Monday, November 17, 2008

Duke Fights Back

(Photo courtesy

Duke Fights Back To Down Rhode Island 82-79

Analysis from DukeFanB:

Some things became apparent during the Duke versus Rhode Island game yesterday. Duke was not ready to play at the level which Rhode Island brought to Cameron. They played with determination throughout, and the Rams certainly did not look like a team that will finish ninth in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Jimmy Baron, who apparently idolized J. J. Redick, brought back memories of some memorable Duke games during Redick’s tenure at Duke during his second half explosion in Cameron.

It is obvious why Greg Paulus is not starting and playing as many minutes as in the past. His defense is still lacking. Most duke fans had hoped by now that Paulus would have improved his technique to become a better defender. Nolan Smith has to get the lion’s share of minutes for Duke not to break down on defense. What many people fail to realize about Duke’s defense is that the pressure on the ball out front is an absolute. If this does not occur then wing players and post players appear to be weak on defense even when they are in proper position. This is why Duke looks so bad at times against people with better than average point guards.

Secondly, Gerald Henderson must assert himself more. Yesterday, he got in foul trouble. However, he must use his slashing and leaping ability to apply relentless pressure to opposing defenses. He also can be a lock down defender with his athleticism and quickness.

Additionally, Coach “K” should not revert to his often failure to properly utilize his bench which fails to develop experience and confidence for reserves that pays dividends in the future (March). It also leads to team stalwarts burning out both physically as well as emotionally.

Now for some positives: Kyle Singler appears to be on the road to becoming another special player. He is certainly the most versatile player Duke has had since Shane Battier. This is not a comparison; it is a fact. Save Luol Deng whose brief stay left fans depressed and Duke in a lurch, Singler could make this team rise to great heights.

Furthermore, John Scheyer played a great game and is rounding into what Duke has needed for quite some time. He along with Singler willed Duke to win on Sunday. That may be the most important key coming out of the Rhode Island game. In the past few years, Duke would have solely relied on the “three” and lost. This week should give more possible answers with a possible match up with UCLA.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Amaker cleared...

Back in March we wrote about Possible Trouble for Tommy Amaker related to possible recruiting violations at Harvard.

ESPNU reports

Ivy League clears Harvard, Amaker of recruiting questions

Based on the investigation it appears no violations took place. That's good news for a coach I think most ACC Fans can pull for.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

2008-2009 ACC Hoops Schedule Released

Full listing on ACCNation

The things that jump out as interesting to me (these don't count possible holiday type tourneys)

Clemson is at Illinois, hosts Alabama, at Charlotte.
Duke at Purdue and Michigan, hosts Davidson.
Carolina has Kentucky and goes to Maui.
NC State goes to Davidson and plays Marquette, plus visits Florida.
Virginia at Syracuse and Minnesota, plus plays Xavier.
VaTech has Wisconsin, at Georgia plus a couple of tournaments.
Wake plays Indiana.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coach K brings home Gold

Coach Mike Krzyzewski led the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team back to the mountaintop Sunday in China. Team USA survived a scare from Spain and won the gold medal.

After its 118-107 victory on the final day of the Olympics, you would have thought this band of NBA superstars was a college team. They teased. They hugged. They danced. At the suggestion of LeBron James, all 12 players came to the postgame news conference instead of just one.

And so we finally had the answer to the question of whether a college coach at Duke could manage a team of multi-millionaire pros to Olympic gold. He could, and the way he could do it was by turning them back into kids again.

"We have not had one second of problem as a coaching staff with our team," an emotional Krzyzewski said afterward. "It's been the greatest experience of my life."

No one would have said that about the 2004 U.S. Olympic team, which disgusted onlookers with its me-first attitude, casual play and third-place finish. U.S. senior men's national director Jerry Colangelo tabbed Krzyzewski to rebuild the U.S. squad into a team that would not only win, but win the right way.

It sounded hokey, but Krzyzewski can do hokey like no one else. He can make it all real. As the final seconds ticked away in Sunday's game, Coach K and Colangelo first exchanged a long hug. Then Krzyzewski kissed Colangelo on the cheek.

"We've been joined at the hip for the last three years," Colangelo said, referring to Krzyzewski's three-year commitment to coach the U.S. team that began in 2006. "We had a common goal. So that was kind of a culmination. I never expected to be kissed by Coach K, but that was a great moment."

Each year Krzyzewski reminds me a little more of North Carolina coach Dean Smith, and now the two sport another similarity. Smith was the U.S. Olympic coach in 1976, another year when American basketball needed a star-spangled boost after getting a controversial silver medal in the 1972 Olympics.

Smith did the Olympics his way, too. He drew some criticism for putting four of his Tar Heels on what was then an all-college team; then he won a gold medal.

Krzyzewski had a much higher talent level to work with - and much better opponents to face. He was smart not to overcoach this squad, and to make them understand how deeply he cared.

The best player on the floor Sunday was the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade. Coach K had helped nurture Wade's fragile ego through shoulder and knee injuries that had made Wade questionable for these Olympics. After the final, Wade brought that up on his own.

"I want to thank Coach K for believing in me, and I've told him that," Wade said. "He was the one who was always checking on me, seeing how I was doing. He was the one who believed in me coming back to this team."

Krzyzewski insisted on good defense - one of his hallmarks during his three national titles at Duke - but many times let the Olympic offense develop on its own. Said U.S. team member Chris Bosh, who admits to having once hated Coach K while he played at Georgia Tech: "We don't run too many plays. We just spread the floor, break guys down and share the ball."

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Even Krzyzewski's wardrobe reflected his "less is more" approach with Team USA. He ditched the dark suits he wears at courtside at Duke for a more casual Olympic look. The final was typical. Coach K wore a black polo shirt and gray slacks. It looked like casual Friday at the office.

But Krzyzewski was anything but casual about his team. He worked the referees. He prepared so feverishly - like he was a young coach at Army again - that his wife, Mickie, said she didn't recognize him. He took nothing for granted.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Marques Johnson to transfer from N.C. State

Wral Reports.

Guard Marques Johnson has decided to transfer from NC State, and will not be a part of the Wolfpack men’s basketball team for the upcoming 2008-09 season.

“Marques felt it would be in his best interest to take advantage of an opportunity somewhere else,” said head coach Sidney Lowe. “He definitely has handled himself with as much class as anybody that I’ve been around since he has been at NC State.”

Johnson transferred to N.C. State from Tennessee for the spring semester in 2007, and completed only one season with the Pack. The 6-goot-6 guard saw action in 21 games after having to miss the first eight contests due to NCAA transfer rules.
This isn't a huge surprise given it started looking like he was the 3rd point in the rotation this coming year and with more guards on the way. Still pretty odd to see someone transfer twice. You have to expect a few transfers as Sidney tried to build a team quickly and now works to upgrade the talent level, but let's hope not too many.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Josh Howard Returns to Winston....and gets Arrested

WXII Reports:
Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Howard was arrested and charged Thursday after a Winston-Salem police officer said he spotted him drag racing with another vehicle on Silas Creek Parkway near Highway 421.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Engin Atsür on ESPN

ESPN is running USA Basketball against Turkey a couple of times today. I've only seen a few moments of it so far but enough to see Engin get used by Kobe. Great to see him though.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sidney get a big one

WRAL reports...

Wolfpack gets commitment from four-star guard

Lorenzo Brown, a four-star guard from Georgia, has committed to N.C. State, is reporting.

The 6-foot-4 Brown becomes the Wolfpack’s second basketball commitment for the Class of 2009. He plays at Centennial High in Roswell, Ga. Brown is considered a quick player and solid shooter who could evolve into a college point guard. He continues Sidney Lowe’s push for sleek, versatile players who can play a more up-tempo style.

