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Monday, January 31, 2005

Not now

Mike Decourcy hashes it out with a couple of angry ACC fans over the conference's overall stregth this season.

Decourcy wrote he was not being "negative toward the ACC," but he points out that Maryland, Georgia Tech and N.C. State did not play well outside the conference, and this shoud be a concern.

Maybe. I'm personally enjoying myself too much to worry about that. How big a stretch is it to say that things are wide open right now, at least among the contending teams?

One out of two

Maryland re-enters the AP poll at 23, but is MIA in the Coaches Top 25. Georgia Tech hangs in at 25 and 21.

Meanwhile, in another not-so-hospitable arena.....

Maryland 79 Georgia Tech 71

The Washington Times' Rick Snider is overly positive about the Terps' prospects, short-term and long-term:

"Maryland should re-enter the Top 25 polls today after also beating No. 2 Duke on Wednesday....The Terps are rapidly maturing as the conference reaches midseason."

AJC's Rana Cash runs the numbers on Tech:

"The Yellow Jackets were disappointing in every facet:

"They shot 35.1 percent from the field, 20 percent from 3-point range.

"They were crushed on the boards, out rebounded 48-39 by the Terrapins.

"They were knocked out by countless defensive breakdowns."

Rude greeting

Duke 100 Virginia Tech 65

The Hokies get a not-so-polite-greeting upon their first visit to Cameron as a member of the ACC.

Herald-Sun coverage

N&R coverage here and here

Seth Greenberg on running the Cameron-crazy gauntlet after being ejected:

"Something needs to be done. It's a potentially volatile situation. I almost got poked in the eye."

Roanoke Times coverage here and here

Greenberg weighs in further on the atmosphere in Cameron:

"When I was walking off the court after getting tossed, they have no security here and people were with their hands in my face, which I think is offensive."

The Times' Aaron McFarling on the atmosphere in Cameron:

"Until you've been here, you've tasted only a fraction of what this conference has to offer. Becuase this creaky old building is where four-game conference winning streaks come to die, where scrappy overachieving squads get a humblin' and a headache...

"..Think all this silliness has no impact? Think again. Tech's frustration began to boil almost immediately, and the intensity of the gym only made it worse."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Carolina caveat

Carolina has not yet proved itself in a really tough road game, or against a top-notch opponent playing its best (GA Tech is good, but they were beginning a swoon when they came to Chapel Hill). So let's not award the Tar Heels any titles just yet.

That said...wow. 62-26 at halftime on the road against Virginia. A 50-point lead with 5 minutes left. All with a subpar game from McCants and an ill Jackie Manuel. Ferocious defense. Smart passing.

Did I say wow?

Defending the indefensible

Roy Williams on Pete Gillen and Virginia:

"Pete Gillen is one of the gentlemen in the coaching profession. It is a difficult tim eperiod for him. Pete has more desire in his little finger than all the Cavalier fans in the world."

"It's tough, because (Gillen) is one of the true quality people in the profession, and you feel for him."

" It just sort of snowballed on Virginia. But it's hard in this league to play on the road Thursday night and then have to turn around and play a 12 noon game on Saturday, and I do believe that was a factor in this game."
State and Carolina do what they're supposed to do: beat bad teams on the road.

Wake Forest does what it's supposed to do: beat a good team at home.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Around the league- Game Day

Tony Haynes says there are no easy answers for N.C. State, as if we didn't already know.

Meanwhile, Clemson braces for State's backdoor-style offense. Is it me, or has the Pack not been able to establish that offense this season?

In the N&R, Frank Haith (I had no idea he was only 39) returns to his old old stomping grounds.

As for Wake Forest, we'll have to assume Eric Williams has had enough fluid pumped into him. A two-day turnaround is not a long time after such severe leg cramps. It'll be interesting to see how he performs today.

Roy Williams is wary of Virginia. I indicated yesterday that the Heels might be relishing their trip to Charlottesville, but University Hall historically has been a problem for Carolina. So will UNC put the nail in Pete Gillen's coffin, or will the ACC keep being its crazy self? We'll find out soon enough.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Cameron Fans Punk'd

From the Diamondback Online: "The Cameron Crazies, Duke University’s famous student fan section, were bamboozled into chanting about a Duke scandal involving a former crack cocaine dealer instead of criticizing Terrapin forward Nik Caner-Medley as they had intended during Wednesday’s night’s nationally televised Duke-Maryland basketball game."

Lingering in the shadows.....

