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Friday, December 31, 2004

Florida St. joins the Wolfpack in the loss column, while some good basketball teams do what they're supposed to do.

UNC 107, Cleveland St. 64

Wake Forest 98, NC A&T 76

Horrific

St. John's 63, N.C. State 45

N&O coverage

N.Y. Times coverage

The numbers tell the whole story. All I can do is ramble on in my state of shock.

This is a total embarrassment for the ACC. How can State fans have any confidence in this team as they head into the conference schedule?

This is what I've never understood about three-point shots: When teams aren't hitting them, why do they keep shooting? Seems to me like they'd adjust and work the ball inside. Nothing doing. State just kept firing at will.

Herb Sendek said State's "preparation was excellent. We had good focus in team meetings."

Why did this focus not transfer to the court? How can a coach lose control of his team so early in the game and not be able to regain it?

I'll say it out loud: Sendek's job is in danger.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tickets available

The games you and I could get tix to see...

NC A&T @ Wake 7:00
Tune-up for Deacs, payday for Aggies...

Appalachian @ Miami 7:30
Party school from NC mountains visits party school by the sea...

Va Tech vs. Miss. State, 7:30 PM
FSU vs. La. State 10:00 PM (both on FSNSouth/Sun)
Two unintriguing matchups from the Sugar Bowl tourney in New Orleans

Cleveland State @ UNC 8:00 PM
CSU used to have a coach named "Mouse"; game not even televised in North Carolina...

NC State vs St. Johns, Holiday Festival, New York City, 8:30
Team formerly known as Redmen, now Red Storm, at 'home away from home' vs Woofpack...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The last week of missable games...

...continues with East Carolina visiting Clemson, 7:00, FSNSouth.

I think I'll be watching Meet the Fockers.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Maryland coach Gary Williams on his the Terps's win over Liberty:

"Let's face it: Before the game, we knew we were going to win the game, so there's other things that are really important for this time of year. It's almost January, and you have to play hard every night."

Too close for comfort, again?

Save it for January

UNC 96, UNCW 75

This was only Wilmington, for heaven's sake. Did the game have to get that physical and sloppy in the second half?

If, as Sean May admitted, the Tar Heels "lost their cool as a team" against the Seahawks, then what's going to happen against formidable ACC opponents?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Intriguing matchups, sort of

Battle of the engineers:
Lafayette @ Ga Tech
7:00 PM

Not quite Christians vs. Lions...but Christians vs. Terrapins:
Liberty @ Maryland
8:00 RJ split

In-state directional school vs center of system:
UNC Wilmington @ UNC
8:00 RJ split

And Ivy League vs Tobacco Road:
NC State vs. Columbia at the Garden
6:00
MSG

Pretty freaking painful

Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg on his team's 67-54 win over Morgan State last night:

"That was painful to watch. I think I passed a freaking hemorroid."

Monday, December 27, 2004

Holiday power rankings

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

Power rankings from SI's Luke Winn.

Gonzaga surges ahead of Georgia Tech by way of their victory over the Jackets. But Winn "leaves the Wreck ahead of Duke and Wake because I'm still convinced Tech is one of the ACC's top two."

Friday, December 24, 2004

Who the hell is Larry Lakins?

The N&O's Caulton Tudor says Shavlik Randolph is a dud:

"It will forever be argued that Mike Krzyzewski turned a potential Larry Bird into a poor man's Larry Lakins."

Still, Tudor says that, at the time, Duke was the best option for a high school player with Randolph's talent:

"Put yourself in the same situation. What would you have done? At the time, State was struggling, and Pack coach Herb Sendek wasn't popular with fans. North Carolina's program was on the verge of upheaval."

Tudor also makes the case that K aggressively went after Randolph just to tweak State and Carolina. The Heels had it coming:

"It will be said that Krzyzewski brought in Randolph for no better reason than to torture Sendek on one front and Carolina on the other.

"The same was said of Dean Smith when he signed Southern Durham High's Curtis Hunter- often called 'the next Michael Jordan' in those days-to fight for playing time at North Carolina when Duke and State were clamoring for Hunter to carry their programs to a higher level.

"It turned that Hunter was no more the next Jordan than Randolph is the next Laettner."

We'll see how Randolph's career plays out at Duke. In my mind, State was the logical choice. But would the expectations not have been higher with Shav following his grandfather's footsteps?



Meanwhile.....

Virginia needs OT to beat Loyola Marymount

Pete Gillen:

"We haven't played in 15 days and it showed tonight. We were banged up tonight and not in game shape."

No rainbow

Clemson routsIndiana St., then falls to Georgetown.

Poor shooting plagues Clemson against G'town, as the Tigers go 2 of 12 from 3-point rqange and 18 of 28 from the foul line.

Oliver Purnell:

"I thought defensively we had trouble handling the Princeton style offense without any preparation. They got far too many back door cuts. I thought we got frustrated out there at times."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Dark-jerseyed road warriors

More Wake......

ESPN's Andy Katz on the Deacons' tough road schedule.