State also has a commitment from 6-5 Scott Wood of Marion, Ind. More...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Leaving early for Europe

This is the newest trend that will steal away ACC Stars

Dickey gives up senior season to go pro in Ukraine

Georgia Tech center Ra'Sean Dickey has given up his senior season to play professionally in the Ukraine.

Coach Paul Hewitt said Wednesday the 6-foot-10 Dickey signed a contract with Budivelnyk Kiev of the Ukrainian Super League. He redshirted last season to recover from acute tendinitis in his right knee and had a year of eligibility remaining.

"Ra'Sean and his family have decided that the time is right for him to begin his professional basketball career, and we wish him all the best," Hewitt said.

Dickey played in 89 games over three seasons, averaging 8.7 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 60.1 percent from the field. His best season was 2005-06, when he averaged 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds.

The Yellow Jackets were 15-17 last season, including 7-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Billy Packer Retires

This is a shock to me. Most of my friends HATE Billy Packer as we've talked about before. But growing up watching Thacker and Packer, I came to love the way he calls games. I trust his opinions. He wasn't perfect, made some mistakes at time, but all in all, I think knows more about the game than just about anyone on TV.

Well, news today is that CBS decided they were done with him. Speculation is that Clark Kellogg, who I also like a lot, will be paired with Jim Nance for Final Fours. Latest word is that today Packer said he is probably done calling basketball for good, meaning no Raycom/JP ACC Games. My hope is that this is just his initial feeling and that he'll change his mind on this front.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

UNC/Duke Documentary

Just caught this on The Buzz.

N&O Reports:

Carolina-Duke rivalry headed to HBO

Without "The Sopranos" or "Sex and the City," HBO needs programming. The premium cable channel is turning to Duke and UNC for help. HBO will air a documentary about the ACC's biggest rivals in Feb. 2009, according to's Richard Deitsch.

Full Story...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Heels dominate ACC Basketball next year...

Maybe, but this sure makes it seem more likely...

UNC's Lawson, Ellington, Green to return

I'm not too sure Ellington or Green were seriously going to be 1st rounders, but Carolina is certainly better with them. Lawson I believe probably would have been, but his recent legal troubles raised enough questions to cost him some serious $$'s, and coming back started making more and more sense.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Vinny Del Negro?
It's up to Vinny Del Negro to raise Bulls from ashes
Chicago Tribune, United States - 1 hour ago
Now it's Vinny Del Negro, the assistant general manager of the Suns and a man who has never coached a day in his life. If there are a few other people ...
NBA source: Bulls offer coaching job to Del Negro The Associated Press
Bulls expect to name Vinny Del Negro head coach Chicago Sun-Times
Vinny Del Negro to coach Bulls: report

Sunday, June 8, 2008

JJ Gone

Word is that JJ Hickson is staying in the NBA draft. I hope he does well and gets the payday he's after.

As far as NC State goes, a few thoughts come to mind:

  • Some may view the Hickson experience as Lowe vs. Sendek test. My belief is that Sendek had found a path to sucess in college by for the most part concentrating on guys that are 4 year guys. You could argue that he just couldn't draw one and done talent, and that is certainly true given that his offensive system wasn't about showcasing individual talent. But, it isn't a simple decision. Would you rather have a JJ Hickson or a Marcus Melvin? An OJ Mayo or Gavin Grant? A John Gilchrist or Engin Atsure? When you look at everything from potential trouble to graduation rates, I'm not sure what I'd do.
  • We've all talked about NC States chemistry issues. It brings up thoughts of addition through subtraction that was the basis of thin NC State hopes after the departure of Kenny Inge and company. No one should doubt that JJ Hickson was the best player on the court for NC State last year. BUT, I strongly believe that Sidney Lowe fell in love with the NBA body and potential of JJ, and completely lost his way offensively last year. Let's hope JJ's departure forces Lowe to install a college offense with some flow that allows his players to actually play the game, as opposed to last years endless series of set plays designed to exploit Hickson's strength.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ty Lawson Arrested

Washington Post
Tar Heels' Ty Lawson Arrested For Driving After Drinking
AOL SPORTS, NY - 2 hours ago
North Carolina point guard (and NBA draft hopeful) Ty Lawson was arrested for driving after consuming alcohol in Chapel Hill. ...
UNC Point Guard Ty Lawson Charged with Driving TransWorldNews (press release)
Ty Lawson Latest Tarheel To Suffer Cruel Fate Of Demon Liquor Deadspin
North Carolina's Ty Lawson charged with DWI The Associated Press

Monday, May 19, 2008

Former Dookie and Presidential Politics

Reggie Love and Obama.
The presidential candidates are all middle-age or elderly. Their campaigns, though, run on the power of youth, driven by legions of eager 20- and 30-something staff members.

Their ranks are thick with political-science geeks. The people who knew in third grade how many Electoral College votes went to Utah. The people who harbored dreams of a West Wing office before they could even drive.

And then there's Reggie Love.

At 26, Love, a former basketball and football player at Duke University, isn't exactly sure how he ended up as one of Barack Obama's most indispensable aides on the trail this year.

As Obama's "body man," he has spent almost every hour of every day with the presumptive Democratic nominee for the past 15 months.

He makes sure that Obama gets up on time in the morning, gets in the shower and has breakfast. He makes sure he has his daily briefing books and list of fundraisers or super delegates to call that day. He makes sure he gets to bed at night.

In between, he does a thousand other tasks that busy presidential candidates cannot do for themselves.

Love isn't quite sure how he ended up here, which is remarkable in an arena populated by young, careerist politicos.

Love is a native of Charlotte and majored in political science at Duke University, but until he fell into a job in Obama's Senate office in Washington in early 2006, he didn't expect to actually work in politics.

"Before I started working for Barack, I was very cynical about politics," he said in an interview this month.

He hoped to become a professional athlete. And though many people harbor those dreams unrealistically, Love almost made it -- and still might, at least overseas.

He was never the best player on Duke's basketball team during his run from 2000 to 2005. Playing forward and center, though, he was a key role player during a stretch in which Duke won a national championship and several ACC championships.

On Duke's sub-par football team, Love stood out. As a 6-foot, 4-inch, 225-pound wide receiver, he was good enough to try out for two NFL squads, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, though he missed the cut for both.

In 2006, he was considering entering a training program for a Wall Street investment bank, when a friend alerted him to an opening in Obama's Senate office in Washington. He got the job, and when Obama decided to run for president, moved on with him.

Mentally, he said, the past 15 months on the campaign trail have been like playing four straight seasons of college sports. Physically, he's feeling better than he did during the bruising NFL training camps.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Obama pointed out that one of the body man's most important roles is making sure the candidate isn't overwhelmed by demands to call fundraisers, or meet local supporters or edit a speech.

Love's temperament is suited for the job, he said.

"People … want me here or want me there, or are making requests, or are wanting some phone call out of me. Having somebody who is a good people person is really important," he said of Love.

At a campaign rally in Charlotte, Love's hometown, the weekend before the North Carolina primary, Obama coaxed a reluctant Love onto the stage, calling him "one of the staffers I love the most."

"He is there, day in, day out, never complains, has always got a cheerful attitude," Obama told the crowd. "He is going to be going places."

Basketball rivalries in North Carolina are fierce, and hatred of Duke is intense in many pockets. But Love said he didn't meet a single person who said they would not vote for Obama because of his decision to bring a Blue Devil on staff.

"Even though the Duke-Carolina rivalry is fierce, there's some civility to it. Much more so than with the (University of) Maryland fans," he said.

