Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bracket Prediction Update 2/27/07

These are somewhat meaningless with a couple of important weeks of good games to go, including the all-important conference tournaments, but let's take a look at the latest predictions of ACC teams making the field of 64.

ESPN's Bracketology

UNC #1 in Winston against Delaware St. then Nova/Stanford winner.
Duke #5 in Spokane against West Virginia then Nevada/Penn.
UVA #4 in Buffalo against Holy Cross then USC
VaTech #4 in Buffalo against Vermont then Syracuse
BC #6 in Columbus against Xavier then Pitt.
Maryland #6 in Lexington against ODU then Memphis

As expected, GaTech, FSU, and Clemson NIT bound.


UNC #2 in Winston against Sam Houston then Texas/Notre Dame
Maryland #4 in Buffalo against Holy Cross then Kentucky
VaTech #6 in Winston against Illinois then Georgetown
BC #8 in Lexington against ODU then Ohio State
UVA #6 in Buffalo against Missouri St. then Memphis
GaTech #9 in New Orleans against Oregon then Florida
Duke #3 in Columbus against Penn, then Mich. St.

The suprise being GaTech in, and Duke a #3, which might not be that unrealistic, especially with a win in Chapel Hill Sunday.

Want some more fun and get a head start thinking about filling in your brackets, check out Bracketville, which has full history of the brackets and game results for every year since 1985 when the tournament went to 64 teams.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Where do the Heels go next?

Some stories just don't need much comment. Guess we know how the tarheels will sooth their hurt feelings after blowing a game in College Park and putting their #1 seed in jeopardy.

Marcus Ginyard, left, and walk-on Dewey Burke kick back for a lazy Sunday afternoon pedicure from Lennie Ly, lower left, and Nancy Vu.

DURHAM - To Marcus Ginyard, playing good defense isn't just about good footwork. It's about good feet. That's why, at least once a month, you can find him and a Tar Heels teammate or two reclining in tan leather massage chairs at Avalon Lifestyle Salon, magazines in hand, having the rigors of basketball cut, sanded and buffed from their oversized tootsies.

"Corns, dead skin, callouses, ingrown toenails -- our feet just get gross. So, a little maintenance is in order,'' said Ginyard, sliding his size 14s into a bubbling bath of water on a recent Sunday.

Pedicures -- a cosmetic comfort during which feet are massaged, cuticles are softened, heels are pumiced and toenails are clipped -- used to be a grooming luxury reserved for women. But the half-hour-or-so ritual appears to be growing among the male population -- including UNC's fifth-ranked basketball team.

Sans polish, of course.

Full Story...

It's hard to make history, but it happens

Duke posts 1st unbeaten season in ACC
No. 1 Duke pulled away late to beat No. 4 North Carolina 67-62 and finish the first unbeaten regular season in Atlantic Coast Conference history. Updated: Feb. 25, 2007 6:33 PM | Full story

Sidney gets his first McDonald's All-American

McDonald's All-American Rosters were announced yesterday, and State recruit J. J. Hickson is included. This doesn't really change any of the recruiting classes, but it is a stamp of approval that seems to stick with kids throughout their college career, and also validates a coaches recruiting ability. Let's hope this is the first of many that Coach Lowe gets.

Other notables, Duke has 3, GaTech has 1. It shouldn't be a surprise that coming off probably the best recruiting class in UNC recent history, Roy Williams has none.

Full Rosters:


Nick Calathes G/6-6/190 (Lake Howell, Winter Park, FL) Florida (12)

Jonny Flynn G/6-0/172 (Niagara Falls, NY) Syracuse (20)

Austin Freeman G/6-5/215 (DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, MD) Georgetown (9)

Donte Green F/6-9/210 (Towson Catholic, Baltimore, MD) Syracuse (6)

J.J. Hickson F/6-10/240 (Wheeler, Marietta, GA) N.C. State (18)

Kosta Koufos C/7-1/260 (Glen Oak, Canton, OH) Ohio State (10)

Gani Lawal F/6-9/220 (Norcross, GA) Georgia Tech (26)

O.J. Mayo G/6-4/190 (Huntington, WV) USC (1)

Patrick Patterson F/6-8/230 (Huntington, WV) Undecided (8)

Nolan Smith G/6-3/190 (Oak Hill Academy (VA), Upper Marlboro, MD) Duke (24)

Corey Stokes F/6-6/220 (St. Benedict's, Bayonne, NJ) Villanova (27)

Chris Wright G/6-1/200 (St. Johns College, Washington DC) Georgetown (33)


Cole Aldrich C/6-11/250 (Jefferson, Bloomington, MN) Kansas (23)

James Anderson F/6-7/195 (Junction City, AR) Oklahoma State (47)

Jerryd Bayless G/6-4/200 (St. Mary's, Phoenix, AZ) Arizona (7)

Michael Beasley F/6-10/240 (Notre Dame Prep (MA), Upper Marlboro, MD) Kansas State (N/A)*

Eric Gordon G/6-4/212 (North Central, Indianapolis, IN) Indiana (3)

Blake Griffin F/6-9/245 (Oklahoma Christian, Edmond, OK) Oklahoma (13)

James Harden G/6-5/215 (Artesia, Lakewood, CA) Arizona State (15)

Taylor King F/6-8/218 (Mater Dei, Santa Ana, CA) Duke (40)

Kevin Love F/6-10/255 Lake Oswego, OR) UCLA (2)

Jai Lucas G/5-10/150 (Bellaire, TX) Undecided (48)

Derrick Rose G/6-3/185 (Simeon, Chicago, IL) Memphis (4)

Kyle Singler F/6-9/210 (South Medford, Medford, OR) Duke (5)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

How many to the Big Dance?