Fair enough, Wake not only walks into a hostile environment, but at a high altitude.

The Deacons "were welcomed to their locker room with a daunting sign:

"'Warning Acute Altitude Sickness (A.S.S.)'"

Chris Paul on The Pit:

"Here they try to influence you with the high altitude. They've got the sign right over there in the locker room....

"One time I was running up the court and told (teammate) Trent Strickland that I felt something pop in my ear. I was scared for a second. I'm glad coach scheduled this game."

A quality win?

Wake Forest 81, New Mexico 64

WSJ coverage

A "quality win" for Wake? Not so sure. There were some nice moves to the basket, but the game was a little too physical and there were way too many ill-advised shots. The Deacs' offense, in my view, just never seemed to be in sync.

Even though he hardly played in the second half, Eric Williams showed he is a force under the basket. I loved the rebound he pulled down with three guys all over him. I guess understand Skip Prosser's strategy of letting Williams sit with four fouls for the remainder of the game. No doubt he would have returned had the game remained close, and with a bad ankle, it was wise to let him sit as the Deacs pulled away.

But the way I see it, Williams is going to have to learn to play with foul trouble.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

UAB blazes Tigers

Heels shoot their 'wad

UNC 93, Vermont 65

N&R coverage

Jawad Williams shuts down Taylor Coppenrath and shoots a solid 6-9 from the floor.

Work still needs to be done

State 72, BYU 61

N&O coverage

Box score

MIA: Cameron Bennerman: 0-7, 0 points

Andrew Brackman: Early favorite for ACC Rookie of the Year

Tony Bethel kinda finds his shooting stroke: 5-11, 15 points

Still waiting for Evtimov and Astur to step up

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A quality loss can make you feel good......

Florida State almost catches Maryland in a post-exam trap.

Tallahassee Democrat's Jack Corcoran:

"Fifteen league games remain. If FSU commits to playing defense and rebounding the way it did in the opener, (Leonard) Hamilton's squad will indeed be heard from in the ACC."

Tonight's games

Jacksonville @Florida State 7

Vermont @ UNC 7 FSN

NC State @ Brigham Young 9 FSN

Clemson vs. UAB in Rainbow Classic 11

Monday, December 20, 2004

Mmmmm.....

Let's see:

Maryland is pushed to overtime at home by a Florida State team that lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Florida International, and Gary Williams says this:

"Every year you have to get a quality win early to believe in yourself."

Was this game an ominous sign for the Terps, or just ACC Hoops?

RSVP, please

State fans, it's going to be a wild ride this season.

The Pack is going to beat many of the teams it's supposed to beat, lose to a few teams it's supposed to beat and, yes, pull off a few surprises.

Last night's game, in my mind, illustrates this point. Why? Because some people just didn't bother to show up.

Last night's MIA:

Levi Watkins: 0-2, no points.

Tony Bethel: 1-10, 3 points, 5 assists.

Ilian Evtimov: 1-5, two points.

I know it sounds like I'm knocking Washington, but the fact remains that if any of those thre guys hits a couple more shots, the State wins the game.

When everybody shows up, State is as tough as any team in the country. When a few people show up, the Pack is merely average. And when nobody but Julius Hodge shows up.......

Not that last night was all doom and gloom. Andrew Brackman and Cameron Bannerman contributed significant points and minutes off the bench. Such contributions will come in handy over the course of the season.

Maryland needs OT to beat 'Noles

Is there a more confounding team in the league than Florida State? Sometimes they look tough. Other times, not so much.

State falls in Washington

A tough one.

With G-Tech losing in Vegas, and UNC's early loss in No-Cal, our trips out west have not been so great this season.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Impressive Carolina win at Va Tech

85-51 victory for the Tar Heels. They looked smart, physical, and deep. Va Tech came out and made a fine effort at slowing the game down...then the dam broke. May and the two Williamses were too much for the Hokies to handle. Sticky defense triggered the offense. An off-night on offense for McCants -- who did have one monster block -- didn't slow them down at all.

Box score, recap.

Tech craps out in Vegas

Gonzaga beats Georgia Tech, 85-73.

AP: "Gonzaga led 45-41 at halftime and then held Georgia Tech scoreless for the first 4:46 of the second half. The Bulldogs built their biggest lead to 15 points twice, the last at 68-53 with 10:28 left."

Box score.

Duke's soft non-con sked explained

N&O writer Luciana Chavez looks at Duke's relatively undemanding early-season schedule. Partly by design (they want to prepare for potential matchups with mid-majors in the tourney) and partly by chance (some traditional powers aren't so powerful this time around), this year's sked is not filled with blue-chip opponents.

And so it begins

Two that count: UNC @ VA Tech, 3:30, FSN

and

FSU @ Maryland, 6:00, FSN

Plus two that don't, but should be fun anyway:

GA Tech vs. Gonzaga in Vegas, 12:30 AM, ESPN

and

NC State @ Washington, 8:00, FSN

And in the big game...