The body-man position has been around for years, but only gained recognition with the television show The West Wing, which made a lead character of the president's body man, Charlie Young.

The job is both exhausting and frequently repetitive, and includes lots of menial jobs. At a restaurant in Greensboro on the eve of the North Carolina primary, Love held Obama's box of hot wings while the candidate worked the crowd. Love carries his suit jacket when Obama gets warm.

The pressure is intense. He and other staff members are surrounded by hundreds of press members, so the fear of accidentally saying something to damage the campaign is real. Even seemingly trivial things get reported.

For example, earlier this month Obama, Love and other staff members went to the back of the campaign plane to challenge members of the press to a game of Taboo, a word-association game.

Players offer clues to teammates to get them to guess words. One of Love's clues, "where gay people buy clothes" was reported by dozens of news outlets. Obama guessed Abercrombie & Fitch. The answer was The Gap. More...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Carolina Transfer

Alex Stephenson is leaving Carolina. This one isn't too surprising considering Carlina is loaded and this kid does have NBA potential if he lands somewhere with exposure and playing time. All eyes are on the NBA Draft deadline now at Carolina to see if Green, Lawson and Ellington are gone or coming back. Lawson is the real key to whether Carolina is great or just very good next year.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tom Hammonds in Drag

Hammonds drops basketball for drag racing

Shooting free throws in front of a hostile crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium is among the most difficult tasks in sports. Timing the clutch, throttle and start lights at a drag strip is another.

Tom Hammonds has done both.

This weekend, the former Georgia Tech all-American returns to North Georgia to compete in maybe the sport that's first in his heart. Hammonds ran a pro stock during Friday's first round of qualifying at the Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway. The second round of qualifying continues today with the elimination rounds on Sunday.

"They're both tough," Hammonds said. "I enjoy them both, that's probably why I'm so hooked on drag racing. It's so competitive. I think a lot of athletes have trouble when they hang up the sneakers because they don't have anything competitive to fall back onto. One of the things I love about this particular class is that it is maybe the most competitive in all of motor sports. I jumped from the frying pan into the fire when I got into this class."

Hammonds has some work to do to make the Southern Nationals finals on Sunday. Hammonds failed to qualify in the top 12 after two rounds on Friday. He ran ties of 6.747 seconds (23rd) and 6.775 (22nd) on Friday. He needs to shave nearly a full second off of that time in two qualifying rounds today to keep racing on Sunday.

"It's kind of good and bad," Hammonds said. "We definitely have some room for improvement. The obstacle that we're facing now is getting the correct tuneup. We have the power to run with the best in this class. But I just think we're missing on our tuneup."

Hammonds has qualified for three elimination rounds in six races this season.

Racing is a sport that does not give much elbow room to people who buy their clothes at the big-and-tall stores. Cockpits are cramped. Steering columns and control pedals are positioned a little too up close and personal for people with limbs long like a Sunday drive. Hammonds stands 6-foot-9 and played in the NBA for 12 seasons. Just like buying a suit, he can't squeeze into anything right off of the rack.

"My Chevrolet Cobalt's made specifically for me," Hammonds said. "It takes my height into consideration. My seat's notched into the frame. My pedals are further forward and the steering column is a little bit raised up. I feel safer in my Cobalt going 205 mph than I do in my own car going 85. Believe me, I can get out of it fast when I need to."

Hammonds is one of the best basketball players Georgia Tech has ever produced. He was a two-time all-ACC performer, a third-team all-American and had his jersey retired after averaging 20.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in 1989. He was the ninth overall pick in the first round of the NBA draft and played 12 seasons for the Washington Bullets, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I've got a lot of good memories. It feel good to come back," Hammonds said. "It feels good to be able to come back and reminisce about some of the old times because I'm getting old. I feel old too. It's good to see a lot of old faces."

Hammonds comes from a hot rod family so he had racing in his blood before basketball. His father, Tom Hammonds II, was a racer and the younger Hammonds took over for his father.

"I've been doing this most of my life," Hammonds said. "My dad used to do a lot of racing and everybody wants to grow up to be like your dad. I just got bit by the bug. If I go one week or two weeks without smelling rubber, I'm in bad shape. That's just what I like to do. I love to drag race. Other than playing basketball, that's all I've ever done."

Hammonds started racing professionally while he still played in the NBA. He entered his first pro stock competition in 1997. He qualified for his first elimination field also in 1997.

He retired from the NBA in 2001 and three weeks later he made his first final. He finished 14th in points in 2002, his only full racing season.

He dropped out of racing in 2004 to buy a Chevy dealership in Darlington, S.C. But he couldn't stay away from the track and sold the business to return to racing.

"Running that desk wasn't competitive enough for me," Hammonds said. "I missed racing too much so I decided to sell out and come back to what I love."

Dawkins finally gets a job

I was really wondering if this would ever happen.

Stanford hires Johnny Dawkins as basketball coach

Johnny Dawkins has accepted Stanford's offer to become the school's next basketball coach, sources have told the Mercury News.

Dawkins, 44, is a former Duke star who has served on the Blue Devils' coaching staff since 1998. He replaces Trent Johnson, the Pacific-10 Conference coach of the year who left this month for Louisiana State after leading the Cardinal to the Sweet 16.

Incoming freshman Jarrett Mann told the Mercury News this morning that he received a call late Friday night from point guard Mitch Johnson, who informed Mann of the hire. Mitch Johnson was on Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby's search committee.

"Mitch sounded like he was excited," Mann said.

Mann, a 6-foot-5 swingman, said he likes the fact that Dawkins also played in the NBA.

During his playing career at Duke, Dawkins scored 2,556 points - then a school record - and led the Blue Devils to the 1986 NCAA final.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ACC Big 10 Challenge Schedule - Minus State

The schedule of next years ACC - Big 10 Challenge has been released. I'm not sure this is how it works, but it appears that the last place team in the ACC doesn't get to play the next year, so no Wolfpack this year.

Full Story from Baltimore Sun:

2008 ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Monday, Dec. 1

Wisconsin at Virginia Tech

Tuesday, Dec. 2

Ohio State at Miami
Clemson at Illinois
Duke at Purdue
Virginia at Minnesota
Iowa at Boston College

Wednesday, Dec. 3

Michigan at Maryland
Indiana at Wake Forest
North Carolina at Michigan State
Florida State at Northwestern

Monday, April 14, 2008

Barnstorming Seniors

I was wondering if these games still existed. Of course when I was growing up, the basketball scene was very different. There was 1 game on mid-week, and we watched it no matter who it was. Then if you were lucky there might be 2 ACC games on during the weekend. At least that is the way I remember it. In the days before we managed to get Wake Forest tickets, one of the highlights of the year was the YMCA sponsored all-star game at the end of the season, where ACC seniors and some other local college players would play in an all-star game. It was a blast, especially given that for many of us it was the only chance to see our hero's in person.

With the over-exposed nature of college basketball now, not suprisingly, these aren't as big anymore, but still looks like fun:

ACC basketball buzz hits Surry Central

Jeremy Moorhouse

Staff Reporter

Surry Central High School will be buzzing on Monday night when the ACC All-Stars take on the Surry County All-Stars in the 30th annual ACC All-Star Barnstorming Tour.

The ACC All-Star team features Duke's DeMarcus Nelson, North Carolina's Quentin Thomas and N.C. State's Gavin Grant while the Surry County team is composed of former players from Surry Central, North Surry, East Surry, Mount Airy and Elkin High Schools.

Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Former North Surry basketball coach Ron King will coach the ACC team and Surry Community College coach Tony Searcy will coach the Surry team.

“We are hoping the gym is full, the floor is full and that there are people in the lobby,” said Surry Central athletic director Mark Snow. “We have plenty of tickets available.

