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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Something's gotta give.....

So far this season, Duke has limited its opponents to 50.3 points per game, while Michigan St. is averaging more than 50 points per half.

Of course, those stats are padded by the less-than-stellar competion each team has faced.

Get your radios warmed up, Tar Heel fans: Dook Vitale will be calling the Indiana game tomorrow night.
Miami 84, Florida Atlantic 68

Anthony King records the first triple double in school history and makes an ACC-record 13 blocks.

Help us out, ACC fans: Whose record did he break? I've done a basic search, but I can't find it.
Tonight the ACC-Big 10 Challenge gets challenging, with a veritable cornucopia of basketball goodness...

Michigan @ GA Tech, 7:00 PM, ESPN

FL State @ Minnesota, 7:30 PM, espn2

Michigan State @ Duke, 9:00 PM, ESPN

Maryland @ Wisconsin, 9:30 PM, espn2
ACC 1, Big 10 0

'Tweren't pretty, but NC State toughed out the win over Purdue.

The Pack's shooting (33.3% from the field) was worse than Gene Keady's boot-black comb-over, but the Woofies can play some D.
NC State 60 Purdue 53

N&R coverage

N&O coverage

Note the leads of both stories focus on Herb Sendek whispering in Julius Hodge's ear before the game.

It worked, though, as Hodge steps up with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Tony Bethel, Engin Astur and Levi Watkins go 3-for-22, including 1-for-15 on 3-pointers. Not good.

Gene Keady, commenting on State:

"They needed to do what we did and play a tougher schedule early on. I don't think they were ready for this kind of defense, but they are going to be just fine and Hodge really makes them special because he can get a basket whenever he wants."

But he needs help.

Monday, November 29, 2004

ESPN has a blogger running its pay site, and he wants to know why you don't subscribe.

Um, because there is so very very much sports info available for free, including the games themselves?
Updated ACC stats.

Anybody care to guess which team leads the conference in turnover margin? You're right- Virginia Tech.

Seriously, though, trying to analyze stats when conference play hasn't begun is comparing apples to oranges. But a couple of things stand out:

Georgia Tech ranks last in 3-point field goal percentage. During its first three games, the Jackets have made only 18 of 63 3-point attempts. Tech also ranks next-to-last in field goal percentage, hitting 81 of 188 shots. Tech also ranks 9th in free throww percentage, hitting 33 of 57 field goals;

N.C. State tops the league in scoring offense, scoring margin. field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage. rebounding defense, assists, assist-turnover ratio and three-point field goals made;

Newcomer Miami is tied with Duke in offensive rebounds, averaging 17 per game;

Clemson leads the league in steals with just over 19 per game, while the Wolfpack is next-to-last with just under 8 per game.

Again, comparing stats is more fun when conference play starts. But if Georgia Tech is shooting this bad now.....

An historic meeting: Clemson and Ohio State have never played each other.
The ACC-Big Ten challenge previewed by the News & Record's Rob Daniels at the Greensboro paper's sports blog...

...and at CBS SportsLine.com, where Gregg Doyel notes, "Even if it sweeps all nine games this week, the Big Ten would still trail all time in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, which currently stands 27-17 in the ACC's favor.

"Does that mean the ACC has had the superior conference since 1999? Please. That question is too easy to dignify with a response."

....but don't tell that to Illinois coach Bruce Weber, says this article -- "Weber and his Big Ten colleagues [are] tired of taking a back seat to the ACC."

Earlier this year, Weber was quoted as saying, "ESPN is an ACC driven unit. The announcers are people from the ACC or seem to be prone to promote them. It would be nice to get a hype on (the Big Ten's season).''

Nothing like winning a few games to get your hype, coach. Illinois hosts Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
A bit of history.......

In today's column, the N&R's
Jim Schlosser writes about the infamous 1959 brawl between fans and players at the end of the Wake Forest-North Carolina game at the old Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum.

The brawl is also documented in Four Corners, Joe Menzer's excellent book about Tobacco Road basketball.

"It was more like a riot, with fans with fans rushing onto the court and throwing punches.