So the Tar Heels (and their fans) sit back and watch this week's carnage, get ready to face a Virginia team that's given up on the season, and think to themselves........ what?

V-Tech continues to impress

Virginia Tech 79 Virginia 73

Virginia rallies from a 16-point deficit, but it's not enough against the Hokies, who continue to play solid defense by forcing 22 turnovers and making 12 steals.

The Richmond Times Dispatch's Bob Lipper sums up the Cavs' play this season:

"If you don't guard anyone and throw the ball all over the gym, you don't beat anybody."

Virginia's Elton Brown made the understatement of the evening:

"That's basketball. You ain't going to win every game. That's how it is."

Is it an understatement to say the Cavaliers have given up on this season?

Maybe it 's the cocoa butter

Georgia Tech 102 Wake Forest 101

Chris Paul struggles in an excellent game between two very athletic teams. Here's the way I see it: Wake won the battle on the offensive glass, but couldn't get some key second shots to go down. That, along with Paul's struggles, were the difference in the game.


Did anyone else notice Eric Williams's calf muscle knotted in a ball as he lay writhing on the floor?

Should Skip Prosser have called timeout to set up the final shot, or should he have let Paul make his own play?

Are Georgia Tech and Maryland now serious competitors?

WSJ coverage

AJC coverage:

"Georgia Tech's legion of believers drifted away in the midst of the team's three-game losing streak. Mired in mediocrity offensively, the Yellow Jackets' destiny suddenly seemed uncertain. All that changed Thursday night. No. 22 Tech is not an also-ran in the ACC. It hasn't conceded the conference race, nor has it disappeared from the national landscape."

Last but not least, it's unclear whether Paul got his final shot off in time. The Journal-Constitution's Rana Cash doesn't seem to think so:

"Paul's final attempt to steal the game was thwarted when he missed a runner off the glass that he didn't get off in time."

But WSJ's Dan Collins reports:

"Officials (Tony) Greene, Duke Edsall and Ted Valentine, when asked by a member of the Georgia Tech Sports Information Department, declined to comment if the shot would have counted."

That's odd. Are the referees not supposed to signal whether or not a shot will count? It seems like there should be no doubt in their minds when the shot is released.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Anger management

Check out Florida St. coach Leonard Hamilton, in response to Al Thornton's foul on Gavin Grant, which, according to Wolfpack voice Gary Hahn, was pretty blatant.

Anybody know what got Hamilton so worked up on that play?

ahhh, Mom?!

Chris Paul had some company during a recent Sports Illustrated photo shoot:

"He's so ashy," Robin Paul said. Ashy? "Dry skin," she said, walking toward her youngest son and handing him a jar of Cocoa Butter Creme for his hands. Sometimes, I want to throw him some lotion on the court, too. for his legs."

Now that's pressure

As State deals with its clutch free-throw woes, they should think about Miami's Gary Hamilton, who sealed the Canes victory at the free throw line.

When asked what he was thinking at the free-throw line, Hamilton said:

"I really had to go to the rest room really bad; it helped me balance my nerves."
Prevailing thought seems to be it's about time Duke lost, since they might not be that good anyway.

But do we really know, as the N&O's Caulton Tudor writes, "that Maryland is capable of being a force for the duration of the season" ?

Just another night

Let's analyze this....

Duke beats Florida State at home;

N.C. State beats Maryland at home;

Florida State beats the Pack at home;

Maryland beats Duke at Cameron....

What's to analyze? This is the ACC.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


The experts at ESPN rate their five favorite gyms. Anybody care to guess which one Jay Bilas picks as his favorite?

Shuffling the rotation

The skinny on Cameron Bennerman's elbow and Tony Bethel's colon. But Engin Astur is coming on after back problems earlier in the season.

In spite of the injuries and illness, the Pack could finish strong if more players continue to step up. Right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Monday, January 24, 2005

Around the league

Have you heard? Duke's 15-0.

The Herald-Sun's Bryan Strickland makes some observations:

"In 1992, a Duke team destined to win a second straight NCAA title started the season 17-0. In 1986, a Duke team on its way to a school-record 37 victories and the NCAA title game started 16-0."

Still, Coach K says:

"We know who we are. We're not that good of a team. We'll get beat- we'll get beat a few times. We just have to keep it going the right way and just try to get better."

Shavlik Randolph is still a few weeks away from a complete mono recovery:

"There are going to be some times where whether or not I'm tired, the team is going to need me to do some stuff. And the team can't wait another two or three weeks to a month, so there are going to be some times where I'm going to have to be sucking some wind but still able to do some things."