About 2 weeks until selection Sunday and a few ACC Teams are in trouble.

RPIs are

North Carolina (24-4, 10-3 ACC) — 2
Duke (21-7, 8-6) — 9
Maryland (21-7, 7-6) — 17
Virginia Tech (19-8, 9-4) — 22
Boston College (18-9, 9-5) — 29
Clemson (19-8, 5-8) — 35
Florida State (17-11, 5-9) — 41
Georgia Tech (18-9, 6-7) — 44
Virginia (18-8, 9-4) — 47
N.C. State (14-12, 4-9) — 119
Wake Forest (13-14, 4-10) — 121
Miami (11-16, 4-9) — 149

UNC, Duke, Maryland, VT, BC, and Virginia are in barring something unusual. N.C. State, Wake, and Miami have no chance short of winning out.

That leaves Clemson, FSU, and GaTech with a shot. Tech looked dead 2 weeks ago, but N.C. State's collapse in Alexander has ignited their comeback. After a win in Cameron, FSU looked like a lock, but injuries and loss after loss leaves them desperate for wins. Possibly the most interesting situation in the country is Clemson. After the 17-0 start, 2-8 really hurts their chances, especially if the committee really does look at last 10. I really believe Clemson has a good team. Beyond poor free throw shooting, they are solid with some really nice players and veteran guards. Watching them against Duke this week, more and more it just looks like a confidence issue. Not that Oliver Purnell isn't a very good coach, because he is, but you almost get the feeling that if you could put Sidney Lowe on that bench for a bit just to help them believe in themselves again, they could go on quite a run.

A friend of mine keeps pushing App State for an at-large bid, with an RPI of 51. They've got 3 or 4 quality wins, but honestly, who do you think the tougher out in the ncaa would be, Clemson of App State?

Clemson's next 3 games are
-At BC
-At VT

Win 2 out of 3, and I think they are in. Anything less, and Tampa will include some must wins for Clemson.

Photo's are Oliver Purnell in his days at ODU, Oliver now, and Oliver drinking away his sorrows after losing in the NIT openning round this year, as portrayed by Morgan Freedman.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brandon Costner's Dad

Neat article about Brandon's Dad

Toward the end of an N.C. State basketball game this season, Wolfpack forward Brandon Costner was struggling from the free--throw line. After he had missed a few foul shots, loud instructions began to boom from the front row, from the mouth of a man who towered over everyone seated around him.

It was Costner's father, Tony, all 7 feet of him.

After the game, Brandon was asked if he could hear his father's tips while on the court.

"No," he said, before ruefully adding, "but I'm sure I'll hear about it later."

That's the way it always has been with Costner and son. Dad, once a star at St. Joseph's, was drafted by the NBA's Washington Bullets and had a lengthy career in Europe. Now his oldest son is trying to follow in his footsteps and perhaps surpass him. All along, Tony Costner has been there for Brandon, but the helping hand has rarely been gentle.

"Yeah, I'm tough on him," Tony Costner said, "because I know he's a talented kid. He's a talented player. I'm glad that the ACC is getting to know how talented he is."

It took the league awhile. Though Costner is a freshman ---- albeit one who played a handful of games last season before taking a medical redshirt ---- he was an afterthought during preseason voting for ACC rookie of the year. He was overshadowed by the likes of Georgia Tech's Thaddeus Young and North Carolina's Brandan Wright, one of his opponents tonight when the Wolfpack plays at Chapel Hill (9, WFMY--2).

Yet three--quarters of the way through the league schedule, Costner leads ACC rookies in scoring (16.1 points) and rebounding (7.9).

Those are impressive numbers for a first--year college player, but Costner shrugs it off, in the same way he seems unimpressed with how well he played against UNC's front line (15 points, 11 rebounds) the first time the teams met this season.

"It really isn't as much of a big deal as people make it out to be," he said. "It's just playing basketball."


Lowe night for the Pack

They may not have exactly executed the gameplan in the first half, but N. C. State gave Carolina all they could handle for 20 minutes. And apparently their coach gave all he had to give in those 20 minutes as well. Anyone in the triangle knows someone with the flu. It is everywhere and it sucks. What we didn't know was that Sidney Lowe had it, and it got the best of him.

Before the start of the first half, Lowe was taken out on a stretcher and to the hospital via ambulance, suffering from flu and dehydration. We don't yet know what went on behind the scenes, what the players saw or were told, and who knows what impact it might have had on the second half. My assumption is that Sidney is going to be fine, but hasn't had a good 24 hours. Our thoughts are with him.

