boise in December? The winner of this one is bowl eligible, and if Miami loses to BC as expected, the winner will fill the last of the ACC’s eight bowl spots and likely get to play on the blue carpet. This one will come down to which team shows up. The Terps have been decimated by injuries, but that didn’t stop them from upsetting BC the week after they lost to the Heels. State has had an impressive turn around in the second half of the season by posting four straight wins before getting blown out at Wake Forest last week. The Wolfpack has to avoid turn-overs in the red zone against a Maryland team that has forced six turnovers in the last three games. Wolfpack 28-14

Miami @ Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
TV: ESPN (XM 190)
BC has a nice scrimmage game to prepare for next week’s ACC title game… Miami is a mess… It looks to me like they quit playing sometime between the overtime loss against NC State and the drubbing that they took against UVa. Randy Shannon had better pray that his recruit’s are the real deal, or he’s going to be in the broadcast booth in the not too distant future. BC 35-10

2:00 PM

Wake Forest @ Vanderbilt
Nashville, Tenn.
TV: (XM 193)
Vandy will be fighting for bowl eligibility while the Deacs look to improve their bowl position. I think the Deacs have just too much of everything for Vandy to handle. Wake 31-17

3:30 PM

Duke @ North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Why is this one on TV? Both teams are bad, although I’ll give the Heels credit, they’ve been exciting while being bad. A few weeks ago this one looked to be a shootout, but the Blue Devils have gotten progressively worse during the season. I think that’s the primary reason that Ted Roof will not be back next season. UNC 38-10

Georgia @ Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga.
TV: ABC (XM 190/232)
Chan Gailey has not beaten Tech’s top rival… That’s not a good sign, just ask Chuck Amato. To make matters worse, the AD that said seven or eight wins a season were all that Tech could expect is no longer around… Look for the dominoes to start falling. Georgia 28-20

5:00 PM

Florida State @ Florida
Gainesville, Fla.
TV: CBS (XM 192)
A win in Gainsville would salvage FSU’s season. A loss would continue a disturbing trend. The ‘Noles must play mistake free football to win. Florida 35-28

7:00 PM

Clemson @ South Carolina

Columbia, S.C.
TV: ESPN2 (XM 193)
Reality can be a disappointing thing. Despite all the expectations, the best Clemson can do is tie for the division title. South Carolina is just hoping for a decent bowl… I’ll bet the Ole football coach doesn’t try to win with defense again… USC fans need to remember, there will be plenty of interesting job openings after the season. Clemson 31-21

Thursday, November 22, 2007

State Survives Tough Ride

It wasn't pretty, and didn't do much to ease fears in State fans that there is something wrong with the Wolfpack, but survive and advance has always been their motto, so I guess State fans can't complain too much.

Sidney moved JJ Hickson to the 6th man spot in search of some chemistry and early on, it didn't help, as Rider led from the 13 minute mark in the first half, until the 13 minute mark in the 2nd. State built as much as an 11 point lead in the 2nd half, but let it get scary until pulling away in the last couple of minutes.

Courtney Fells nailed some big shots to make up for Grant's off game. Hickson played well but defensively had trouble with Rider's All-American Candidate. The one thing from the Sendek era that I think we are going to miss is solid foul shooting. Sendek's last 5 teams were great from the line, and so far it seems like an adventure for the wolfpack when it matters. I'm still really hopeful that this team will find some flow and chemistry soon. They'll get their chance tomorrow at 12:30 against South Carolina in round 2 of the Old Spice Classic.
Fells scored 18 as NC State beats Rider, FL - 1 hour ago
AP Courtney Fells scored 18 points and JJ Hickson had 13 as North Carolina State came from behind to beat Rider 72-63 in the opening round of the Old Spice ...
Gameday: NC State vs. Rider Pack Pride
After surprising loss, Wolfpack trying to find an identity
Wolfpack tries for refocused effort Burlington Times News

Duke owns Maui

Seems that Duke just doesn't lose in this tournament. 12-0 in their history there.