“We are excited about it. We think it's going to be a good time.” More...

Historical spin on StickerGate

Fantastic article by Al Clark of The Daily Reflector, includes several references to the teams we grew up loving and even a CD Chesley mention.

And there was the best game no one ever saw: It would have been a national final between UNC and UNC-Charlotte in 1977 had Marquette not beaten the 49ers. Charlotte's team that year — with Cornbread Maxwell — was one of the best and most fun to watch of all.

Of course, for any basketball fan on this side of the country, one of the great evenings of the modern era came when that great State team beat John Wooden's UCLA with Bill Walton in the national semifinals — finally. And State, Valvano and 1983's win over Houston — wow. I won an office pool on that one.

I can pretty much mark out big portions of my life by the basketball season successes and failures of Carolina and all of our old ACC teams (I haven't quite reached out to the newer conference teams yet).

I just never thought it a stretch to enjoy great performances by teams with which you shared a connection. My connection was with the ACC's great basketball schools nurtured by growing up in range of WBTV in Charlotte and the old C.D. Chesley Co. network broadcasts of their games, the first of which was that 1957 Carolina national championship.

Forgive me all you folks not familiar with these broadcasts sponsored by Pilot Life Insurance Co., later Jefferson-pilot. But I can hear the "Sail with the Pilot" theme song even now — a friend's dad was a Pilot Life rep and he gave me a coin bank in the shape of the logo nearly 50 years ago. I still have it. More...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Carolina Fans are Ridiculous

(Photo from SportingNews). You can't quite make it out, but that white blog on Roy's shirt at last night's game is a Kansas Jayhawk.

If you haven't heard sports radio today, UNC fans are having a spell over Roy supporting Kansas. This isn't all Carolina fans, but this is just to that segment of you who are idiots. GROW UP. It wasn't that long ago that your program was in a freefall under Mad Matt. Roy saved you all.

Seriously, Duke loses in the 2nd round and has transfers, State loses period, and UNC makes the Final Four and their fans are upset with something stupid like this? I like Carolina, but man do some of these fans make it hard.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hatching something from that Egg

I get no joy out of saying that Carolina laid an egg in their Final Four game against Kansas. I know the one-and-done nature of the tournament is one of the things that makes it great, but man, with this final four, am I the only one that wishes every matchup was actually a best of 3?

I'm sure most people in North Carolina remember NC State's game at the Dean Dome this year, scoring something like 12 points in the first 10 hours of the first half. That is what it felt like for Carolina fans last night. 40-12 is going to stick in my mind for a long time. I know you don't come back on a team like Kansas from 28 down, but damn if they didn't almost do it. But as happens so many times, they just couldn't ever pull even, and Kansas didn't completely fold, although they came close.

Final Four's are great for most schools, or at every school for some years, but for this particular team you can only feel disappointment at the moment. I didn't watch with a clear enough head to understand why things unfolded as they did. Maybe the non-stop media attention took a toll on Hansbrough. Ty Lawson was nowhere near Ty of old. Danny Green isn't quite superman.

Now, like at many schools, the Draft Watch starts. If all these guys do come back, maybe Roy can find a way to hatch and even better team out of the egg they laid last night.

Roy's press conference is Here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lest We Forget...

Happy Anniversary Jimmy V

Wow! Has it really been 25 years? Damn... we're getting old.

Here is our post from last year...
The Cinderella Team Has Done It...

SlamOnline... N.C. State 25 years later Q&A

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Curry Effect

Before I jump into serious topics, if you didn't watch PTI yesterday, this is worth a watch. If I hadn't already been Punk'd by the kids a few times I might have actually bitten:

As you've likely already heard, Duke's 3 point machine, Taylor King is transferring from Duke. The thing of course that jumps to most people's mind is that he can't play good enough defense to get the playing time he wants, and feels like maybe he won't. Everyone has and will be talking about what is wrong at Duke given the high volume of transfers and early departures of late. At a minimum you have to believe the Duke staff needs to do a better job evaluating who will fit happily into their system. People are predicting the end of the era of Duke greatness. That is ridiculous, but it is equally dumb to think all is well.

But, this got me thinking a bit about Stephen Curry. If I'm Taylor King, sitting in my dorm room at Duke watching the NCAA tournament, and see this skinny little kid at Davidson becoming the nation's favorite basketball player, I can't help but think:

"Damn, I can shoot like that, and it sure doesn't look like Curry is having to work nearly as hard on defense as I have to every day. If I had gone to a school like Davidson, I'd probably be leading the nation in 3 point shots this year".

Maybe he was gone from Duke already, but you can't help but imagine this type of thing could have an effect.

Yesterday they announce the finalists for the John R. Wooden Award given to the nations best player. The expected names are there:

  • Augustin
  • Beasley
  • Hansbrough
  • Love
The surprise, the inclusion of a skinny kid playing in the Southern Conference, Stephen Curry.

Only time will tell if I'm right on this, but over the next few years, I predict that major conference coaches are going to be fighting "The Curry Effect". Major schools regularly over-recruit. Some schools bring in far too many top 200 kids to actually play. We've seen some schools have McDonald's All-Americans who end up riding the bench. With this shining example of Stephen Curry, I think many more very capable kids are going to think about an alternative path to their careers.

Sure, the one-and-done type kids who know they have NBA talent and are planning on declaring at the first legal moment are still going where the exposure is. But, there are many, many more players with NBA dreams who know it will take them 3 or 4 years and a lot of development before they are going to get a chance to be an NBA player. Stephen Curry is going to play in the NBA. BUT, if he had somehow ended up sitting the bench at Duke for a couple of years instead of getting major playing time, would he have developed the same way? I think you can make a compelling argument that someone like Curry ended up in the perfect situation to satisfy every possible goal a young ball player could want:
  • Win
  • Get exposure
  • Be the Big Man on campus
  • Develop into an NBA Player
So, for some percentage of kids who typically end up at major conference schools, who have decent careers, maybe end up playing a few years overseas before giving up hoops for a realistic career, a different college choice, to a small school with a very good coach could be the difference between NBA or not.

Whether that argument is accurate or not, you can damn well expect every small and mid-major coach on the recruiting trail to make the argument, and I think it will be persuasive in many more cases than in the past. If you think we have parity in College Basketball now, just wait until "The Curry Effect" takes hold.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Chalk Talk; Shooting Cats; Packer

Thank god for Davidson, or the 2nd weekend of hoops could have been quite boring with 4 number one seeds winning out for the first time EVER. While all #1's could have been bad for this past weekend, in that no big upsets to enjoy, it certainly sets up what could be the most exciting final four in a long time. On the surface you'd have to say UNC and Memphis should be favored because they just playing great, BUT, Kevin Love can really change a game, and it isn't that Kansas played bad yesterday, it was that they were playing an exceptional team. I'm really looking forward to the semi's.

Prop's to Tyler Hansbrough. In a game where he was outsized and early looked like he might get out-played, he stepped up big-time. It was probably the most impressive outing I've seen in his 3 years. Unlike most State and Duke fans I know, I really like this Carolina team. Go Heels.

Speaking of Davidson, I'm not sure there is much else to say that hasn't been said. That was a very good team, with an amazing player. They came within 1 shot of making the final four. That shot didn't go, but this has been quite a good run and I hope it pays dividends at Davidson for a long time. My hope is this puts them on the map nationally allowing them to schedule much like Gonzaga does, and also really let's them aim higher recruiting wise.

For all of my friends who hate Billy Packer (and it seems they all do for some reason), interesting article about Packer getting ready to call his 100th Final Four game.