Couldn't help last night remembering Bob Wade, disgraced former Maryland coach. In 1989, at the Omni in Atlanta, Maryland pulled a big upset in the ACC Tournament. I can't remember who they beat at the moment, maybe State or Carolina. Shortly after the game Wade was rushed to the hospital with chest pains. Can't seem to find a picture of Wade or the full story anywhere, but that was a long time ago...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Basketball Warfare

Not sure if the book is out, but saw an article about a book called "BasketBall Warfare". Centers around big east, but apparently talks a lot about the whole thing where the ACC took 3 Big East teams. I'd be much more interested in hearing the behind the scenes things that went on with the ACC side of things, I've never really heard the whole story there.

Football has been the elephant in the Big East living room almost since the Big East began in 1979. It’s the reason why Pittsburgh came into the league in the early ’80s, the reason why Miami and West Virginia, came into the league in the ’90s, and Virginia Tech in 2001. It’s the reason why there’s long been a fundamental split in the conference between the football schools and the basketball schools, one that threatened the Big East’s existence as far back as the early ’80s.

But it was the ACC’s raid on Miami, Boston College, and Syracuse that threatened to slam-dunk the Big East and essentially create two new leagues in the East, one centered around football, one around basketball. One that would not only have disintegrated the Big East as we had come to know it, but severely impact the Atlantic 10, as everyone would have been fighting for a place to land in this basketball version of musical chairs.

“The ACC was going to take three teams and it was panic in the streets,” McNamara says.

Basketball Warfare does an excellent job of putting this into context, within the larger theme of how important football is to this. It’s something that’s often overlooked, especially around here. The Big East is so synonymous with basketball — it began as a strictly basketball conference — to the point that many people think basketball is the engine that drives the conference. Not so.


Monday, February 19, 2007

State is DONE!

That is what I had been telling my friends all week and was even going to post an article about it. They just appeared to be out of gas and possibly out of desire. Obviously I don't know what I'm talking about.

66% from the field. I don't understand how they do that. I'm thinking either hypnosis or Lowe has some other magic up his sleeve.

InsideCarolina.com (subscription)
Wolfpack sizzles way to sweep
Charlotte Observer, NC - 16 minutes ago
RALEIGH - Every NC State player who touched the basketball Sunday seemed to have the "touch" as the Wolfpack shot 66.7 percent on the way to an 81-56 rout ...
Wolfpack stuns Hokies Lynchburg News and Advance
Hokies can't handle Wolfpack's bite Covers
Hokies have no answer for Wolfpack Richmond Times Dispatch

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Heels and Cavs, Big 10

Twin Falls Times-News
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Eagles fall to No. 4 UNC
SouthCoastToday.com, MA - 10 hours ago
But Dudley missed his foul shots and BC missed its best chance to beat a traditional ACC power from North Carolina. On Wednesday, Duke brought a four-game ...
AP Top 25 College Basketball Scores: North Carolina Tar Heels ... TransWorldNews (press release)
Getting to next level remains a tough climb Boston Globe
Vitale believes win vital Boston Globe

Virginia, UNC move into tie atop ACC
The State, SC - 10 hours ago
North Carolina (23-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) bounced back from Tuesday night’s 81-80 overtime loss to Virginia Tech and took over first place in the ...
UNC ties for lead in ACCGreensboro News Record

Washington Post
Joseph Lifts Virginia Over Florida State
International News Service, Australia - 20 minutes ago
The win guarantees Virginia (18-7, 9-3) its first winning record in the ACC since the 2000-01 season and pulls the Cavaliers into a first-place tie with ...
Roundup: Virginia stays near top of ACC with win over Fla. State USA Today
Assured of winning ACC record, Cavaliers focus on bigger goals Virginian Pilot

Will Big Ten Get Just Three NCAA Tournament Bids?

The most recent version of Bracketology, which was posted Feb. 14, lists just three Big Ten teams in the tournament field: Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Contrast that with eight bids for the ACC, seven for the Big East, six apiece for the Pac-10 and SEC and five for the Big 12. The Missouri Valley and the Mountain West each match the Big Ten with three. Does that make sense?

At first glance, it doesn't. The ACC is clearly better than the Big Ten this year, but the other conferences aren't necessarily superior to the Big Ten. RPI ranks the Big Ten as the fourth-best conference, Ken Pomeroy's ratings rank the Big Ten second and Jeff Sagarin ranks the Big Ten fourth.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Emotion wins again

Women's Basketball Stuns No. 2 North Carolina, 72-65

Kay Yow knew going into Friday night's game against No. 2 North Carolina that the Reynolds Coliseum floor was going to be named in her honor. The NC State Board of Trustees approved the unprecedented move Friday morning. But Yow - nor anyone else in the building Friday evening - could have anticipated her team's performance against the Tar Heels after the announcement was made in a tearful, pre-game ceremony. The Wolfpack stunned the Tar Heels - who had won five in a row in Reynolds dating back

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bilas with Dave Glenn

Dave Glenn, who is probably my favorite ACC writer, has been doing some great interviews. This one touches on a lot of things, but thought I'd quote his bit about State:

N.C. State has done a remarkable job. When you look at some of their individual players — Ben McCauley especially, but also Gavin Grant, Courtney Fells — their improvement from last year to this year has been phenomenal. Brandon Costner has been terrific, too. They've also done a good job over the course of the season of getting better. Despite being shorthanded, they've been able to be really competitive and win games. For the most part, you really have to play your tail off to beat them. Sidney (Lowe) has done a really good job of getting the kids to embrace his style of play. As he gets more players, more good things will happen. Right now, I'm sure it has to be difficult for him to have the kinds of competitive practices you really need. Depth is what makes that happen, and help is on the way.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is it Dick Vitale or Me?