For those of us who somewhat enjoyed Duke's low-scoring, often bad team of last year, the party is over. I'm not ready to say they are better than the Heels, but they are going to be damn good. After watching them on 3 straight nights, I've got a few observations:

  1. For those of us who wondered whether K's involvement in USA basketball was going to hurt the Duke program in some ways, forget about it. K seems energized and excited. He's brought several new things from his experience with the pro's, including more pro sets, the Phoenix Sun's offense, and even at least trying to play some Syracuse style zone courtesy of USA Basketball assistant Jim Boeheim. They don't play it as well as the 'Cuse yet, but then again, neither does Syracuse these days. Also, the Duke assistants got to help run drills for USA Basketball, so they have no doubt learned a lot that will help them get better jobs and help them in recruiting.
  2. Kyle Singler is everything we've heard and more...
  3. Demarcus Nelson looks great. I still think he's undersized for the game he wants to play, and won't be a great pro, but he's going to make a run at All-ACC and win Duke some games.
  4. Greg Paulus has been taking his Ritalin and looks to be in control most of the time, and can really shot the ball.
  5. Gerald Henderson is on the cusp of becoming a STAR.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Loss Numero UNO for the pack

So many things to talk about after the University of New Orleans upsets NC State.

The game was a little too reminiscent of State's collapse against Vanderbilt a few years back in the NCAA Tournament. With a little over a minute to go and a 5 point lead, Degand misses a free throw, UNO pushes the ball up, and Courtney Fells grabs to cut off the penetration. You could make an argument that Fells holds on to make sure the kid doesn't fall, but it really was an intentional foul. Moments later the lead is 1. 45 seconds later, State is down 1 with the ball and about 14 seconds. Gavin Grant does exactly what a senior should, he goes length of the floor to score. Then a bit of luck, magic, or destiny steps in as New Orleans banks in a 3 with 2 seconds to go to win the game.

Sometimes it just happens, sometimes you can make an argument that things like this should happen. When Sidney Lowe got the NC State job, University of New Orleans head coach Monte Towe left the UNO job to become Lowe's assistant. After Katrina the team had to leave New Orleans for Texas. That program and those kids have been through a much different few years than they ever expected. You've got to believe this will be the best memory of their college careers, and sometimes a story like that makes a loss like this a little easier to take.

About a month ago I talked about Pack Basketball and Expectations.
I talked mostly about the pressure to perform when you are expected too. The angle I missed, and shouldn't have is, what happens when players go into a game thinking they are so much better than the opponent that they aren't mentally ready for a battle. I don't think it is a case where you don't try as hard, where you don't give the required physical effort. I just think that mentally at times teams aren't really prepared for the possibility that they will be in a close game that they could lose. And if they face those thoughts with a minute to go in the game, rather than having that mindset from the start, it just isn't possible to get the best results you are capable of. I'm guessing among several other things, that is one thing that happened here.

Friends and I often speculate about whether a coach ever "lets" his team lose. There have been times in the past where I really thought Coach K didn't give a game his all, because he wanted to show the team what could happen when they try to do things there way instead of his. I have no way of knowing if it really ever happens, and I'm certain Lowe didn't let the Pack lose last night. BUT, having said that, I do think there can be such a thing as a good loss. State is very much a work in progress. As good as the talent and some performances have been, there is very little team chemistry yet. They have a lot of work to do to get better, for players and coaches to learn new roles with new personnel. And as much as we all have enjoyed being a ranked team, doing the hard work required might just be easier without rankings, unrealistic expectations, and quite so much JJ hype. We may never truly know if this turns out to be a "good loss", but you can bet Coach Lowe will remind players for the next few years of what happens when they think they are entitled to the win just because they are bigger, stronger, faster, and ranked in the top 25.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ACC Semi Finals Round 1

The Conference could not have planned better with Divisional Championship Games on back to back weekends. The ACC looks to make a statement with another win against a BCS team (Notre Dame is still in the BCS aren't they?)

Unlike BC, I was able to get back on track last week with a 5-1 record...