Really neat read about Packer and his many ventures. He also is dead on about something I think a lot will agree with:

He is less amiable, however, when it comes to the decline of American basketball. He pegs the turning point at 1992 and the juxtaposition of the Olympic Dream Team with the arrival at Michigan of the ill-fated Fab Five.

The Dream Team, Packer said, "was made up of guys who went through the natural maturation process and learned how to play the game. They had incredibly competitive drive as a team. The same year, Duke won the national championship with a junior and senior team that was very focused.

"The Fab Five began the new era. They came in with all this hype and never won anything. How can you be the Fab Five and never win a Big 10 championship? Plus, they were on the take. It was not 'what I can do for the game.' It's 'what can the game do for me.'"

The 'and-one' factor

Packer said modern players are devoted to what he describes as "and-one basketball — a game that is non-competitive except for one thing: You are showing your entertainment value with the ball in your hands."

"Our modern athlete does not know how to compete as part of a team. He knows how to exhibit singular basketball skills with great athleticism, but he doesn't know how to play."

That's why Packer rolls his eyes at the notion that recent teams — for example, Duke's teams of the late 1990s -- could rank among the best ever.

"Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry Lucas and Bill Walton all played as seniors," he said. "Do you think they would have lost any sleep the night before they played Elton Brand, a 6-5 sophomore, at the center position? Please. Jerry West and Oscar Robertson played in the NCAA final as seniors. Do you think they would have worried about O.J. Mayo?"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Then there was One

Looks like Carolina is the last hope:

The Free Lance-Star
Recap: Virginia Tech vs. Ole Miss
Kansas City Star, MO - 9 hours ago
By Sports Network Chris Warren scored 22 points and dished out six assists to lead the Ole Miss Rebels to an 81-72 victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies in ...
Ole Miss beats Virginia Tech in NIT quarterfinals Kansas City Star
Ole Miss (23-10) at Virginia Tech (21-13) Kansas City Star
Ole Miss muscles by TechDaily Press

Recap: Virginia vs. Bradley
Kansas City Star, MO - 10 hours ago
By Sports Network Jeremy Crouch poured in 27 points to lead the Bradley Braves to a 96-85 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers in semifinal round action of ...
Crouch's 27 points lead Bradley past Virginia in CBI semifinals International Herald Tribune
Bradley Rips Virginia, Advnaces to CBI Finals Central Illinois Proud
Bradley Braves vs. Virginia Cavaliers Offshore Insider

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Duke Blame Game; Is Expansion the ACC's Problem?

OK, 4 days is enough. Talk Radio and water cooler talk for 4 days has mostly been about what went wrong with Duke. Let me be the first to say, West Virginia did have a bit to do with it. They played a good game and hit shots, and it was as much about WVU winning as it was about Duke losing. But, in ACC country, everyone is rushing to assign blame for Duke's 2nd straight year of failing to make it to the sweet 16. I'll throw a few out there that I've heard:

  • Coach K is too distracted by the olympics
  • Duke can't get a decent big man and can't keep the ones they get (maybe because a short little point guard coaches big men at Duke)
  • Nelson just flat out choked
  • Duke is tired. Not physically, but mentally tired for some reason.
At this point, I have no idea. To quote Barack Obama on why he picked the Heels over Duke: "I love Duke, but let's face it, they don't got the horses this year". OK, enough blame. Let's move on. Go Heels, Go Wildcats.


Duke aside, the ACC's NCAA performance has been poor for a few years now. I keep coming back in my mind to expansion and how that could be impacting things. Obviously the Big East expanded in reaction to the ACC raiding 3 of their teams, but the difference is they pulled in teams that are traditionally very strong in basketball. The ACC pulled in 3 schools that are traditionally very poor basketball schools. But, oddly enough, while those new schools have under-performed badly in football, they've actually done quite well in basketball. BC is in a rebuilding year, but have had quality basketball teams in the past few. Miami made the NCAA this year, and VaTech was one of the last teams out. So how can you argue that expansion has been the cause of ACC woes? I'm not sure you can, but I'll try.

  1. Without a doubt over the last 3 decades the ACC has been the premiere basketball conference in the country, by any measure you want to choose. Playing in the ACC has always had a certain amount of prestige for players. With expansion, it is suddenly a little easier as a player to play in the ACC. I'm not saying the new schools take bad players, but at a minimum it opens up more slots. I'm not even saying that someone like Miami is getting kids that would have gone to another ACC school before, but just saying it is a little easier to get into the ACC now and maybe it has lost a little of the prestige.
  2. Duke and UNC are royalty in college basketball. For many players, if you can't play for either of those schools, you might be interested at least in playing at a school that plays them twice a year. I firmly believe that over the years, that idea has helped the remaining ACC schools. Come play at NC State and you'll play on National TV four times a year against Duke and Carolina. Only guess what, now it isn't always twice a year. For a few years, NC State only got Duke once. You couldn't promise an incoming freshman that he'll get to play in Cameron 4 times. Could that factor actually be hurting recruiting at the other ACC schools?
  3. The ACC now has unbalanced scheduling. VaTech is a good example this year. They played Clemson, Duke, and UNC only once each this year. You can make the argument that this really helped them build a winning conference record. But possibly more importantly, this also robbed them of 3 chances at a season making "big win" which might have put them into the tournament.
OK, that's all I can come up with. Not sure if I believe it, but I'd certainly love to understand and explain what is wrong with the ACC.

Virginia Teams still Alive

Not that anyone is really paying attention, but UVA and VaTech keep winning.

Singletary's heroics send UVa past ODU
News & Observer, NC - 11 hours ago
He then made a layup and free throw after a steal with four seconds left to give UVa (17-15) the lead for good at 78-75. Old Dominion (18-16) had a chance ...

Virginia Tech Collegiate Times Online Edition
Recap: Virginia Tech vs. UAB
Kansas City Star, MO - 13 hours ago
By Sports Network AD Vassallo tallied a game-high 18 points as the Virginia Tech Hokies ran away from the UAB Blazers, 75-49, in the second round of the NIT ...
COL BKB: Virginia Tech 75, UAB 49 United Press International
Virginia Tech vs. Alabama Birmingham in second round of NIT WWBT
NCAA Basketball Betting Action – NIT Picks - Virginia Tech Hosts UAB

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stephen Curry is The Man

Davidson 74 Georgetown 70

It would have been nice if CBS had allowed us to see Davidson come from 17 down in the second half. You would think that CBS would dedicate the four feeds to each game site and let those of us who have digital cable decide for ourselves which game we would like to see. Yea, I know I could have gotten of my rear and gone to the computer to watch it, but I guess I'm too lazy...
From what Packer and Nance were saying, Curry put on a heck of a show in the 2nd half after being held to 5 in the first half. He finished with 30, giving him 70 for the weekend... wonder when the last time something like that happened.

In Ken's previous post he asked Is The ACC Really This Weak?. ACC schools cannot miss on players like Curry if they are going to claim dominance. Imagine this. You have a mediocre basketball program at best. Your school's all-time greatest player has a son graduating from high school who happens to hit 48% of his 3 pointers and you ask him to walk-on for his freshman year. Congratulations Seth Greenberg you are living that reality as you battle in the NIT.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Is the ACC Really this weak?

Duke continued to look like a very mediocre team as they got spanked by WVU. Much like Clemson last night, they just couldn't hit shots. It didn't matter if they were 3's or those "free" ones, they just didn't fall. You could make some excuses about how just sometimes the shots don't fall, but all evidence, from our measly 4 teams in, to the performances so far, point to the fact that the ACC just isn't what it used to be. Maybe this is a temporary situation, or maybe it is the new ACC.