One of us is losing it. I listened to both segments twice. I could almost swear that at one point early in the game after a nice play by Tyres Rice, I heard Vitale call Tyres a chimp. I'm sure everyone remembers the huge story generated by Billy Packer:

Iverson comment

In 1996, during an on-air broadcast of a game between Georgetown and Villanova, Packer described the Hoyas star guard Allen Iverson as a "tough monkey". Packer later apologized, insisting he was actually trying to praise Iverson's relentless play. Neither Iverson nor Georgetown coach John Thompson were offended by the remark. Thompson told USA Today he doesn't "have to explain to anybody about Billy being a racist because he's not."

from Billy Packer Wikipedia

OK, so that caught my ear. But much later in the game, I want to say it was in the second half, a BC player gives Scheyer a forearm shot coming around the key. And I really think I heard Dick mutter something like "monkey move" before quickly covering and moving on. It was a late game and I didn't sleep well last night, but be interesting to see if any other bloggers heard it and make mention later today.

They're Baaaack

This is what expected from Duke this year
-Crazy tough defense
-Lots of Assists
-Dunk after layup after Dunk

We finally got it, they look like the Duke of old (even if "of old" only means 4 weeks ago).

I haven't seen a team want the ball or a win more than Duke did in the first 30 minutes of that game. Josh played 39 nearly perfect minutes.

Oh, it was just like old times another way too. Coach K started running clock way too early and turned a blowout into a close game.


Who can figure out teams not showing up. Al Skinner and Roy Williams haven't figured it out yet. There is something magical about the mood set by sitting on top of the ACC, having several days to read and hear about how great you are, then going to play a game you should win easily. And whatever it does to a team, it apparently takes about 30 minutes of playing time to get over, based on this game and Carolina's game against State.

Can we at least put an end to all this Duke Bubble talk now?

Official Basketball Box Score
2-14-07 9 p.m. at Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA

VISITORS: DUKE 19-7, 6-6
02 Josh McRoberts...... f 9-13 0-1 0-0 3 8 11 2 18 5 4 0 3 39
14 David McClure....... f 2-4 0-1 0-2 2 0 2 5 4 1 2 0 0 24
03 Greg Paulus......... g 6-9 2-5 1-3 0 4 4 3 15 7 3 0 3 38
21 DeMarcus Nelson..... g 6-11 3-5 0-1 2 4 6 3 15 3 4 0 1 33
30 Jon Scheyer......... g 4-12 3-7 1-2 3 0 3 2 12 1 0 1 3 35
05 Martynas Pocius..... 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3
15 Gerald Henderson.... 4-6 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 8 2 0 0 0 14
42 Lance Thomas........ 1-2 0-0 2-2 1 0 1 1 4 0 1 0 0 13
55 Brian Zoubek........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 1
TEAM................ 2 2 4
Totals.............. 33-59 8-20 4-10 13 18 31 20 78 19 15 1 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 18-33 54.5% 2nd Half: 15-26 57.7% Game: 55.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-11 45.5% 2nd Half: 3-9 33.3% Game: 40.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 2-3 66.7% 2nd Half: 2-7 28.6% Game: 40.0% 2

03 Jared Dudley........ f 4-5 0-0 3-5 1 3 4 4 11 3 4 0 0 39
34 Shamari Spears...... f 1-3 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0 4 1 1 0 0 19
32 John Oates.......... c 1-5 1-3 2-3 1 6 7 2 5 2 1 1 0 23
04 Tyrese Rice......... g 6-11 1-3 9-9 2 3 5 4 22 3 6 0 3 39
23 Sean Marshall....... g 7-11 3-5 6-7 0 2 2 3 23 1 2 1 1 37
00 Marquez Haynes...... 1-3 1-2 0-2 0 2 2 2 3 2 3 1 0 22
22 Tyler Roche......... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4
44 Tyrelle Blair....... 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 2 0 17
TEAM................ 1 1
Totals.............. 21-40 6-13 22-28 5 17 22 16 70 12 19 5 4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-19 57.9% 2nd Half: 10-21 47.6% Game: 52.5% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-5 60.0% 2nd Half: 3-8 37.5% Game: 46.2% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 7-11 63.6% 2nd Half: 15-17 88.2% Game: 78.6% 2

Officials: Jamie Luckie, Sean Hull, Jose Carrion Diaz
Technical fouls: DUKE-None. BOSTON COLLEGE-None.
Attendance: 8606
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
DUKE.......................... 43 35 - 78
BOSTON COLLEGE................ 32 38 - 70