"(Bones) McKinney got knocked to the floor during the melee, North Carolina's Frank McGuire got bopped on the head, and Carolina forward Doug Moe received a wicked black eye."

A Wake freshman named Billy Packer, who was sitting in the stands watching the game, remembered it this way:

"This fight is humorous because Carolina has maybe ten fans there. These people were coming out of the stands and just beating the shit out of them. I was probably one of the few in the crowd of eight thousand that wasn't out there mixing it up."

When flipping through Menzer's book, one also comes across this bit of irony: It appears as though Pistons' coach Larry Brown, who was in the middle of the recent brawl at Auburn Hills, is no stranger to such chaos.

Late in a 1960 game between Duke and Carolina in Durham, none other than Brown was driving to the basket when Art Heyman, who was torching the Heels for 36 points, fouled him hard.

Both players went down in front of the Carolina bench, and four Carolina players immediately jumped off the bench and started grabbing Heyman.

The melee was quickly broken up, but Heyman ran back and tackled two of the Carolina players who jumped him. Then the fans got involved.

"It took ten Durham policemen to help restore order. Heyman was suspended from Duke's final three ACC regular-season games, while Brown and and Donnie Walsh of Carolina were suspended for the Tar Heels' last four ACC contests."

How about this scenario in January: No. 1 Wake vs. No. 2 Carolina. Carolina wins a hard-fought game in overtime. A massive brawl breaks out between fans and players in the stands at Joel Coliseum. Gives everyone something to talk and write about for weeks. Pretty cool, huh? Maybe not.

Purdue at N.C. State: Gene Keady's combover vs. Herb Sendek's loafers.

Nice photo, Chuck Liddy.
Todays games

Hmm...I don't think we get that Florida Atlantic - Miami matchup on TV here in NC....

...So I guess that leaves us with Purdue at NC State, which is on the Deuce at 7:30...Purdue is 3-2, not looking terribly impressive, but they are not to be taken lightly...

You can't call what UNC did to Southern Cal a "spanking," because some people are into spanking, and nobody is into getting destroyed the way the Trojans were in Chapel Hill...

The box score gives the anatomy of a rout.
VA Tech goes to 3-0 by beating William & Mary in front of 1,821 fans at W&M, which might be the smallest crowd to see an ACC game this year...

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Virginia 85, Richmond 58

"The Cavaliers wrap up an impressive week that included an 18-point victory against No. 18 Arizona and a 17-point voctory against Appalachian State, both at University Hall."

It appears the Cavs will be an interesting wild card when conference play begins.
College 'Ball on why Boston College won't compete for an ACC hoops crown: "BC bigwigs are against greater athletic success and its attendant drawbacks."
Today's games

Richmond @ VIRGINIA
1:00 PM, CSN

S.California @ N.CAROLINA
7:30 PM, FSN

VA.TECH @ William & Mary

Duke rains brimstone upon UNCG...

...but Florida State didn't get the memo on how to play early-season non-cons, losing to Kent State...

...and Miami gets X-ed by Xavier in OT.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The traditional strength of the ACC does not come from the teams at the top. Sure, the North Carolinas, the NC States, the Marylands, and the Dukes are the stars, but the league has always been what it is because of the quality of the "second tier." Sometimes that's Ga. Tech or Virginia or Wake Forest, other years it's even a Florida State or a Clemson.

In the past few years, the second-tier teams haven't lived up to their traditional strength, and led to the ACC's slight fall from the top.

This season, however, the second tier is incredible. Here's the evidence: If you skim off the top three teams in the ACC (Wake, UNC, Georgia Tech - as chosen by the media in the preseason) that leaves you with Duke, Maryland, NC State and Virginia as the top four.

Quick, name a conference, any conference, that has a top four better than that? The Big East (UConn, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame) is the only league that comes close. (And, for an early-season comparison, note that the Orange beat Memphis by 15 points, while the Terps trounced them by 23 - and it oculd have been worse.)

The Big Ten (Illinois, Mich. State, Wisconsin, and Michigan), the Big XII (Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech) are good through the top two, but drop off after. The Pac-10 and Conference USA aren't even close.