Forget the ACC-Big 12 minichallenge that saw Rick Barnes coming back to the Carolinas and Duke playing in front of its alumni base in New York...Miami whomped Stetson.

Duke comes back strong

Beats Oklahoma behind Redick's big second half.

Billy Packer says Shelden Williams may be the best big man in the country. Really?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Wake wins a good one

Chris Paul and Justin Gray made big plays down the stretch as the Deacs overtook Texas in the waning minutes, then survived a bonehead last play -- a long pass to the foul-shot challenged Eric Williams, who duly clanked a pair, setting up a very makeable shot that would won it for the Longhorns had he made it, which he did not.

College games are played by college kids, which explains a forced shot and a forced pass on successive possessions by Wake Forest with less than 3 minutes to play.

But what the hell was that pass to Williams?

Still, Wake rights the ship after the shaky performance against Elon.

Tasty twofer

Two niiice non-conference games today, with Texas visiting Wake (2:00, ESPN) and Oklahoma madison-squaring off with Duke in New York (5:00, CBS).

Fans with pacemakers or otherwise averse to excitement may tune into Stetson @ Miami, 4:00, Sun.

Clemson home-schools Citadel

11 Tiger players score in 24-point Littlejohn win. Clemson now heads off to Hawaii for the Rainbow Classic, where they face UAB in the first round, which surely will not be Citadel at home...

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oh, yeah

Florida St. beat South Alabama real bad.

Big game (if you live in South Carolina)

Citadel @ Clemson
7:00 PM

ACC-sickness

Roanoke Times' Mark Berman:

"The Virginia Tech men's basketball team is about to embark on its maiden voyage through the ACC, and it better load up on Dramamine."
Winston-Salem Journal follow-up on Wake Forest's "woes."

I'll start out by defending Vytas Danelius: If I were 4-for-4 from the field and I got benched for getting beat on a back-door play, I'd be a bit pissed off, too. Elon did score 67 points, so a few people got beat.

Skip Prosser said that Danelius will be available to play against Texas, but would not say if he would start.

WSJ's Dan Collins:

"Prosser also speculated that soaring expectations - as well as the intensity of the Deacons' early season schedule- have taken their toll. The Deacons, who were ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history, have traveled to Illinois and Temple, played Arizona and Providence in New York, and played George Washington, Yale, Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond and Elon at home.

"In comparison, most other ACC teams have played much softer schedules."

Agree? Disagree?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

No hat trick

The last time UNC played a conference game in December, they lost.

The last time UNC played a team in its initial conference game, they lost.

Pack-Cajuns, cont.

N&O coverage

This time, N&R blows the game off, relying on AP coverage.

Uglier stat of the night:

State shoots 29-44 from the line, with Hodge shooting only 6-14.

Tony Bethel still has trouble putting together a complete game. He shoots pretty well, going 5-9 from the field. But no assists and has foul trouble.

9-deep Heels

USA Today: "North Carolina has broken to a 7-1 record by coming at opponents in waves. Eight players average at least 15 minutes a game, and another averages nine. No Tar Heel is averaging more than 29 minutes.

...Roy Williams said after the Kentucky game. "I think our rotation is going to stay nine deep."

When was the last deep UNC squad? Sometime in the early '90s?

Big man leaves Terps

Maryland's Hassan Fofana is leaving the program, and the school.

Bad vibes in Wake win

"Few players or coaches left Joel Coliseum in a good mood," reports the News & Record.

Wake beat Elon, but it wasn't pretty, on the floor or on the bench.

"Coach Skip Prosser banished starting power forward Vytas Danelius to the locker room with 16:51 left in the game and later said he didn't know what the player's status will be for Saturday's home game against Texas.

"You noticed that, did you?" Prosser said. "It was at my direction. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Danelius seems to have yelled an obscenity from the bench. It sure wasn't his shooting that got him banished: He was 4-4 from the field.

And Eric Williams hurt his ankle.

Not good. Not good at all.

No games tonight

Well, South Alabama does play at FSU. Does that count?
7:00, Sun.

Tech wins ugly

Paul Hewitt beats his former assistant, JMU's Dean Keener.

Hewitt: "It's weird. It's the first time in my career that it's 12:30 on the day of a game and here comes the opposing coach walking into my office. We were sitting around talking for an hour, and I finally said, `This is strange. Get out of here.'"

State almost chokes on cupcake

Unpretty in Raleigh.

Scary stat of the night: "The Ragin' Cajuns dominated the boards, outrebounding the Wolfpack by a 42-25 margin, including 19-to-7 on the offensive glass."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Shelden Williams: tough enough?

N&R sports blog on the Duke big man: "The one fair physical matchup he's had thus far was Michigan State's Paul Davis, and in that game, Williams shot just 4-11 from the field and had five turnovers."

Les jeux de jour

Elon @ Wake, 7:00

Too bad Elon's teams aren't known as the Fighting Christians anymore, the matchup with the Demon Deacons would have been sweet.

La.-Lafayette @ NC State, 9:00, FSNSouth.

