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.

Monday, March 10, 2008

ACC Tourney Schedule


Opening Round: Thursday, March 13
1 #8 Wake Forest vs. #9 Florida State Noon RLF
2 #5 Miami vs. #12 NC State 2 p.m. RLF
3 #7 Georgia Tech vs. #10 Virginia 7 p.m. ESPN2
4 #6 Maryland vs. #11 Boston College 9 p.m. RLF
Quarterfinals: Friday, March 14
5 #1 North Carolina vs. 8/9 winner 12 noon RLF/ESPN2
6 #4 Virginia Tech vs. 5/12 winner 2 p.m. RLF/ESPN2
7 #2 Duke vs. 7/10 winner 7 p.m. RLF/ESPN2
8 #3 Clemson vs. 6/11 winner 9 p.m. RLF/ESPN2
Semifinals: Saturday, March 15
9 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 1:30 p.m. RLF/ESPN
10 Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner 3:30 p.m. RLF/ESPN
Championship: Sunday, March 16
11 Championship Game 1 p.m. TV: RLF/ESPN
***The second game of a doubleheader will begin approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, but no earlier than the scheduled starting time.

These matchup's actually look pretty entertaining for Thursday. Stay tuned to the blog and over the next couple of days I'll try to throw together a tournament prep kit like last year.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Amaker trouble?

I of course don't know him personally, but I've always liked Tommy Amaker, and hated seeing him have trouble turning the corner at Michigan. I hoped and still do hope he'll find success at a lower profile place like Harvard. Now this. Links to the stories are below, but the basics are:

  • Amaker supposedly has a top25 recruiting class coming in next year, which is a miracle at a school that doesn't offer scholarships
  • They have supposedly lowered academic standards to get some of these kids in, which happens at most schools, but not usually in the Ivy League
  • Their current number 1 assistant, BEFORE he signed on to be an assistant at Harvard, visited and played pickup ball with one or more of the recruits during a time when recruiting contact wasn't allowed. This may be a gray area, but IF he was recruiting on behalf of Harvard at the time, regardless of his employment status, it is a violation.
I hope there isn't a violation there, but if there is, this would be the 2nd former Coach K assistant to run into trouble with the NCAA. You possibly draw one of the following conclusions from that
  • They learned from the best, just aren't as good at hiding it.
  • They learned at a squeeky clean program, but the pressure put on them by others and their own desires to get to that high level drives them to play on the edge of the rules
  • These 2 instances are not a reflection on Duke and coach K at all.
I'll leave that up to you.

Harvard Crimson
Ivy, Harvard to look into possible NCAA recruiting violations
ESPN - 1 hour ago
The Ivy League and Harvard Crimson will review whether recruiting violations were made by the Crimson men's basketball program. A story in Sunday's The New ...
Harvard and Ivy League Will Review Recruiting New York Times
Harvard to Review Possible Basketball Violations, NYT Reports Bloomberg
Morning Buzz: Stripping away facade of Harvard basketballSan Jose Mercury News

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hammonds Wrist...

Clemson’s Hammonds breaks wrist

Cliff HammondsClemson All-ACC candidate Cliff Hammonds suffered a broken right (non-shooting) wrist during Clemson’s victory over Maryland on Sunday evening. X-rays revealed the injury on Monday. Hammonds’ status for Thursday night’s game at Georgia Tech is unknown at this time. More from ACCNation

Sunday, March 2, 2008

One Week Left...

Clemson is in!
Maryland needs to win 2...
Everyone Else? Just don't lose...

Click here to see standings

Click here to see schedule

Congratulations Clemson, the NCAA drought is officially over. Sunday's stunning come from behind victory at Maryland clinches the Tigers first winning conference record in over a decade. More importantly, the win virtually guarantees a NCAA berth for Oliver Pernell's squad. With a win this week against one of the Techs, or a loss by either Miami or Va Tech, the Tigers will also clinch an opening day bye in the ACC Tournament.

Maryland is now in serious trouble. While a win against Clemson likely would have likely gotten the Terps over the NCAA hump, a win next Sunday against Virginia will not guarantee Maryland a bid to the big dance. Prior to the Collapse against the Tigers, Maryland's had the 55th ranked RPI. If they had held on, their RPI likely would have made it to the top 50. Instead, their RPI has fallen to 64. The loss also puts the Terps in serious danger of playing in the opening day of the ACC Tournament. Since both Va Tech and Miami hold tie-breakers over the Terps, Maryland is going to need a bit of help to avoid the opening round. That may be a blessing though. Maryland needs to beat Virginia, win at least one game in the tournament and pray that there are no tournament upsets that would gain a mid-major conference an extra bid to the NCAA's

For the rest of the bubble teams, it's simple... just don't lose. I still think Miami's RPI gets them in with an 8-8 conference record, but if they finish 8-8 and then do something stupid like lose to NC State, they could be left out. The bottom line for the 'Canes... make it to 9 wins. Va Tech is in a similar position, but given their 62nd ranked RPI, I'm not so sure that 9 wins gets them into the NCAA Tournament unless the 9th win comes against Clemson. For Wake and Florida State, things are much clearer... Time to go on a four game winning streak. An 8-8 regular season finish is not going to get the Deacs or the 'Noles into the NCAA tournament. A ninth win by either team would come in the opening day of the ACC Tournament, and let's face it a win against the likes of BC, State or UVa is not going to impress the selection committee, while a win on day two against on of the ACC's top four teams may be just enough.

Of course the beauty of March Madness is that everyone, even Ga Tech, UVa, State and Virginia still have a shot at making it to the NCAA Tournament. Just win the ACC Tournament, and you won't even have to sweat during the selection show.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

So Close...

Duke beats State by 1 today. It is a really painful loss, because State led almost the entire game. Honestly, I never expected State to win this game, but with about 5 minutes to go I couldn't help but believe they were going to hang on.

Just for you Duke fans, who seem to whine about the refs a little more than most, I'll whine a little. One sequence that had me so mad was when Javier was put to the floor on an obvious foul, which wasn't called, leading to a breakaway for Duke and an intentional foul on Costner. In retrospect it wasn't a game changer maybe, because Lance Thomas choked 2 free throws. But it sure was a bad no-call. A real game changer WAS when Ben plays great and what should have been a no call or an offensive foul was called against him. Those 2 points really hurt.

State couldn't make the plays to hold on down the end. A couple of missed free throws didn't help either, and I can't help but feel that if Gavin had been on the floor at the end, maybe it turns out differently. I don't mean to sound bitter, because I like Duke, and this Duke team in particular, but I sure hate losing to them. If not for the ACC tournament game last year, I'd probably downright hate them.

Anyway, always looking for the positive, you've got to love the game Javier Gonzalez had. He's not perfect, but he played his heart out against some serious pressure. And if you are a basketball fan at all, you've got to love the way Trevor Ferguson is playing. The kid isn't the quickest or most gifted athlete in the world, but he plays fearless and I think could have a nice career at State.