In short, the ACC is not just the best conference in the country this season, it isn't even close - with seven teams that could argue right now they should be ranked in the top ten. If the national polls were not constructed as they are, with coaches and media spread out geographically, and if they didn't vote for their own, the top ten could easily look like this right now:
1. Wake Forest
2. Ga. Tech
3. Kansas
4. North Carolina
5. Syracuse
6. Maryland
7. Duke
8. Illinois
9. Michigan State
10. NC State

The shame is that, as the season goes along, the ACC teams will beat up on each other, their losses will mount, and their rankings will suffer. But right now and through December, the gap between the ACC and the second-best conference in the nation could be as large as at any time in the past several decades.

Today's games

UNCG @ Duke, Durham 7:30 PM FSNSouth/CSN

Fla State vs. Kent State at Corpus Christi Invitational

Xavier vs. Miami

Wake beats Arizona to win NIT...

Maryland dusts Memphis at HoF...

Future ACC member BC defeats occasional ACC competitor Clemson...

And State and GA Tech do unto Campbell amd Arkansas-Litte Rock what they are supposed to do.

Friday, November 26, 2004

"Maryland won by 27 points last night and they stunk," reports Herman Veal Chops. He's got your breakdown right here.
Recruiting games: How UVA and VA Tech each ended up with top freshman point guards. (via YoCo's College Basketball.)
A busy day around the league, with five teams in action.

Marquee game: The NIT final, Wake vs. Arizona, 7:00 PM espn2.

Also worthwhile: Maryland vs. Memphis, in the Hall of Fame game in Springfield, MA, 9:00 PM espn2

And in a less-than-scintillating preview of ACC games to come, Clemson visits Boston College.

Also, Arkansas-Little Rock @ GA Tech, and Campbell comes to NC State.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Florida State's win over NAIA Division II Shawnee State (who knew the NAIA had two divisions) caused us to wonder: what are the lamest games on the ACC schedule this season? Excluding any in-conference battles (Miami and Virginia Tech, you can thank us later) here are the top five lame games, in reverse order (so as to build up the tension):
5. NC State vs. Columbia: Dec. 28, 2004: Ah, the Ivy League. Balancing academics with... academics. While Wake took on Yale, the Pack will tussle with the Lions, who finished 2-25, 0-14 (Ivy) last season. Our prediction for Julius Hodges' stat line: 28 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 10 minutes.
4. Virginia Tech at Virginia Military Institute: Dec. 4, 2004: Ok, you need wins, but at VMI? Can you imagine Duke going to Elon, or Maryland going to Maryland-Baltimore County? You've got a lot to learn about being a major college basketball program, Hokies.
3. Georgia Tech vs. Lafayette: Dec. 28, 2004: This must be the date for bad games. The Leopards are members of the Patriot League, usually rated as the weakest conference in Division I. Tech takes on Kansas four nights later, so we'll give them a break on this one.
2. Miami vs. Stetson, Tenn. Tech, App. State, and Norfolk St.: Dec. 18, 2004 - Jan. 2, 2005: In the four games before Miami's ACC debut, it takes on four of the biggest dogs the 'Canes could find. Of course, they'll be lucky to go 2-2, so maybe they shouldn't be on this list. (Note: How'd you like to be a 'Canes basketball fan - or should we say the 'Canes basketball fan - and buy a mini-season game ticket package, and they send you ducats to these four games? Yuck.)
1. Wake Forest vs. Longwood College: Feb. 23, 2005. The weakest matchup, right in the middle of the ACC schedule. Longwood, in south central Virginia, is moving up to Division I - and lost to Columbia earlier this season. You can read about the Lancers' move to D1 here, but we'll save you the time and quote our favorite statement, from school president Dr. Patricia P. Cormier: "We look forward to developing some great rivalries." Note to Dr. Cormier: Wake Forest won't be one of them.

UVA cruises past Appalachian State after being tied at halftime...

...and FSU recovers from a humiliating loss to beat an NAIA team, Shawnee State.
Herman Veal Chops is right to say that the media tends to overrate Carolina teams -- it was true in the Dean Smith era, and true since he left...I'm tempted to explain to this Terp fan that the fulsome praise is the result of decades of sustained excellence in Chapel Hill (with a brief interregnum that may have now passed) and that maybe Maryland will know something about that someday, but that would not be kind and it's off thread anyway....