Mmmm, cupcakes

Tell 'em, Herb

It seems as though fans at N.C. State sporting events take some creative liberties with "The Star Spangled Banner" before games.

The N&O's Lorenzo Perez:

"In recent years, pregame performances of the anthem at State sporting events have prompted wolfpack fans to scream,'Red!' in sync with the line 'And the rockets' red glare,' as a tribute to their team's favorite color. And when the guest singer brings it home with the line 'and the home of the brave,' those same fans substitute 'Wolfpack' for 'brave.'"

So now State officials hope the students will tone it down for tonight's game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

But Student Wolfpack Club vice-president Brandon Pearson says the order to chill has to come from one man.

"The only way this will stop is if Herb comes out before the anthem and tells us not to do anything," Pearson said.

I'll never forget the time State was playing Carolina a few years ago in Reynolds. The official made a call the fans didn't like, and they started throwing ice and cups onto the floor. In the middle of the game, Sendek walked to the scorer's table, took the microphone, and told the fans to knock it off. And they did.

In years of watching ACC basketball games, I'd never seen that before. At that moment, Sendek forever earned my respect. Keep it up, Herb. Take the mike tonight.

Blah blah blah blog

Blah blah blah is a smart, stats-oriented blog about college hoops. Check it out. We'll definitely be adding it to our links in the right hand column -- and if you have ideas for blogs or other good online resources we should link, well, tell us.

Duke and Clemson do as they should

Duke whips UIC after a slow start. DBR: "Stefanov scored 13 of IUC's first 25 and ended with 15 for the game, which pretty much tells the tale."

And at Littlejohn, perhaps 5,100 fans turn out to watch Clemson beat up on Norfolk State.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Postcard from Okla. (via N.Y.)

This dispatch from SI's Seth Davis:

"I had to smile at Madison Square Garden last week when Oklahoma State freshman guard JamesOn Curry got a standing ovation after his first rotation on the court."

Should Curry, whose scholarship to Carolina was revoked when he was arrested for selling marijuana, be wearing a Tar Heel uniform?

It was a hard judgment for me to make since I'm not that hardcore against the ganja. But it was my gut feeling that Curry would never play for Carolina. Just too much of an image problem. I believe Roy Williams was willing to follow through with the scholarship, but Dean handed down the edict: No heads.

Easy now, John

Winston-Salem Journal follow-up on K's 700th win:

"John Cheney of Temple, a member of the 700 Club, said that the mere mention of Krzyzewski's name gives him goose bumps."

Tonight

Norfolk State @ Clemson

What, no TV?

and

Univeristy of Illinois-Chicago @ Duke, 9:00, espn2, a game DBR insists we must take seriously.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Deacons get some religion

Wake Forest 67, Temple 64

Wake gets a hard-fought win against the Owls. The Deacons were put to the test, but dug in and stopped the opponent.

Temple's the type of team Wake would face in the NCAA tournament: slow and physical, forcing you to play their game. Unfortunately, the Owls might not make it without a very strong Atlantic 10 record.

What's up with Jamaal Levy firing a three with a minute to go and plenty of time on the shot clock?

Skip Prosser:

"Our guys need some love. When we get back the Joel, it's gotta be great."

The cellar's a little chilly, even in Florida

Tallahassee Democrat's Randy Beard on the prospects for Florida State's season:

"Florida State already has yet to play an Atlantic Coast Conference game this season, but Leornard Hamilton may already be feeling the chill from the league's cellar."

On his team's performance, Hamilton said:

"We made enough poor decisions tonight to last us a season."

Baptists go to Temple

Wake on the road in Philly vs. John Chaney's Owls, 7:00, espn2

Temple (3-4) coming off a tough loss at Alabama.

Duke wins, K notches 700

Toledo was the victim de jour, and K hits another round number.

Discussion: is K the best coach of the post-Wooden era?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Carolina crushes bad team

That's what quite-good teams are supposed to do, right?

Most interesting fact, after determining just how many points the Heels would score (109): Loyola sharpshooter Dave Telander is the nephew of veteran sports writer Rick Telander.


New FLA team Good, Old FLA team less so

Miami does its new conference proud by stomping UMass...

...while FSU embarasses us by losing to Florida International. At home. Ick.

Maryland back on track

20-point second half for Gilchrist as Terps thump UNC Asheville.

"Maryland, which lost to then-unranked George Washington in the finals of the BB&T Classic on Dec. 5, quickly solved its offensive issues against UNC-Asheville, scoring the game's first 12 points."

Five teams in action...

...but nothing too sexy on the sked:

UNC Asheville @ Maryland, 1:00, RJ

UMass @ Miami, 2:00

Florida International @ FSU, 3:30, Sun.

Loyola (Chi) @ UNC, 5:30, FSN

Toledo @ Duke, 8:00 FSN

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Clemson does unto Charleston Southern...

...as ACC teams should do unto in-state directional school rivals.

Aggravated ankle sprain for Babalola is less good news....

...And VA Tech whips James Madison.

Tech grounds Air Force

But the 64-42 win was not a high-flying affair.