12:00 PM

Maryland @ Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla.
TV: R/LF (Split) (XM 190)
This one will be the tale of which team shows up… will we see the FSU team that beat ‘Bama and scare the life out of Va Tech before folding in the fourth quarter, or will we see the FSU team that played in the fourth quarter at Va Tech and Miami. Same for the Terps. Are we going to see the team that upset Rutgers and BC, or are we going to see the Terp squad that was bad enough to lose to the Heels? Tough call, be I give the edge to the Terps to make fewer mistakes than the ‘Noles… UMd 28-17

North Carolina @ Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga.
TV: R/LF (Split) (XM 191)
This will be a real heart check for the Heels. How will they do now that they know there will not be a bowl game this year? Tech’s defense is just too good for the Heels lack of a running game. Ga Tech 31-14

2:30 PM

Duke @ Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Ind.
TV: NBC (XM 192)
You know the execs at NBC really have to be thrilled with this one… This will be a true measure of how far the Irish have fallen. Duke 45-35

3:30 PM

Miami @ Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.
TV: ABC (XM 190)
After last week’s Orange Bowl finale, I think the Miami season is over… Tech appears to be clicking as they prepare for next week’s Coastal Division Championship Game against UVa… VT 31-7

4:00 PM

NC State @ Wake Forest

Winston-Salem, N.C.
TV: ESPNU (XM 191)
Wow! Who would have thought that this would be an important game just one month ago? The Deac’s are bowl eligible, the Pack needs to win to become bowl eligible. Wake gave Chuck Amato’s undisciplined defenses at fit with all of their misdirection. This will be a test of how far the new Pack defense has come. Wake is a very solid team despite getting blown out at Clemson. Pack fans well remember how good Clemson is when they are clicking. Andre Brown has been cleared to play, but I think the Pack will stick with Eugene at tailback to keep the rhythm they have found in recent weeks. The Pack has to protect Daniel Evans to win… Just call it a hunch (or a bad dream I had the other night) WFU 20-17

7:45 PM

Boston College @ Clemson
Clemson, S.C.
TV: ESPN2 (XM 192/193)
ACC ISP Sports Radio Network
This one will be for the Atlantic Division championship… Who would have though that a few weeks ago. Thanks to VT, I think the ACC coaches have caught on to BC, while the Tigers seem to be peaking at just the right time. Look for Matt Ryan to be upstaged by Cullen Harper. Tigers head to Jacksonville 35-21

Friday, November 16, 2007

Clemson bubble watch

I thought I'd be the first out there this year to talk about the NCAA bubble. If history is any indication, Clemson will be on the bubble. I'm certainly hoping this year is different, and with an upgraded schedule, they've definitely got a chance to make their case better before the ACC schedule starts. They are off to a good start with a big win

Clemson vs. Mississippi State Recap, November 15, 2007
ESPN - 5 hours ago
(AP) -- Freshman Terrence Oglesby scored 17 points and hit two key free throws Thursday night as Clemson beat Mississippi State 84-82. Clemson (2-0) went to ...
Recap: Miss State vs. ClemsMacon Telegraph

Maryland sqeaked by

Baltimore Sun
Maryland survives close call
Baltimore Sun, United States - 56 minutes ago
Maryland coach Gary Williams yells at his players while they hustle to the sideline during a timeout in the first half. (Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. ...
Northeastern vs. Maryland Recap, November 15, 2007 ESPN
Maryland slips past Northeastern in overtime win Carroll County Times (subscription)
Recap: Maryland vs. NortheasternSan Luis Obispo Tribune

JJ Hickson sure looks like the real deal

Pack Pride
Hickson Has Big Opener for NC State
The Associated Press - 11 hours ago
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Freshman JJ Hickson scored 31 points on 12-for-12 shooting to lead No. 21 North Carolina State past William & Mary, 66-47 on Thursday ...
Dazzling debut for NC State’s Hickson Greensboro News Record
W&M Falls at No. 21 NC State Tribe Athletics
COL BKB: NC State 66, William & Mary 47United Press International

and Miami looking more and more like a basketball school

Marist men lose to Miami
Poughkeepsie Journal, NY - 18 hours ago
Marist's men's basketball team lost to Miami, 85-61, in their first game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan. Freshman guard Jay Gavin led the Red Foxes ...
Marist men trail at halftime Poughkeepsie Journal
Local sports roundup Times Herald-Record
mccroskey to make Marist debut Sunday Poughkeepsie Journa