The real point: I'm not sure he's right about this year's squad, which after stumbling in Cali has looked pretty impressive...the Heels don't just return all their players, they now have three seniors and their stars are juniors, that's rare these days and different from last year in meaningful ways...and they now have some depth, as noted in the previous post about 8 guys playing at least 15 minutes last night...

Anyway, props to the Chopper for landing a writing gig at a sports site.
Carolina beats Iowa to win Maui Invitational; Felton MVP.

I'm not sure that loss at Santa Clara was a bad thing.

Box score: note 8 guys with at least 15 minutes of playing time...

Wake Forest 79, Providence 67

N.Y. Times coverage:

"Wake Forest showcased its depth and toughness, living up to its billing as the nation's best team."

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The N&R's Rob Daniels did a good job of analyzing the electric atmosphere in Winston-Salem these days.

But I've got one bone of contention: Using Wake Forest's two-to-one attendance-enrollment ratio, which is "the largest in NCAA Division I," as a key indicator.

The article includes a table showing attendance-enrollment percentages. Wake's number one at 204.8 percent, followed by Siena at 203.9 and St. Bonaventure at 184.0.

The table then lists the rest of the ACC, which is considerably lower. Carolina's at 80.1 percent, then Duke at 73.9 and so on. In other words, Duke's average attendance was 9,134 and its enrollment is 12,900. So, in theory, 73.9 percent of Duke's student body attends games.

The problem I have is this theory does not take into consideration the different sizes of the arenas, especially in the case of Duke: Cameron Indoor only seats 9,134. So would it not be fair to assume that if Duke, which has an enrollment of 12,600, played in a 24,000-seat arena, then the Devils would have a two-to-one attendance-enrollment ratio ?

The flip side is Wake is a small school playing in a good-sized (15,000) multi-purpose arena. Were Wake playing in a smaller, basketball-only arena, the attendance-enrollment ratio would be smaller. But enthusiasm for the team would not be dampened. In fact, tickets to Wake games would become hotter commodities.

We also know that students are but part of the crowd at college basketball games, especially at the Smith Center. Perhaps such statistics prove broader community support for an entity that is a small percentage of the overall population.

This is just the way my mind wandered as I read the local sports section. Am I weird?
UNC 94, Tennessee 81

N&O coverage:

"With its scrambling defense, smarter shot selection and penchant for the early knockout punch Tuesday night, North Carolina is 'getting closer and closer' to the Roy Williams teams of recent past, Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said."

Still, a "relatively sloppy finish," Robbi Pickeral writes, with half of the Heels' 22 turnovers coming in the second half.

Roy Williams:

"What you do, if you're ahead by 20 at the half,is you don't end up winning by 13 and making as many mistakes as we did in the second half."

Durham Herald-Sun coverage.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

College Basketball's Yoni cites Fox Sports' Mike DeCourcy on NC State's improved depth, and says, "Julius Hodge is a stud, night-in, night-out. Tony Bethel will contribute significant points and minutes, as should Ilian Evtimov... If Grant, Brackman, and Simmons all prove to have the skill and maturity to merit a nine- or 10-man rotation, Sendek's club goes from ACC sleeper to ACC spoiler."
SI's Seth Davis writes at length on the ACC.

He starts off with Virginia coach Pete Gillen, who knows he's still on the hot seat despite Virginia's big win over Arizona. The normally jovial Gillen is all business this season:

"I don't feel like making jokes. When everybody's criticizing you just decide to be polite and respectful, but that's it."

Davis also reports that UVa.'s new John Paul Jones arena isn't quite paid for yet. The university still needs to raise another $40 million before the project can be completed. Virginia hopes to open the 2006 season in the new arena against- you guessed it- Arizona. The two schools have just started a four-year home-and-home series. Next year, Tuscon.