"The Yellow Jackets (6-0) were forced into a game that was totally out of character. They attempted a season-low 40 shots and failed to make a 3-pointer for the first time since 1987."


Return to Reynolds, epilogue

N.C. State 94, Liberty 60

Box score

Julius Hodge just misses a triple double: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists.

He would have had 10 rebounds, but freshman Andrew Brackman took a rebound away from him:

"I let him know that was my rebound. I'm gonna smack him on his head when I see him."

But even better is the Wolfpack had a balanced attack against Liberty. The Flames played tough in the first half until State went on a couple of late runs,including a 20-7 spurt that opened up a 52-31 halftime lead. Levi Watkins hit the key three that really got it going.

State also went on a 13-0 run to end the game.

Good news: The Pack dominates inside, hauling in 44 rebounds, including 18 offensive rebounds. They also put up 46 points in the paint as well as 31 second chance points.

The three freshmen, Gavin Grant, Cedric Simmons and Andrew Brackman all make significant contributions, with Brackman scoring 13 points. He was key during the first-half runs, going 4 for 5.

Pack shoots 15-19 from the free-throw line, with Hodge going 7 for 8. That was a concern following the game against Manahttan.

Bad news: Tony Bethel dished out some assists, but was only 1 for 6 from the floor.

Despite the key 3 in the first half, Watkins was only 3 for 10 from the field, 2 for 7 from 3-point range.

State shoots only 9-29 from 3-point range.

Herb Sendek was not overly impressed with his team's rebounding:

"We've got to be a much better rebounding team. We're nowhere near where we need to be."

Today's Games

GA Tech vs. Air Force, 3:00 PM, FSNSouth

Liberty @ NC State (in Reynolds, Yo), 2:00 PM

Charleston Southern @ Clemson, 7:00 PM

James Madison @ VA Tech, 8:00 PM, CSN

Friday, December 10, 2004

Grant Wahl's top post-exam traps:

Air Force at Georgia Tech

Wake Forest at Temple

Gonzaga vs. Georgia Tech in Las Vegas

N.C. State at Washington

UNC at Virginia Tech

What's missing? Florida St. at Maryland

The Terps need a solid start in conference play.

Is this still a post-exam trap, now that the game is in College Park?

This one's for Carolina fans

Yet another Reynolds memory from Go Pack.com. Indeed, Wolfpack fans, and everybody else, thought State's season was over when Dereck Whittenburg broke his foot against Virginia. Little did we know.

I'm sure Go Pack will write one more Reynolds memory just before tomorrow's game v. Liberty. But in case they don't, here's mine:

Jan. 17, 1979, State vs. Carolina. State rallies from a 40-19 halftime deficit to go up by one with under a minute to play. Dudley Bradley comes down the court and throws up a Brick from what would now be three-point range.

But as State brings down the ball down, Bradley, showing why he was the Secretary of Defense, picks Clyde "the Glide" Austin's pocket and goes in for the game-winning dunk.

Carolina 70, State 69

Help me out here: Didn't Mike O'Koren sprain his ankle and have to leave the game? I remember a photo of him cheering from the bench with his ankle wrapped in ice.

Veal pissed-off-ta

Maryland fan in foul mood.

"I think I would rather watch Mischa Barton try to act on The O.C. than watch Maryland play UNC Asheville this weekend."

He also namechecks Ashley Judd, Robert Novak, Burt Reynolds, and "That dude who defrauded the NY Times."

Paper of Record likes Ol' Roy

The New York Times on the buzz in Chapel Hill: "There is a sense of hope here, an aura of confidence that surrounds the program, just as it did during the Smith era."

Thursday, December 09, 2004

There was talk, when the ACC was looking to expand and add any team east of the Mississippi with big time football, that the University of Florida might be a good addition. The Gators made it known to the higher-ups at the conference office that that wasn't going to happen, but now it looks like a good thing for the ACC...

First, Billy Donovan's boys lost to Miami, and now this.

In an unrelated aside: UNC-bound Tyler Hansborough good; NBA-bound Greg Oden better. And does anyone else hear the hypocrisy in ESPN analysts bemoaning the elevation of high school sports and athletes before their time during the game their network is broadcasting nationally?

"A daunting ACC season looms......"

St. John's 75, Va. Tech 65

Tech shoots only 37 percent from the field and is engulfed by the Red Storm, which by the way, was picked last in the Big East preseason coaches' poll.

The Hokies play James Madison on Saturday before Carolina comes to town on Dec. 19. One shudders just thinking about it.

Return to Reynolds

N.C. State is celebrating its return to Reynolds Coliseum vs. Liberty with a series of articles on the greatest moments in its history.


Here, here, and
here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

All Commonwealth, No TV

Only the two Virginia teams play tonight, but neither game is televised.

VA Tech takes on St. Johns at Madison Square Garden, and UVA hosts Furman.

And then....darkness. No games til Saturday. And those games tend toward the exam-week tuneup variety.