Points in the paint-DU 48,BC 20. Points off turnovers-DU 28,BC 17.
2nd chance points-DU 10,BC 5. Fast break points-DU 8,BC 0.
Bench points-DU 14,BC 5. Score tied-7 times. Lead changed-7 times.
Last FG-DU 2nd-00:36, BC 2nd-03:04.
Largest lead-DU by 24 2nd-12:53, BC by 4 1st-17:03.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Forget Beamer Ball, New Big Man on Campus

Virginia Tech doesn't just mean football anymore. Old habits are hard to break, and I kept thinking that this team just can't be for real. I'm not ready to give them a title yet, but by this point, they've proven they are a solid team for sure.

Wyoming News
Virginia Tech upsets No. 4 North Carolina in overtime
Bryan College Station Eagle, TX - 1 hour ago
4 North Carolina 80, OT: CHAPEL HILL, NC - Zabian Dowdell scored a career-high 33 points and Deron Washington blocked Ty Lawson's shot in the final seconds ...
Hokies surpass North Carolina Virginia Tech Collegiate Times Online Edition
Virginia Tech Wins at North CarolinaBay News 9

Zabian Dowdell scored a career-high 33 points and Deron Washington blocked Ty Lawson's shot in the final seconds of overtime, preserving Virginia Tech's 81-80 upset of No. 4 North Carolina on Tuesday night. Tyler Hansbrough had 22 points to lead North Carolina, while Wayne Ellington had 14 and Lawson finished with 13.

Brent, who will hopefully post some insights soon points out, if Duke wins tonight, we have a 4 way tie for 1st

Boston College 9-2 .818 18-6 .750
North Carolina 8-3 .727 22-4 .846
Virginia Tech 8-3 .727 18-7 .720
Virginia 8-3 .727 17-7 .708
Clemson 5-5 .500 19-5 .792
Duke 5-6 .455 18-7 .720
Georgia Tech 5-6 .455 17-8 .680
Florida State 5-7 .417 17-9 .654
Maryland 4-6 .400 18-7 .720
NC State 3-7 .300 13-10 .565
Miami 3-8 .273 10-15 .400
Wake Forest 2-9 .182 11-13 .458

My dream season as an ACC Fan would of course be everyone goes 8-8 in the league, and nobody loses out of conference. That will never happen of course. BUT, if we somehow end up with 4 teams at the top, and a second division of 4 teams at or close to .500, that would have to mean good things come selection Sunday.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Poor Duke

As a state fan who has watched my team lose again and again to Duke over the last 10 years in games that were too physical called by refs who were too intimidated, I should be able to enjoy this losing streak. I really should rejoice in what may soon be a 5 game skid. You'd think that after what wolfpack fans have been through over the last 20 years, we would party much like we did during the Matt's tenure at Carolina. Somehow I just can't seem to be happy about this. Maybe because I like the guys on this team. Maybe because I'm stupid enough to keep betting on them, because I know they are more talented than the teams they are losing to. Probably because I'm as big an ACC Fan as I am a State fan, and the ACC is better when Duke is fighting for a #1 seed, and it means something special to the rare team that pulls an upset against them.

One funny thing I heard. A friend of mine mentioned last week he had heard people had been sending Doan's Pills to Coach K, noting that the last time Duke was losing like this, K decided to take a break from coaching because of a back issue. Kind of insensitive I know, but funny is funny.

Maryland hands Duke fourth straight loss
Houston Chronicle, TX - 2 hours ago
Josh McRoberts scored 20 points and Greg Paulus had 12 for Duke. The Blue Devils' previous three losses were by a combined nine points, but this turned out ...
Rare 4-game slide for Duke Chicago Tribune
Maryland extends Duke's skid to four Chicago Sun-Times
Maryland Hands Duke Fourth Straight Loss Helena Independent Record

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Smell in Blacksburg, Miami bounds, Heels show off for old dudes

So much for Virginia's ride atop the ACC, they stunk it up at in-state rival VT

Looking fresh and rested after not having played for the past seven days, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team jumped out to an 11-2 lead to start the game, led by as many as 23 points in the first half and never looked back, running rival Virginia out of the building en route to a 84-57 ACC victory over the Cavaliers at Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

Tech regains its focus; Cavs inexplicably lose theirs

Hokies hammer UVa

Virginia Tech basketball games are starting to draw crowds that rival the football fans in enthusiasm.

Surprise, Carolina beats Wake

With members of the '57 and '82 Championship teams watching, the Heels whipped Wake. Can Prosser really recover from 2 straight last place finishes? I know they are young, but this has got to be worrying some people. Who would have ever thought Wake fans would be counting on their football program for school pride?