Matt Doherty told Davis what it was like to see his former players for the first time since he resigned in 2003:

"It's like any divorce. If you see your ex-wife at the grocery store, either she's going to throw a bunch of eggs at you, or you're going to have a genuinely enjoyable conversation. To be able to see those guys and laugh with them and reminisce a little bit was good for my soul."

Lastly, Davis writes that at least one ACC team might not be getting proper respect:

"I'm telling you, ya'll are underrating N.C. State."

Speaking of Wake Forest, Deacs fans are slightly wary of their No. 1 ranking.

With all the polls today, being No. 1 just doesn't seem as big a deal.

Chris Paul is ACC Player of the Week

Amidst all the excitement over last night's action (by the way, Wake and UNC won, too) is good news for N.C. State: The Pack lands one of the top shooting guards in the country, Aaron Holmes of St. Petersburg (Fla.) Catholic.

A junior, the 6-foot-five Holmes is described by his high school coach as a combo guard who "handles the ball well enough to play the point and can jump well enough to be a three, but his best position is at two.....

"He is a big-time scorer on his high school team and can really shoot the three-pointer," St. Petersburg coach Mike Moran told the N&O.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech struggles against UIC.

Tech blew an eight-point lead as UIC tied the game at 53 with just over six minutes to play. Duke had a similar problem, blowing a 20-point lead over Davidson before pulling away for good.

Question: Are the early season opponents better than we think, or do ACC teams get a bit overconfident once they build a lead?

"This feeling that we've got now, getting beat by Texas....What's their name again?"

-Florida State's Al Thornton.

That's Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

"The NCAA tournament selection committee will not look fondly on the (Seminoles') second game of the season," writes Jack Corcoran.

Every game counts.

Monday, November 22, 2004

For the first time in history, Wake Forest is No. 1.
Duke is taking Davidson seriously,while Carolina hopes to regain its form.

Note: BYU has "few remaining players from last year's 21-9 team."
Virginia doesn't just upset Arizona; they spank them. Hard.

Andy Katz on what this win could mean for the Cavs down the road:

"This win could go a long way if Virginia were to go something like 6-10 in the rugged ACC."

I know the ACC is going to to be rugged this year, but you've got to do better than 6-10 to get into the NCAA tournament. In fact, this fan's a strong believer in the .500 rule: You don't win half your conference games, you don't go to the tournament.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Pretty detailed breakdown of Friday night's game from Carolina Basketball Update:

"I think Felton could have made the difference in this game, but regardless, this shows how mediocre we are without him in the lineup."
State 100, ECU 66

I like it: Julius Hodge has an off night, but Tony Bethel picks up the slack. He could be the ace up Herb Sendek's sleeve.

Box score.
"Let's just start off by sucking."
--Subject line from a UNC email list
Damn jinx. Damn Felton. Damn Heels.

Box score.
Note: Jackie Manuel, zeroes across the board.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Wake 81, VCU 67
WSJ coverage.

Anybody care about State and Elon? If you do, N&O coverage here.

While we're at the N&O, Ned Barnett makes an interesting analogy in his preview of North Carolina:

"UNC is still LSD- powerful ingredients, unpredictable chemistry. These Heels could be in for a long, strange trip."

There are probably more than a few Carolina fans who feel like they've been on acid the last few years.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

With six ranked teams, tickets to ACC games are really in demand this season. Jack Corcoran of the Tallahassee Democrat takes a look at ticket prices in the ACC.

The highest: Duke, where season ticket packages average out to $39.26 per game.

The lowest: You guessed it, Miami,at $12.27 per game.

Florida State is the next lowest at $14.25 per game, and that's after a 33 percent raise following the Seminoles' first winning season in six years.

Virginia Tech fans are pumped up about the joining the ACC, buying up all season ticket packages at $305 per package.

N.C State "doesn't have any full or partial season ticket plans remaining. Floor seats at the RBC Center went for $2,500."

More on Julius Hodge, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Mark Bradley:

"Julius Hodge is the ACC's best player, and he'll need to be. Once beyond Hodge, the rest of the Wolfpack just doesn't measure up to conference standards. But this is basketball, remember, and one man has been known to make a difference."
Brian Toomes of Tar Heel Daily provides a summary of the Tar Heels' non-conference schedule.