Notice served

Ok, it was only Florida International, but if Anthony Harris and Robert Hite heat up again like they did last night, Miami could make some waves.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Faking History

Over at College Basketball, they are calling Illinois' jump in the polls from #5 to #1, and the whipping of Wake Forest that precipitated it, "historic."Can any college hoops game played in December be that important? Can any poll postion prior to the New Year be taken seriously?(hint: NO).

Slow night

Nothing against Miami or Florida International, but even if I had the Sun network I'd probably watch the second Simpsons rerun instead of this 7:30 game...

Free-throw woes

Overlooked in Julius Hodge's performance Sunday night was his atrocious shooting from the foul line.

Hodge went 1-for-6 from the free-throw line against Manhattan. Through six games this season, he's shooting 59 percent, while the Wolfpack as a team is shooting 66 percent.

Based on what we've seen so far, State's going to be involved in a lot of close games where Hodge will get a disproportionate number of trips to the line. To pull those games out Hodge- and his teammates, for that matter- have to knock 'em down.
AP Top 25.

As expected, Illinois jumps to No. 1, while Georgia Tech becomes the top-rated ACC team at No. 3. Wake Forest comes in at No. 6, UNC comes in at 8, immediately followed by Duke, while N.C. State hangs in at 12. Virginia jumps in at No. 19, but before last night's loss to Iowa St. Maryland falls to 23 after its loss to George Washington.

Watch out ! ?

Miami puts the ACC on notice after win its over Florida.

The South-Florida Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly:

"Any Atlantic Coast Conference team that intends on taking the talent-strapped lightly might be in for an awakening as rude as the one UM gave 19th-ranked Florida..."

Anyone care to predict which team the 'Canes will take?

Sacrilege

Not one ACC team in the Jimmy V Classic?
Iowa St. 81, Virginia 79

Pete Gillen calls the last timeout with eight minutes left, so the Cavs have to improvise on the last shot.

Monday, December 06, 2004

ACC 6, SEC 0

The ACC dominated SEC this weekend. It wasn't a formal thing like the Big 10 challenge, but there were several games and the ACC won them all.

Last night, Georgia Tech crushed Georgia, 87-49.

"Georgia (1-3) kept it close for about 10 minutes, only to have the Yellow Jackets methodically pull away for a 43-30 halftime lead. Things really got out of hand over the final 20 minutes."

Previously, UNC beat Kentucky, UVA beat Auburn, Miami beat Florida, Clemson beat South Carolina, and FSU beat Ole Miss.
Maryland coach Gary Williams ponders the BB&T Classic, which the Terps haven't won since 2001:

"(It) doesn't do us any good. It makes basketball fans in Washington happy, but we have to do what's best for our program. That's not being selfish. We've always gone out of our way to play local schools, but I'm not sure if the tournament format with local schools is the best format."

If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late.

Herb Sendek and Julius Hodge have a slightly different sense of time.

NC State 76, Manhattan 60

N&R coverage

N&O coverage

Note: The N&O didn't have its beat writer covering the game. Was this game not worth their time?

Though the Pack played a balanced game on the whole, should we be worried that Hodge had to come off the bench to light a fire under his teammates?



Sunday, December 05, 2004

GW is for real

Apparently.

They shelled the Terps today.

McCants

"The difference from a year ago to now is not even close for the Kentucky coaches. They didn't even recognize McCants."

ESPN.com's Andy Katz on the Tar Heels star.

I've always liked McCants. His smile, when he shows it, says a lot about who he really is. We forget sometimes that these are kids.

He's smiling more these days.

Today

MARYLAND vs. GW
DC
3:00 PM
Raycom
Sun

Manhattan @ NC STATE
5:30 PM
FSN

Georgia @ GA.TECH
8:00 PM
A good day for the league, with only VA Tech losing, and they don't really count yet, anyway, except in football, which is why they're here in the first place. But props nonetheless to VMI for beating an ACC team for the first time in 40 years.

Better fortune befell the traditional bottom-dwellers. Florida State won again on the road against a team from a real conference. Whatever was so badly broken down there a couple of weeks ago seems to be under repair. And Clemson beat South Carolina in OT. Miami beat a ranked Florida team, which we appreciate even if we got it wrong in the first draft of this article.

Everyone else did what they were supposed to do. Duke served Valpo, Wake baked Richmond, Maryland beat George Mason.

We noticed, part III

N.Y. Times: "ACC Runs Deep and Strong This Season."

OK, enough of that.

In its college basketball preview, the Times gives Georgia Tech some love with a front-page article on the Yellow Jackets.

Fans are reveling in Tech's success, as Alexander Memorial Coliseum (9,191) is sold out for the season.

But if it were up to some Tech boosters, Paul Hewitt would have been fired after '02-'03 season:

"...A small group of boosters approached the Tech president, Dr. Wayne Clough, about overhauling the athletic department. They wanted athletic director Dave Brame removed, as well as Hewitt...."

But university officials were impressed with Hewitt's commitment to academics As a result, Hewitt

"just didn't keep his job after the 16-15 season. He was given a new contract. That deal was ripped up and replaced by a six-year rollover deal after last season's improbable successes."