Heels blast Wake on historic day at UNC
Durham Herald Sun, NC - 10 hours ago
Wake Forest center Kyle Visser fouled out with 9:09 left in the game, picking up his final three fouls in a span of 48 seconds. ...
Terry right on time for UNC News & Observer
'57 Tar Heels No. 1; Won 'Em All Played Just for Fun International News Service
UNC's first NCAA title legitimized ACC hoops News & Observer

Rebounding Mystery

Sometimes you just can't explain college basketball. How does NC State hold Carolina to 11 offensive rebounds, then go to Miami and give up 21 against a team missing 5 bigs to injuries? The wolfpack made a little run late to make it almost interesting but with Miami getting 17 more shots in the game, and state playing with four and a half players, not much Lowe could do. I hope by now everyone's expectations are reset a little after the euphoria induced idiocy that came after beating carolina and dreams of the big dance jumping in our heads.

Canes silence Wolfpack Charlotte Observer
Hurricanes cut loose and defeat Wolfpack Palm Beach Post
Thin Wolfpack needs fresh legs for stretch runGreensboro News Record

Saturday, February 10, 2007

1982 reunion, Lynwood, and Doherty

Watching part of the Wake/UNC game today and at half time, Carolina had a reunion of the '82 championship team. Everyone was there except Cecil Exum, who lives in Australia, and Matt Doherty, who has a game tonight. Of course Perkins, Worthy, and Jordan drew the big cheers, but loved seeing some guys I loved and hadn't thought about since like Jimmy Braddock, Jimmy Black, and Timo. Best of all, got to see one of my all-time favorite players, Lynwood Robinson. Not sure why I liked him so much. Guess because he was supposed to be the next Phil Ford when he came in. More info on this team and how loaded it was from Blue Heaven Museum.

Related, WRAL's Jeff Carlton has a nice article on Matt Doherty:

A humbled and still hungry Matt Doherty offers a blunt assessment of his time at the "mountaintop," his term for his three seasons as coach at North Carolina.

"I had my butt handed to me," Doherty said. "I hit rock bottom."

Doherty has gone from the mountaintop to the Hilltop, the nickname locals use for SMU, a basketball backwater compared to Doherty's old job at a marquee program.

ACC Tournament Tickets Tough this year?

I had mistakenly assumed when I heard the ACC tournament was going to Tampa/St. Pete, that the tournament was going to be played inthe Thunderdome. I assume that building is still there and capable of hosting basketball. It has been a long time since Brent and I drove down there to see Grant Hill and the Dukies play an NCAA game there. But it is a huge building and with a fair basketball setup would hold a ton of people. But, apparently it is being played in the St. Pete Times Forum, a much more modest hockey and basketball arena.

That could change things a bit as far as the ticket situation. In the dome, it was for sure going to be the easiest ticket in the history of the ACC, at least for the early round games.

An article from Tallahassee Democrat talks about the ticket situation from an FSU standpoint.

It will take at least silver to support the garnet and gold at the ACC men's basketball tournament in Tampa next month.

Florida State's allotment of about 1,700 tickets was divvied up to the top three levels of the Seminole Boosters. Silver Chiefs were the last to make the cut, earning the right to buy a pair of tickets thanks to their annual contribution of at least $3,000.

The league's 54th annual tournament runs March 8-11.

Demand has long outpaced supply for ACC tournament tickets, which have not been sold to the general public since 1966. Expansion - Virginia Tech and Miami receive full allotments for the first time this season - has made it an even tougher ticket at the St. Pete Times Forum, which will seat about 19,800 for the tournament.

Each school determines its own guidelines for ticket distribution.

FSU mailed out ticket request forms to boosters in December. Platinum Golden Chiefs ($12,000 annual contribution) were given the opportunity to purchase six tickets apiece. Golden Chiefs ($6,000) were able to buy four ticket booklets to the first ACC tournament in the Sunshine State. Tomahawks ($1,200) were squeezed out this season.

"It was more demand than there's been in the past, but I wouldn't say it was overwhelming," said Patrick Martin, FSU's ticket manager.

Martin said seven students requested ticket packages.

Fans shut out in the process can still obtain tickets if they're willing to pay steep prices. Online ticket brokers are advertising ticket packages from about $500 to $3,500. Tickets for two-game sessions early in the tournament can be had for about $100.

The Seminole Boosters will hold a reception open to all fans at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina on March 7.

I'll follow up with some speculation on what the real ticket situation may be like soon, and hopfully get someone else to chime in.

Duke/UNC not in HiDef, but tourney will be

Not sure how many people have Hi Definition TVs, but I'm addicted to mine. Getting spoiled by NFL and ESPN games in HD, I generally get irritated by watching most NC State games on Raycom because they aren't hi def. I was doubly irritated for the Duke/UNC game this week. Even though I had the DVR set to record on WRALs HD feed, of course the Raycom ACC network feed wasn't hi def. What makes it worse is the rest of the country was watching the game in HD because ESPN covered it, but it was blacked out in acc territories. But, looks like Raycom is slowly investing in the future.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Raycom/Lincoln Financial will announce next week that ACC basketball is going high definition.

For the first time, the men's ACC basketball tournament -- which begins March 8 in Tampa -- will be broadcast in HD on the syndicated network.

Technical problems have kept the network from switching to high def before now.

Ken Haines, Raycom's president, said Friday that affiliates aren't set up to receive syndicated programming in HD. They get their network programs in HD, but aren't set up to receive feeds from other sources.