So what could the problem be? I've been stewing over this for a while. I'm sure after Miami loses, I'll stew some more. I understand why NC State isn't great right now. Coaching changes do that sometimes even when they are the right move. Who knows if State's on the right track or not. But, Duke is obviously not what we thought they were. It was mostly an illusion because the rest of the league was bad. Clemson is up, but just too new at this NCAA thing. Maryland is a mess. UVA is in transition as always. GaTech is stinging from too many NBA departures. Wake needs more players. VaTech may be about the best they've ever been, which is mediocre. And the rest are football schools, right?

If UNC let's us down, this could be the first time in my fanhood that the ACC will go 3 years in a row without a final four team. I really hope not.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Day 1 wasn't the most exciting day I've seen, but after that Duke game, I think I'll take a little more boring. Duke may yet turn it around and make some noise in this tournament, but I've got to say I'll be surprised. Belmont came to play for sure, and they can flat out play, but Duke looks awful, and Nelson is CHOKING! I'm not sure what the problem is, but it sure seems like a long time since a senior really stepped up for Duke late in the year.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hickson to NBA

After the NBA Audition disguised as an ACC Tournament game in Charlotte on Thursday, I don't think anyone would be suprised by this. (subscription)
NC State's Hickson to enter draft; won't hire agent - 16 hours ago
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe says freshman JJ Hickson will enter his name in the NBA draft this year but won't hire an agent. ...
Report: Hickson to enter NBA draft N.C. State University Technician Online
Hickson to Explore NBA Draft
Hickson to Enter the Draft, Won't Hire Agent Pack Pride

Monday, March 17, 2008

How to Avoid the Dreaded NCAA Snub

The brackets are out, and for the umpteenth consecutive year, someone is complaining about being snubbed by the selection committee. While you can make arguments for why the likes of Arizona State or Virginia Tech, should be in the tournament, let’s face it, there are also compelling reasons why the so-called snubbed teams should not be in the NCAA’s. In their selections and snubs, the Selection Committee has left some pretty clear messages as to what it takes for a bubble team to make it to the dance and for a conference to maximize the number of teams it gets into the tournament.

I actually heard a few people say that there must be a dark cloud hanging over Herb Sendek’s head. He doesn’t have a dark cloud, just poor to unfortunate scheduling. When he was at State, Herb never blew anyone’s doors off with the Wolfpack’s non-conference schedule, and it appears that he has continued that tradition at Arizona State. The Sun Devils were hurt a bit by Illinois, Princeton, and LSU having bad seasons, but loading up with Cal Poly, Fl Gulf Coast, Idaho and St Francis isn’t exactly going to help your tournament aspirations unless you plan on winning 10-12 conference games. The selection committee made a very clear statement about scheduling when they took Arizona ahead of Arizona State despite the Sun Devils sweeping the season series. The bottom line, if you play in a power conference, a 82nd ranked RPI is not going to get you an at-large bid. Next time, try having a non-conference RPI a little better than 296.

Virginia Tech was painfully close to making it into the dance. A win against the Heels on Saturday would have probably put the Hokies into the field of 65, but their five losses to teams that are 100th or worse ultimately did them in. The Hokies became the first ACC team to finish 9-7 in the conference and win a game in the tournament and not be invited to the NCAA Tournament. This means that the selection committee is paying attention to who your conference wins are against. The Hokies nine regular season ACC wins came against Maryland, Virginia, Boston College, Florida State and Wake Forest. Notice a theme among the teams they beat? Not a single winning conference record among the group. Tech’s only win against the top 50 came in the tournament against Miami. The lesson here is that if you’re going to have a winning record in a power conference, win a couple against the power teams and don’t lose any games to teams outside of the top 100.

So, what does it take for a conference to maximize the number of teams it gets into the tournaments? For starters, Conference RPI does not mean as much as you would think. The top rated ACC only got 33.3% of its teams into the tournament, while the 5th rated Big East got 50% of its teams into the tournament. Each conference needs at least two teams that are so hapless, that marginal teams don’t have to worry about losing to them. Sure, the ACC regular reason was compelling, but think about it, the last place team (NC State) beat Miami, Va Tech, Wake and Florida State. Each of those teams could have definitely benefited from another win or two. Look at the Big East. USF Rutgers and St Johns did not pose much of a threat to any of the leagues mid-range teams although Rutgers did manage to beat Pitt and Villanova. I guess Pitt had to win the Big East tournament to make up for that loss Finally, conferences need to make sure that their teams need to schedule some tough opponents during the non-conference part of their schedules. Nowadays, it seems like coaches want to build a schedule that guarantees 20 wins. I’ve got news for you, 20 wins does not guarantee a trip to the NCAA tournament. Go ahead and play a few big games. I almost think a close loss, especially on the road does not hurt you as bad as playing a steady diet of the bottom 100.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tigers, Seth's Pop, Duke Funk, Charlotte thoughts, Hickson Tryout

If you aren't a UNC or Duke fan, you've got to love this Clemson Tigers team. Good kids, well respected coach, fun style of play, and a long history of futility to overcome. It all sounds like the lead-in to a great story. Last year that great story turned very sour. This year is different. They are in the ACC finals for the first time in 46 years and are going to the NCAAs for the first time since Rick Barnes (is that right?). The key to today's game may be Ty Lawson's ankle, which has seen too much action so far.

Tyler's big shot to beat VaTech yesterday did more than solidify him as national player of the year, it also likely popped Seth Greenberg's bubble hopes. I'm sure there is a name for the situation where two contradictory arguments are both right. This is one of those situations. How can the ACC, generally recognized as either the best or 2nd best conference in the country, get only 4 teams in the NCAA? How can the Big10 and the SEC, both way down this year get more? They can't right?. But, when you look at the credentials of VaTech, how can they possibly get in. Seriously, the best thing on their resume is following a 39pt loss in Chapel Hill, with an impressive 2pt loss to Carolina in Charlotte. Who knows, anything can happen this year. This is the weakest list of bubble teams we've seen possibly ever. It may be that Georgia is playing for that last bubble spot today. I'll predict if GA loses, either VaTech or Arizona State gets in. If GA wins, both are staying home.

Duke does not look good, and hasn't really in weeks. There are some nagging little injuries, but that isn't the issue. It may be that the ACC teams have finally figured out how to defend the postless offense. It may just be a bad shooting streak and they'll shoot themselves back into some confidence with an easy win in the opening round. One thing that struck me is the number of players K is playing. Coming down to the end of some seasons, I and other fans have tended to blame Duke slumps on players being tired because K doesn't play enough people, and by the end of the season they are just too fatigued. We've always begged him to play a deeper bench. This year he's consistently been able to go 10 deep and hasn't done his usual tightening of the rotation. Guess what, they still look a little burned out. Moral of the story: There is no magic formula to winning, and fans don't know what they are talking about.

Charlotte has been an interesting venue for the tournament. Here are some random thoughts:

  • Like Tampa, and Atlanta for that matter, it is nice to have many restaurants and bars within easy walking distance. Parking was a bit of a pain, and the scene isn't great for tailgating like Gboro is.
  • Unlike Tampa, with the FanFest 3 blocks away, and no visible signs pointing you to it, I have to imagine FanFast traffic has been way down.
  • Upstairs seats are worse than they are in Gboro, mainly because the luxury box setup takes up so much vertical space, pushing the upper deck higher.
  • Ticket Prices have gone through the roof. Tampa of course was going to have cheap tickets, but Charlotte pricing has been way above even Greensboro. Some factors include:
    -A lot of people live and work near downtown and dropped by just to see if they could get in
    -UNC is #1, and a ton of UNC grads work and live in Charlotte, a bunch of them have big $$'s.
    -Clemson fans really showed up on Saturday.
    I didn't stick around for the finals today, but unless you got lucky, going rate for upstairs ticket for the semi's was over $200, with scalpers openly asking for $250 for very bad seats.