"With Kentucky and UConn headlining a potentially dangerous list of non-conference opponents, the Heels will once again face one of the nation's toughest overall schedules," Toomes writes.
Former Duke star Jay Williams, who suffered career-threatening injuries in a motorcylce crash, can dunk a basketball again.

He's been working out in Durham. "I've been jumping up and touching rims for the past two months, but it's been so hard to go --- especially off my left -- to get the confidence to do that. It was so exciting, I actually kind of cried. Maybe that sounds weird to some of you, but for someone who many thought wasn't going to be able to walk, to be able to dunk the ball is a great accomplishment to me."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

In case you're curious:

Dukies in the NBA.

Tar Heels in the NBA.
Speaking of David Thompson, Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News (via College Basketball) writes, "Julius Hodge is being called North Carolina State's best player since David Thompson."

While Hodge's talent is without question, there have been many outstanding players to wear Wolfpack red in the 30 years (has it really been that long?) since Thompson left. So I'm sure Pack fans everywhere will want to weigh in the subject.

We're talking:

Thurl Bailey
Sidney Lowe
Dereck Whittenburg
Rodney Monroe
Tom Gugliotta
Cozell McQueen (just kidding)
Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg plans to let his players improvise more this season.

Is this wise? Many fans feel today's college basketball players don't show good judgment as it is. Gunning three-pointers during inappropriate situations. Going for the alley-oop slam when a layup would do. Taking it to the hoop themselves instead of passing on a two-on-one break.

Greenberg's rationale: The Hokies are going to see defense like they've never seen it during their first season in the ACC.

"If they spend (time with) one eye on me and one eye on the game, this league is like a shark," Greenberg told the Roanoke Times. "They're going to smell blood."

I'll see your Phil Ford and raise you a David Thompson. Any newcomers?
I'll see your Monte Towe and raise you a Phil Ford.
Do you want to know a lot about Maryland?

Order the Herman Veal Chops.
Here's a Charlotte Observer profile of Monte Towe, who's returning to Raleigh to coach New Orleans against N.C. State tonight.

For those of you too young to remember, Towe was the point guard on State's 1974 national championship team, the guy feeding David Thompson the old alley-oop.

Towe said aside from his parents, the late N.C. State coach Norm Sloan was the most influential person in his life.

"I miss him," Towe said. "I would have loved to take that team out on the floor and look up at him in the stands."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

How do you feel about the SI jinx, Carolina fans?

Me, I'll take my chances and enjoy having our guy on the cover.
N&O preview of Virginia.

Check out the photo of Pete Gillen: Nice sneaks.

Gillen has to "energize a program that has left its fan base lukewarm after three consecutive postseason trips to the NIT. Virginia averaged only 7,345 fans a game at antiquated University Hall last season, but it broke ground on a $129.8 million arena that will seat 15,000 people when it opens in 2006," writes Lorenzo Perez.

Check here, here and here for the skinny on the future John Paul Jones Arena.
Wake Forest rolls over George Washington, 97-76. But not before, as the Winston-Salem Journal's Dan Collins writes, "serving as its own worst enemy much of the game......"

Monday, November 15, 2004

In case you were wondering.......

AP basketball writer Jim O'Connell, via the South Forida Sun-Sentinel, points out that the ACC's six ranked schools is one short of the record:

"The Big Ten had seven teams ranked for four weeks in January 1993, a feat matched by the ACC for two weeks and by the Big Ten again for one week in January 1999."
Carolina fans: Have questions and concerns? Call Roy.
Yoni at College Basketball has some insight into Raymond Felton's one-game suspension and student/fan alienation at Maryland.

By the way, this a great college hoops blog.
Eight ACC players rank among The Sporting News' 30 best in the nation.
Washington Post overview of the ACC.

Skip Prosser, on league expansion: "Your regular season champion- there will always be a question mark. There will always be that cloud, if you will."

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Millbarge comments that he's "very upset about the unbalanced schedule, and I think the big story in February will be its effect on the ACC standings."

We'll turn again to Anday Katz of ESPN.com for his analysis of the unbalanced schedule.