Raycom's move will make it one of the first college basketball networks in the nation to offer HD events.

Of the 35 stations that get ACC basketball from Raycom/Lincoln Financial, about a third will be equipped to receive the HD feed by tournament time. That includes WBTV (Channel 3) in Charlotte as well as other major markets, including Greensboro and Raleigh.

"We're looking at adding some regular-season games next year," said Haines. "I don't know how far away we are from doing all the games in HD."

Costs are part of the problem. While it is more expensive to do HD games -- cameras, a high-def studio truck and other equipment must be added -- there is no increase in ad revenues.

"It costs a lot more to produce in HD than standard definition. We haven't found anyone willing to pay more to be broadcast in HD," Haines said.

-- Mark Washburn: mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

Friday, February 9, 2007

Spud Webb memories

PTI did a Happy for the anniversary of Spud Webb winning the dunk contest and showed some highlights. I had to pause it and tell the kids to come in and watch. Told the kids I went to school with this little black guy that "came up to here" on me, but he could jump so high he could dunk. Then I showed them the dunks. They loved it.

Duke wins the big game of the week

Who would have thought the womens game would be bigger than the mens.

Top-Ranked Duke Wins At No. 2 North Carolina, 64-53
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information

Release: 02/08/2007

bullet Boxscore: Duke 64, North Carolina 53
bullet Notes: Duke 64, North Carolina 53
bullet AP Photos: Duke 65, North Carolina 53
bullet Photos: Duke 65, North Caroina 53

Lindsey Harding turned in 16 points, a season-high nine rebounds and seven assists on the night

Following the Pack to Tech

I made the trip from Raleigh to Atlanta for the NC State vs. GaTech game. Some things never change. Atlanta traffic is still the worst in the world, tickets are cheap because Atlanta doesn't care about college basketball, and Wolfpack coaches always seem to do something dumb in Alexander Memorial.

I got to the game about 40 minutes early and there were tickets everywhere. Ended up getting a 4th row corner seat for $15, but didn't use it. The building was half empty so you could sit pretty much anywhere and I sat with some friends. The first 19:58 looked very much like a continuation of the Carolina Game. Controlled tempo, break-aways when they were there, and remarkable shooting from 3. But, a 3 quarter court 3-ball to end the half was a bad omen, and the State fans in the building knew it.
Horner was hurt in the first half and completely screwed up our already thin rotation. Those extra minutes, extended partying after the UNC game, and Tech's pressure defense finally started taking its toll. Engin at times was really laboring to get up and down the floor, and EVERYONE started making mistakes. Turnovers came much quicker than shots.

Over the year, with Sidney's improved offensive scheme, the one thing that I thought was behind us was the dreaded drought. I guess I jumped the gun on that one. The second half is a bit of a blur, but it seemed like from the 16 minute timeout to the 12 minute timeout, nobody scored. I noted the drought, but wasn't too worried because Tech wasn't scoring either. Then Tech started putting up the points, while the wolfpack field goal drought stretched to something like 11 minutes.

Then the coaching mistake. Every time I go to Alexander, I remember one of my earliest games there. Herb Sendek and his staff were early in their tenure and were all really young. Locked in a close game coming down to the end, tech has the ball coming out of a timeout. State is playing unbelievable defense. Turns out it really was unbelievable, because State had 6 men on the floor, gets a technical, goes on to lose.

Now I love Sidney Lowe. But, from a head coaching standpoint, and from a college standpoint, he's still a newbie. I havne't seen replays on this, don't know what the commentators said, but would love to. It appeared that a State shot hit the rim, but the shotclock didn't reset. As Lowe realizes it and starts trying to get the refs attention, with the clock running down, Atsur throws up a desperation shot. Regardless of whether or not the clock should have reset, once that shot went up, it was no longer a correctable error. But Lowe can't let it go, keeps trying to talk to the ref, and a bit later walks out onto the court during play, forcing the ref to call a T. 2 points we really didn't need to give up at that point. The game was over at that point.

No NCAAs for Duke?

CBS Sportline writers are always stirring the pot to piss people off. But no way Duke misses NCAAs.

If K's crew has more L's than W's in ACC, NCAAs might not call

Mike Krzyzewski has an amazing number of philosophies on life and basketball, many of which apply to both. Of them all, the one that stands out most at this moment is to never get too high or too low and always focus on moving forward.

I agree with that philosophy.

Seems like a reasonable way to live.

So I'm forgetting Duke's loss to North Carolina.

That's old news, and it's time to focus on moving forward.

"We don't have time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves," is what freshman Jon Scheyer said after Duke squandered a double-digit lead in the second half Wednesday to lose 79-73.

And you know what?

He's exactly right. That the Blue Devils have dropped three consecutive games for the first time in nearly eight years isn't as much of a concern as is the fact that Duke's remaining schedule isn't favorable for a team needing victories to ensure an NCAA Tournament appearance.

In other words, if Duke isn't careful it could spend Selection Sunday on the bubble.