Being a typical state fan, it takes a long time to let go of a bad loss. Being a typical blogger, more often than doing any real reporting, I'll take a theory and just tell people about it. Thursdays NC State loss had the appearance of being an NBA audition for JJ Hickson. I have no inside knowledge of whether JJ is playing on going pro. But, the way Sidney Lowe called the offense made it appear that the main thing he cared about for that game wasn't winning, but was making sure JJ made an impression that would optimize his draft position. So, taking a walk through my conspiratorial mind for a moment, if you were Sidney Lowe and you were given 2 facts:
  • JJ Hickson is going pro at the end of this season
  • This NC State team is not going to win enough games in Charlotte to go anywhere.
If given those two facts, could you, in your mind come to the conclusion that the best thing you could do for one of your kids, and in the long run, your program, is to do whatever you could to make sure he is a 1st round pick? Think about it, having a one-and-done 1st round pick might impress some other recruit who has a similar path in mind. Could that be what we witnessed?

Hickson played 33 minutes, had 14 shot attempts, 15 free-throw attempts, and 27 points.

Gavin Grant, the leader of the team in every way for the past 2 years played 13 minutes, 3 shot attempts, 2 free-throw attempts, and 2 pts.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Clemson makes it to the Finals!?

Tigers get rematch against Heels

Clemson playing in the ACC Championship Game is literally a once in a lifetime event… Only once in the 55 year history of the ACC has Clemson made it to the championship game, and that wasn’t even in my lifetime. The Tigers last made it to the championship game in 1962 when coincidently they knocked off # 2 seed Duke in the semis. The folks at StateFans Nation have adopted the Tigers and quite frankly so have I. With all of the discussion in the Triangle during the past week about whether or not Carolina was committed to winning the ACC title, it is refreshing to see a team make it to the Championship that you have no doubt about. Make no mistake about it, if Clemson manages to finally get over the hump against the Heels, they will cherish the ACC Championship more than they will breaking their 10-year NCAA drought.

In the other ACC Semi Final, Tyler Hansbrough showed why in my opinion he should be the conscious National Player of the Year. Sure, whenever a shot goes up, you sort of expect Hansbrough to have a good shot at getting the rebound, but swishing a fade away jumper from the right side to win the game? That’s a new wrinkle to his game that will make him that much more dangerous as the Heels battle for the ACC and NCAA championships. Hansbrough had 26 points and 9 rebounds as he refused to let the Heels lose in their come from behind win against the Holies.

Arguably, Clemson and Carolina played in the two most exciting games of the ACC regular season. Should make for an interesting championship game. Keep in mind, Clemson has found two new weapons… A healthy James Mayes who has been a beast since getting the cast off of his hand, and a new found stroke from the free throw line. The Tigers shot 68% from the line against Duke, including an unheard of 7-8 in the last two minutes.

ACC Semi's

Yesterday's games didn't live up to the ticket prices. Charlotte it turns out is a pretty hard ticket. Even Duke is drawing down here. With upstairs seats slightly over face, downstairs tickets for last nights games easily brought $60 over face.

The games unfortunately were quite boring. Clemson had their best game of the year. Duke wasn't really tested. I think most people realize that Clemson may beat Duke, and possibly should be favored, but nobody, including me thinks VaTech can stay in the building with Carolina. Maybe we are all in for a surprise.

Unless the pending rain scares off buyers, this will likely be the hardest semi's ticket we've seen in several years.

Who you pulling for? A building Collapse?

I'm sure you've heard it before. I probably first said it long ago about a Kentucky Louisville matchup. Who do you pull for when you hate both teams? You pull for the building to collapse on both of them. Of course, it was always a joke. Last nights storms in Atlanta were no joke, and now the SEC has a mess on their hands, with talk of playing at GaTech they'll have to refund a ton of tickets. They also seem to have only 3 options to handle the fact Ga-Kentucky didn't play last night

  1. Winner of that game this morning plays again tonight
  2. Play only that game today, then semi's tomorrow and end with co-champions of the tournament
  3. Somehow play a game Monday night, which complicates all sorts of things related to NCAA.
These are the options I've heard. Of course, what seems more fair and better, just screws TV schedules up badly is UGA/KY play today, then on Sunday they play both semi's, and the the finals. The problem is, the team that plays the 2nd semi wouldn't have much of a break before going into the finals, so, you split up the semi games. Play them simultaneously, one in Phillips Arena, one at GaTech, then get them together for the finals an hour later.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Day two

Tougher ticket today given that charlotte is like chapel hill west. Got a friend in below face, and then made enough on a few other transactions to buy some refreshments. Unc was beatable today but fsu just didn't hit the shots.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Season Mercifully Ends for the Wolfpack

What has to be the most difficult season in recent memory has finally come to an end for the Wolfpack. A season that started with so much promise ended with hardly a whimper as the Wolfpack lost their ninth straight game… this one at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes by a score of 63-50. The nine straight losses marks the most consecutive defeats since the 1991-92 season which according to my records is the most consecutive losses in NC State history. Needless to say, it is also most consecutive losses to end a season. The pervious record was eight in a row to end the 1983-84 season.

There was lots of bad karma for the Pack even before the season started. There were the distractions of assistant coach Larry Harris’ off-season arrest for DWI and the legal issues that Sidney Lowe, Jr. still faces. There was also Costner’s knee injury in the Pan-Am tryouts. There is no telling what that cost us in lost development time and apparently player confidence. Remember how stoked everyone was when JJ had 31 points against William and Mary? Turns out that was a bad omen as well. The last 2 freshmen to “go off” in a season opener were Ishua Benjamin in 1994-95 and Ivan Wagner in 1995-96 when each scored 29 points to start the season. The Pack played in the Les Robinson invitational both years. Coincidently, the 95-96 Wolfpack finished 15-16 and finished last in the ACC regular season.

Not having a point guard really hurt this season. We will never know for sure how good this team could have been, but let’s face it if you can’t defend or score points, you’re not going to win many games. This team was painfully un-athletic. As a result, they could not force turnovers that convert into easy baskets. Scoring from a half-court set is difficult even with a point guard. Given that the vast majority of the players were recruited by “you know who,” there is the built-in excuse that Sid doesn’t have his own players yet. It is a valid point, but another disaster like this season, and Sid is going to have a difficult time sticking around to see a team full of his players.

It’s real easy to be down on the Pack athletic program as a whole right now. NC State has top-notch athletic facilities which has not always been the case. This investment in facilities has the Wolfpack Club members, who have been asked to dig deep into their packets, expecting results If the on-field performance in all sports does not soon match the quality of the facilities, App State Athletic Director Charlie Cobb won’t be worrying about who to schedule for football games in Boone

Sid asks a Referee for advice on which way the guards
need to cut in the Pack's offensive sets.

day 1 wrap

I think I just need to stop pulling for teams, I didn't win a game today. Of course, I don't care who wins BC/MD anyway.

Wake gave it a run, and their future looks bright. UVA played pretty well, but GaTech just shot lights out, and you can't overcome 58% shooting.

NC State was just pitiful. I have almost no confidence in Sidney Lowe right now. Maybe I'll feel better in a few days, but there was talent on this NC State team, and the offensive schemes completely mis-used it consistently this year. It was so pathetic at one point I turned to my friend to explain what Sidney needed to say during the under 8 timeount. "You guys remember that offense you ran two years ago? Go out and try that for a little while."

One other thing I'll complain about. I gave Herb hell in his life here for not honoring some traditions, like starting seniors on senior day. The fact that Gavin Grant ended his career apparently in the dog-house, and didn't get to make an exit to applause is ridiculous!