Expectations are high in Atlanta. And Chapel Hill. And Raleigh......

We noticed, part II

The N&R's Ed Hardin:

"It's only December, but Carolina's for real."

Saturday, December 04, 2004

How good is Carolina?

A bit of basketball zen: teams are as good as they are.

Not as good as they are predicted to be, or as good as they should be, but as good as they turn out to be. Tautological yet relevant, this is, when considering any UNC team through the hype and expectation that surround the program.

This team might be quite good.

Today's win over Kentucky was solid, with flashes of spectacular. The Heels jumped all over them, then weathered several runs and never let the visitors within 6 points before dominating the end of the game.

This is an athletic team, reasonably deep, with lots of veterans, including three seniors and four juniors who get significant playing time. McCants, May, and Felton have matured into bigtime players. Freshman Marvin Williams brings size and skill and gives May a chance to breathe. This team plays defense. The mental toughness to control close games that UNC has been missing seems to be emerging at last.

Potential problems: Felton's injured left wrist caused him to miss a few minutes today, and his foul shooting was off because of it. Any significant diminshment in his availability or level of play would hurt, badly (as the opening loss to Santa Clara showed). Also, the ability to execute an efficient half-court offense has yet to be shown with any consistency.

It's early, but so far, so good in Chapel Hill.

Cavs get a good win

Auburn came to Richmond with a 5-0 record, a hot freshman in Toney Douglas, and a sharp young coach who knows a little about beating Virginia, former UNC star Jeff Lebo. But led by their own freshman star, Sean Singletary, UVA came back to win a close one.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Today, and Tomorrow

Light sked tonight, with Auburn and UVA playing in Richmond, 7:00 PM
FSNSouth/Sun.

Saturday is a busy day.

Kentucky @ N.CAROLINA, 12:00 noon (CBS)

MIAMI @ Florida, 12:00 PM (Sun)

MARYLAND vs. GMU, in DC, 1:00 PM (Raycom)

DUKE vs. Valparaiso, in Chicago, 2:00 PM (espn2)

Richmond @ WAKE, 2:00 PM

FLA.STATE @ Mississippi, 2:00 PM (FSNSouth/Sun.)

VA.TECH @ VMI, 2:00 PM (CSN)

CLEMSON @ S.Carolina, 7:30 PM (FSNSouth)

Cornrows: another perspective

Cornrows are cool. Coaches aren't hair stylists. Dr. J had a wicked fro, and he was Dr. J.

Not a good sign

Virginia Tech 63, UT-Chattanooga 59

"It doesn't seem to matter if the Virginia Tech men's basketball team belongs to the ACC, Big East or Atlantic 10. It often has trouble with Southern conference foes."

Tech shoots just 36 percent and is outrebounded 49-28.

Style vs. substance

What is that sign Rashad McCants makes after he hits abig three-pointer?

Adam Lucas at Tar Heel Blue.com says the diamond-shaped hand-gesture is "an age-old sorority sign that has recently gained popularity in some of the music McCants enjoys."

Look, McCants has made a lot of shots in his career and will be expected to make many more. Just run down the court, dude. No chest-thumping, no hand signals. Just defense.

Then there's the issue of Quentin Thomas' cornrows. The question is: Would Dean Smith have allowed a guy on the court with cornrows?

It's a debatable question. Dean always stressed to his team that they were nit just ballplayers, but representatives of the university. It was a message he learned under Frank McGuire.

In his memoir, "A Coach's Life," Smith talked about having to wear a coat and tie every day to work, even in the July heat, because McGuire cautioned that they could be summoned to a meeting with the chancellor at any moment. It just wouldn't do to show up in coaching togs.

Yet, Dudley Bradley and Sam Perkins both started their careers at Carolina with some big-ass Afros. But remember that Bradley and Perkins each came into his own after a haircut.

Thomas is regarded as a polite young man and "has made an impression as one of the most respectful freshman to come through the program in recent memory."

But Thomas' 'do is so distinctive that it violates the Tar Heel philosophy of team over individual. So I vote no, Dean would not allow cornrows.

The day after the day after....

Post mortems on Wake Forest from the Winston-Salem Journal and the News & Record, while the N&O passes on an analysis of UNC's somewhat shaky win over Indiana.

In fact, analysis on the Tar Heels' win is in short supply all around. It's probably because Carolina doesn't have a lot of time to sit around thinking about Indiana with Kentucky looming.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

This isn't Notre Dame

More on Oliver Purnell's contract extension:

"One of the major factors in rebuilding a program is stability," Purnell said.

Milestone: Clemson played 16 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, the most in Clemson history.

Progress is being made.

We noticed

Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn:

"Defense was the problem that plagued the Deacs last season; and as Illinois built a 21-point lead at the half and grew it to 32 wit 6:48 left in the second, it was clear Skip Prosser's team hasn't resolved the issue."

Thoughts on how far Wake Forest will fall in the polls?