It's a wild proposition, I know, this being Duke and all. But the reality is the Blue Devils awoke Thursday owners of a shaky 18-6 record that includes as many ACC wins (five) as ACC losses (five) with only seven regular season games remaining.

The remaining games are:

A non-conference road game at St. John's (Feb. 25)

Two ACC home games against Georgia Tech (Feb. 18) and Maryland (Feb. 28).

Four ACC road games at Maryland (Sunday), at Boston College (Feb. 14), at Clemson (Feb. 22) and at North Carolina (March 4).

Now let's take an honest look at the remaining schedule, guess how things might unfold.

The non-conference game: Duke is superior to St. John's, a team that is just 14-10 after holding on Wednesday to edge South Florida. Granted, the Red Storm have beaten Notre Dame and Syracuse at home. But they shouldn't beat Duke. So pencil this in as a win.

The ACC home games: In a normal season it'd be easy to also pencil these in as wins, but this isn't a normal season. Duke has already lost at home to Virginia Tech, Florida State and North Carolina. So also losing to Georgia Tech and/or Maryland isn't impossible, particularly given the Blue Devils have already lost at Georgia Tech. Regardless, be generous and put both these games down as wins, too.

The ACC road games: This is where things get tricky. It seems silly to suggest Duke could lose all four, but the truth is the Blue Devils haven't beaten an NCAA Tournament-caliber team on the road to date. They lost at Georgia Tech last month and at Virginia last week. So asking Duke to win at Maryland, at Boston College, at Clemson or at North Carolina is asking it to do something it hasn't done all season. Still, for argument's sake, take the Blue Devils to steal one of the four, perhaps at Maryland (where a 15-loss Miami team has already won).

(Deep breath)

So the assumption here is Duke sweeps Georgia Tech and Maryland at home, wins at St. John's and loses three of its four ACC road games. Add it up and that's a 22-9 overall record, 8-8 in the ACC, which would likely place Duke anywhere from fifth to seventh in the ACC.

Under that scenario, I suspect the Blue Devils will be fine. But anything less than 3-3 in the remaining six ACC games means Duke will end the regular season with a losing league record, and history suggests a losing league record greatly diminishes the chances of making the NCAA Tournament.

Consider: In the past eight seasons 12 ACC teams finished with 7-9 league records, or one game below .500. Only two of those 12 (16.7 percent) made the NCAA Tournament. In the same span six ACC teams finished with 8-8 league records, or at .500. Four of those six (66.7 percent) made the NCAA Tournament.

Bottom line, 8-8 is probably good enough.

But 7-9 just might not be.

So that's what's facing Duke heading into the weekend. And it's a good thing the Blue Devils have a coach who tells them to always focus on moving forward, because pulling this off will take every bit of focus they can muster.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Pack falls to Tech

Courtesy: Tim Peeler

Georgia Tech Defense Wrecks NC State, 74-65


When it fell behind 17-2 over the first six minutes on Tuesday night, Georgia Tech looked helpless trying to stop NC State’s well-conceived offensive sets. But over the last 14 minutes of the game, it was the Wolfpack that looked helpless to even get a shot.

Overcoming its early defensive problems, the Yellow Jackets (15-8, 4-6) outscored the Pack 29-9 over the last 14:17 to wipe out a double-digit deficit and post a 74-65 victory in front of 9,191 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Among other things, the wild ACC contest featured a 75-foot 3-point basket by Georgia Tech freshman Javaris Crittenton right before halftime and the first technical foul called on NC State head coach Sidney Lowe."

Jackets Roar Past Pack, 74-65

By Austin Johnson
Pack Pride
Posted Feb 6, 2007

Georgia Tech used a 17-0 run midway through the second half to turn an 11-point deficit into a seven-point advantage as the Jackets pulled away to defeat the Wolfpack 74-65.

The collapse came suddenly and swiftly for NC State.

The Wolfpack controlled the first 30 minutes of play and held an 11-point lead with 11 minutes left in the game. Then it all fell apart.

Suddenly the Pack, coming off an emotionally and physically draining upset of rival North Carolina on Saturday, looked exhausted. Turnovers piled up and the defensive intensity slacked, allowing Georgia Tech to go on an 18-0 run and take control of the game.

Now trailing by seven, the Pack never managed to piece together a comeback, falling to the Yellow Jackets 74-65 on Tuesday night at Alexander Memorial Colesium.

Crittenton led all scorers with 21 points and seven assist. Four Wolfpack players scored in double figures - Gavin Grant and Brandon Costner each had 17, Ben McCauley added 16 and Courtney Fells scored 13 in the losing effort.

The depth of Georgia Tech took its toll on the Pack down the stretch. State's bench scored no points in 18 minutes, while the Yellow Jackets got 28 bench points and 84 minutes from its bench.

Johnson: Are the NCAAs a Pipe Dream?

By Austin Johnson
Pack Pride
Posted Feb 5, 2007

Following the emotional high of Saturday's upset over North Carolina, everyone is feeling good about Sidney Lowe and NC State. The Wolfpack, picked to finish last in the league, have outperformed all expectations and sit in a tie for eighth place in the league with a much more favorable stretch of games to conclude conference play