OK, enough of that, now to finally start enjoying college basketball, since the painful part of the year is over.

Got in for session 2 tonight for $5 upstairs. Unlike Greensboro, upstairs seats here are really high, much like RBC Center. It makes a huge difference, and I don't like it. We'll see what tomorrow brings, but I expect the UNC fans to come out and get prices up a little closer to face.

Lowe confidence

This season can't end soon enough and sidney better change his style before next year.

Nice arena

Sparse crowd for the first game. Ended up paying 35 for lowers. Could have gotten cheaper i think but got hungry and did not want to wait. Go deacs

Live from charlotte

Tickets everywhere. Looks like a cool scene so far.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Charlotte Details

The official ACC Tournament site from is at

ACC FanFest runs in conjunction with the 2008 ACC Basketball Tournament and is an interactive event with something for the entire family! There will be plenty of interactive games, daily giveaways, food & beverage and an Official Tournament Merchandise store. Corporate Partner elements include Pepsi Live!, Food Lion Cooking Stage, Alltel (featuring Dick Vitale on Thursday), Gatorade G2, Chick-fil-A photo booth, RBC Centura face painter and GEICO prize wheel.

Other attractions throughout the event include appearances/basketball clinics by former great players from the ACC, autograph session with members of the 2008 ACC Legends class and ACC school mascots. On Saturday, you’ll be able to watch the Legends Program and first semi-final game on a big screen! Click here for a complete schedule of ACC FanFest activties.

ACC FanFest will be located three blocks south of Bobcats Arena on College Street and MLK Blvd at the Charlotte Convention Center. It will be open throughout the tournament during the hours listed below:

Thursday, March 135-7pm
Friday, March 1410am -12pm & 5-7pm
Saturday, March 1511 am - 4pm
Sunday, March 1611am - 1pm

BobCats Area Site
has info about the arena and nearby area.

Here are Driving Directions.

Arena Parking

Charlotte Bobcats Arena is located at 333 E. Trade Street in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Nearly 30,000 off-street parking spaces are located within a 15-minute walking distance of Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

Walk Zone Map

Link to Seating Charge

ACC Tournament Prep Kit - Part 1 - LastYear and GettingTickets

In getting ready for the 2008 ACC Tournament, thought we'd start with a look back at 2007 in Tampa, as there may be some things we can learn. Like last year, this year we are away from the familiar home of the tournament in Greensboro and in a downtown setting. This means parking can be challenging, tailgating may be replace by bar-hopping, and pedestrian flow becomes a challenge for ticket buyers, as people are parking all over the place.

Some posts of interest from last year:

Nice slide show from Tampa at

This type of scene in the surrounding blocks in Charlotte should be about what we are looking at.

In last years

Getting Tickets for the ACC Tournament

I talk a bit about some of the things I've learned in my 17+ years of going to the tournament without a ticket in hand. Lot's of good advice there, so give it a quick read.

Trying to estimate what a ticket market will be like is a mixture of art, science, economics, weather forecasting, and WAGs. It also involves weighing often conflicting forces.

Seating Capacity at BobCat's Arena is right around 20,000, about 3000 seats short of Greensboro's capacity. If memory serves me correctly, this is also the first year that all 12 teams get their full allotment of tickets. Previously, the newer members of the conference were getting only a partial number of their share, to ease the transition. So, schools like the Big Four, who always have more ticket demand than tickets, actually get fewer tickets now. On the surface this tightens the market, BUT, this means schools like BC who do not travel, got more tickets that will likely show up in the resale market.

Last year, being in Tampa, and in our second year of the full thursday/friday schedule, tickets were widely available and cheap, especially on thursday and Friday. The 2 biggest factors leading to this were
  • NC based fans didn't travel, especially for 1st two days
  • No local fans came out to buy tickets.
Being back in NC, both of these will change somewhat. However, I'm not convinced that as many locals will come out as they do in Greensboro. For many of the fans who might generally show up at Gboro to see if they can get tickets, Charlotte may be a little more intimidating, given that most college basketball fans in the state have been to Gboro, but haven't been to Bobcats Arena.

Weather looks good so likely won't be much of a factor, unless the few showers that will be around on the weekend are timed just right to suppress buyers.

Quick check of the online resale market shows the normal craziness, with ebay tickets ranging from single sessions below face to stupid multi-thousand dollar prices
ACC Tournament Tickets on Ebay

StubHub books starting around $475.

CraigsList will not have any steals, but if you really need tickets in hand before going to Charlotte, it might be an option.

Face Value for 2 game sessions is $70, which should put the full book ticket face value price at something around $385.

OK, here are my predictions, use them as you will.

The main driver of ticket demand this year, as is typical, will be UNC Fans, followed by Duke Lovers and Haters, then Clemson. Expect more Clemson fans than in any previous year ever. While casual Wake fans in a good year turn out in Greensboro, they skip the drive into the unknown of Charlotte. State fans have mostly written off the season, expect to lose to Miami, and don't show up in normal numbers. BC, Miami, and FSU are non-factors. Maryland travel is down a bit because Charlotte makes it a little less drivable. UVA attendance will be down, but will be more than made up for by VaTech fans, who are at least a little excited about their team and a #4 seed.

Thursday Afternoon:
Despite both Wake and State playing Thursday afternoon bringing out a few additional local fans, this is still a work day for most, and no reason for UNC, Duke, and Clemson fans to show up at all. If you don't care where you sit, you can get into this game for $10 if you work at it a little and aren't afraid to wait around a bit. You will be able to find downstairs seats for face or less, and might get lucky with a real bargain if you don't jump too early.

Thursday Nite:
Just as easy as Thursday afternoon. No local teams and plenty of bars and food nearby will have some of the money people dumping very good seats, so look for a killer seat.

Friday Afternoon:
Carolina Fans show up, but not in big numbers. A matchup with Wake would bring more interest. If NC State somehow makes it to Friday more state fans show up. This will still be a below face value ticket, but tighter than Thursday. If both State and Wake are playing, this puts 3 of the Big Four, and maybe brings it to a face value ticket.

Friday Nite:
Clemson fans finally show. Bad to medium seats still below face, but premium starts to be paid for good downstairs seats, maybe $10 to $15 over face.

It's all about the matchups when it gets to this point. If you assume seeds hold, this looks like a great day of basketball with upstairs tickets ranging from face to $10-$15 over. Will take some work to do cheaper. Downstairs will go from $25 over face to ridiculous numbers, but with a little effort really nice seats for around $50 over face. If UNC or Duke (and to less extent Clemson) aren't playing Saturday, take some $$s off. If UNC isn't there, bottom falls out of the market, and could only be saved by an NC State miracle run.

If it is Duke/UNC, look for bad seats going for $15-$50 over, good seats $40-$100 over. Other matchups vary widely, but Duke and non-BigFour team becomes mostly a face value ticket.

Some notes about law enforcement:
  • If there are visible police discouraging reselling of any sort, this can mess up the market driving prices up, because just normal fans don't feel comfortable selling, even at below face, and this shrinks supply, leaves sales to scalpers, and drives up prices. I don't expect this, but if it happens you'll have to move further out to look for deals.
  • If there is visible or undercover operations to fight scalping (sale above face value) it will only come into play later in the weekend when prices start going up, and can make it go up.
  • Remember, it is not a crime to sell tickets at Face Value + $3 (something close to that) or below. Also, it is not a crime to buy tickets, at any price.
Final advice. Be patient. Turn down several deals until you get a real feel for the market.

Stay tuned, shortly I'll have some info on travel, the arena, parking, etc.