The part that caught my eye was his quote from Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, who said, in effect, that a schedule with home-and-home games among the Big Four would give those schools an advantage.

"The schools in North Carolina always had a tremendous travel advantage," Hewitt said. "Three games a year, they could sleep in their own beds the night before a game. Expansion will spread the travel burden out a bit and create more parity."

True enough. Yet, while sipping coffee at Tate Street Coffee House this morning (sounds very cosmopolitan, doesn't it?) I spoke with a fellow State fan. His take was home-and-home games among Big Four schools was anounfair advantage, because their schedules would eb weighted with tougher opponents.

True enough, as well. But that's what's made the ACC a great conference: No breaks in the schedule. Every game is tough. (Well, except Clemson at Carolina.)

I'll go ahead and say it: Hey, ACC, don't mess with the Big Four any more. We're the heart and soul of the conference, and we want our teams to play each other. As much as possible.
Clemson loses point guard Troy Mathis for the year.

According to The State, Mathis was arrested Sept. 6 following an on-campus fight. The freshman was expected to compete for the point guard job with Vernon Hamilton, Cliff Hammonds and Shawan Robinson.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Duke and Wake Forest keep tuning up.

Rules of the House

Comments are now open.

To quote Jim Rome: Have a take, and don't suck.

Encouraged: analysis, knowledge, wit.

Discouraged: cheerleading, needlessly rude comments.

Talk amongst yourselves.
Mount Olive visits the Dean Dome tonight. Tar Heels could be in a pickle.

Sorry. I just had to say that.
Truth about Duke is just a little over the edge, isn't it?

Not wrong, just over the edge.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Am I the only person who has trouble deciphering Ed Hardin's columns?

On the second reading, I figured out what Hardin was trying to say about N.C. State and yes, he got to the heart of why it's been fun to be a Wolfpack fan over the past few years.

"They just don't do things like everybody else over in Raleigh," Hardin writes. In my mind, State has been playing a more fundamentally sound style of basketball than other teams. The offense that features back-door passes and smooth slashes to the basket have provided much-needed contrast to the run-and-gun style that's taken over the game.

But I'll add a word of caution: State still desperately needs help in the middle. Marcus Melvin wasn't a center; he was a 6-9 shooting guard. Going to the post was never an option last year.

Like this year's football team, the Pack in past years has had trouble with discipline. Time and again last season, momentum gained by a solid half-court offense has often been undone by wild full-court passes that ended up in the front row.

Is this State's breakthrough year? I'm not so sure. They'll definitely be competitive.

Just one fan's opinion.......

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The college hoops experts at Sports Illustrated peer into their respective crystal balls.

Seth Davis picks UNC to win the title. "The Tar Heels have the perfect blend of talent, depth and experience," Davis writes. "It usually takes a full season to get used to a new coach, so better things should be coming in Roy Williams' second season."

But Luke Winn and Stewart Mandel each pick Carolina as the "bust of the year."

"A bust, in the sense that the Tar Heels won't live up to the mammoth expectations heaped upon them. UNC will win 25 games and contend for the ACC title, but it won't make the Final Four," writes Winn.

"The Tar Heels have the talent, but they also have some glaring holes, and the attitude of their marquee player (Rashad McCants) is no small deterrent," writes Mandel.

The Raleigh News & Observer outlines 11 issues to follow as the ACC season unfolds.

Leading off: "Julius Hodge will never win a game at Duke....

"A reconfigured ACC schedule will mean such traditional games such as State at Duke and Wake Forest at North Carolina will be missing this season."

That's a bummer.
Andy Katz of ESPN.com on Paul Hewitt: "Now Hewitt is one of the hottest names in the business, one of college basketball's rising statesmen, and on track to keep Georgia Tech at the top of the ACC as it moves toward an 11-team conference this season, 12 in 2005-2006."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

This is only the beginning......

For better or worse, an historic season ahead for ACC fans......

Preseason rankings don't mean nothing...

...but they're fun, anyway.

Mr. Sun: Deal with it, people.
This is going to be one hell of a men's basketball season for the ACC.

Tip off

We are live from the ACC heartland.

Let's play ball.