Winding Down

Time for post-event analysis of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge: Gregg Doyel answers some of his own questions... The Indy Star is starting its "Mike-Davis-on-life-support" watch... Lost in the Challenge: Clemson won (was that game on ESPN8?) and Oliver Purnell got a contract extension.
Pat Forde, ESPN.com: "Turns out the Tar Heels are decent in an alley fight as well."
Tonight's game: UT-Chattanooga @ VA Tech, 8:00 PM CSN

Hmm, I think Survivor is on.

ACC cruises past Big 10, 7-2

Northwestern looked like a high school squad compared with UVA (not to mention Carolina and IU on the other channel), but they gave the 'Hoos a tough enough time before succumbing...

And when it was over, the ACC - Big 10 Challenge was another rout for the ACC. That's six in a row for our guys if you're keeping score at home.

Illinois coach Bruce Weber, who complained that the ACC gets too much love from ESPN, held up his end of the bargain by waxing Wake, but overall it looks like ESPN knows quality when it sees it.


Objects in mirror may be closer than appears

Last year, Carolina loses the IU game.

This year, they had Marvin Williams to play big when Sean May got in foul trouble. They had the mental toughness to stay composed in a raucous atmosphere against a fired-up team.

But their half-court offense was MIA for much of the game, and it took a late McCants 3-pointer to ice things, so last year is still looming in the rear-view mirror.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

UNC 70, Indiana 63

After hearing of Wake Forest's ugly loss, Carolina fans were probably relishing the thought of meeting the Deacons in January. But the Heels looked sluggish against Indiana.

The good news is the Heels win by seven when they're not quite on their game. Felton and McCants lead the way, and Marvin Williams comes off the bench to snag 12 rebounds.

The bad news is Sean May was taken out of his game early and Jackie Manuel posted zeroes across the board for the second time this season. The Heels went way over four minutes without scoring in the second half and committed 23 turnovers.

Let's be fair, though: fatigue was probably a factor and some good looks just didn't fall.

So, in my mind, conference play remains unpredictable.



Uglier than Weber's blazer?

I didn't think anything could be more disturbing than the Illinois coach's ORANGE jacket. But Wake's performance was.
Skip Prosser:

"There's not much to say."

"We were on our heels the whole first half."

"We tried a couple of different defenses and they shot us right out of them."

Illinois 91, Wake Forest 73

The one bright spot: Eric Williams, who played agressively in the post.

Will Wake be able to work this out of their system in December, or will this spanking still smart when conference play starts?
All ye who enter, abandon hope...

What happened to Maryland?

Rick Snider of the Washington Times writes:

"The Terps finally found an opponent with equal speed in a rabid venue that would rival anything along Tobacco Road."

While the 17,142-seat Kohl Center isn't exactly Cameron Indoor Stadium, opponents are finding the odds of beating Wisconsin on their home court are not good.

The win was the Badgers' 31st in a row, which ties Stephen F. Austin for the nation's longest current streak. Badgers' coach Bo Ryan is now 42-2 at home, 13-0 after a road loss.

Hungry for a little action before tonight's games? Check out this slideshow.
Mixing metaphors?

Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler on Duke:

"And even though this Duke team was picked fourth in the ACC preseason media poll, the Blue Devils are going to be one tough out for everyone again this season."

Especially if Ewing and Redick keep hitting paydirt.

Class

Dean Smith "delighted" for NAIA coach set to break his career-wins record: "That is a great record, and I know everyone associated with the college will remember these days...Particularly all those players that played for him will think, 'Hey, we helped that.'"

Tonight, tonight

Wake Forest at Illinois (ESPN)
7 p.m.

Ohio State at Clemson (espn2)
7:30 p.m.

North Carolina at Indiana (ESPN)
9 p.m.

Virginia at Northwestern (espn2)
9:30 p.m
Lines of the Week: A good team has players that know their roles. Quick, determine from their stat lines which Duke player is the "star" and which is the "role" player:
Daniel Ewing: 10-14 from the field, 5-7 from three, 29 points, 6 assists, 1 turnover, 38 minutes.
Reggie Love: 0-0 from the field, 1 rebound, 5 fouls, 4 minutes.

ACC 4, Big Ten 1

3-1 last night.

Maryland loses on the road to a ranked Wisconsin squad, but Florida State (!) wins at Minnesota, GA Tech cruises over Michigan, and Duke is Duke vs Michigan State.

Tech's shoooting improves considerably as the Jackets hit 54 percent of its field-goal attempts and 56 percent of its 3-point shots.
Duke 81, Michigan St. 74

Durham Herald-Sun coverage

This was the type of game that frustrated Duke haters all last season. Opponents would get within striking distance, then Daniel Ewing would nail a big 3-pointer to put the game out of reach.

Relying on Ewing and J.J. Redick got Duke pretty far last year. But not far enough.

In his post-game radio comments, Mike Krzyzewski cited his team's conditioning as a factor. K made sure he got his team in "game shape" by making sure they played significant minutes even in early-season blowout victories.

"They're in really good shape," K said about Michigan State. "But we're in better shape."