Everybody hear that?

Miami's Robert Hite is slumping. His scoring average has dipped from 21 ppg to 17.5 in recent weeks. Against Duke and Carolina, Hite shot a combined 4-for-21.

UM coach Frank Haith says he can't "pinpoint" Hite's problem:

"I thought he had a lot of good looks, and he just missed the shots. My concern is that he not lose confidence. He needs to work through this."

OK, so Clemson enters its game with Virginia shooting 28 percent from the 3-point line. So, needing only two to tie, Sharrod Ford takes - you guessed it- a three.

In fairness, Clemson didn't shoot too bad (13-30) from 3-point range, and there's something to be said for going for the win on the road, but Ford said:

"I just wasn't sure what the score was."

Turtle Soup on Maryland's loss to State:

"I'm running out of words to express my displeasure with the Terrapins, so I'm calling tonight's effort 'Terri-trocious.' In my opinion, it was the most poorly-played game of the season....The mental mistakes and lack of preparation are mind-numbing."

The Winston-Salem Journal's Bill Cole writes that Roy Williams "wouldn't hesitate to play games in Carmichael or Woolen Gymnasium if he knew for certain his teams would win and the opponents would be at a disadvantage."

Do it, Roy.

Heels Sox Steelers says.....well, never mind.


N.C. State 85 Maryland 69

N&O coverage

Last year's bitter loss to the Terps in the ACC Tournament weighed heavily on the Pack.

Engin Atsur:

"They stole our championship. They came from 21 behind and stole it from us. That was the first thought in our minds- all of us. That was the emphasis at halftime today. All the players talked about it: Keep the lead, don't let it happen again."

Herb Sendek:

"It was on everybody's minds. You don't erase a memory like that."

For further inspiration, Sendek showed the team a 10-minute tape of the Paralympics.

Ilian Evtimov:

"It made us realize how fortunate we are to be healthy and play basketball."

Washington Times coverage:

"Maryland dismissed its recent blowout losses to Wake Forest and North Carolina as expected raod beatings by ACC heavyweights. After all, the Terrapins won't be the only ones to lose badly on Tobacco Raod this season.

"An embarassing 85-69 home loss to lackluster N.C. State last night led to no such conclusions."

Nik Caner-Medley:

"The reason we lost this game was because we didn't play well in the first half defensively. It has nothing to do with anything anyone did offensively."

John Gilchrist:

"We just couldn't stop them. They played on another level. I don't know what happened tonight."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Moving on up

Virginia 81, Clemson 79

Virginia not only wins, but gains valuable position in conference standings, writes The Roanoke Times' Doug Doughty:

"For whatever peace of mind that he has remaining, Virginia men's basketball coach Pete Gillen mostly has Clemson to thank..... Virginia snapped a four game losing streak and moved into a tie for 10th place in the ACC with the Tigers."

Pete Gillen:

"You can't win a couple of games in a row until you win one in a row. Obviously, we've got a very tough game Thursday at Virginia Tech. We'll enjoy this game a little bit and worry about the Hokies in about eight minutes."


Wake Forest 74 Cincinnati 70

Scouting report: Don't play Eric Williams one-on-one

WSJ coverage


"There was this play we ran early in the season that's basccally a play for me. It's called 41, which is just four around one. We stopped doing that for a couple of games."

Taron Downey silences the critics by nailing two free throws to ice the game, in spite of the taunts from the UC student section:

"You definitely want to silence the guys who are taunting you. It's really, really good to hear them all silent when you leave the court."

Cincinnati Enquirer coverage:

"This was one the Bearcats could walk away from knowing they did everything they could against a team that had them outmanned, especially inside."

Bob Huggins:

"We're way past moral victories here. We had a chance to win and we didn't."

The Deacs shut down Dudley alum Eric Hicks in the second half, as Hicks scores 16 of his 18 in the first half.

Nothing doing

Meanwhile, the ACC's other newcomer wants to make a statement on the opponent's home court. Didn't happen.

UNC 87 Miami 67

N&R coverage

N&O coverage

Roy's still not satisfied.

Sat.'s Game of the Day

Virginia Tech 70 Georgia Tech 69

B.J. Elder sits out again, but the Hokies play without fear on the Jackets' home court. You know what I saw? An athletic team that was quick to the ball and dominant on the offensive glass while simultaneously playing sound, fundamental basketball. V-Tech took good shots and played tight defense. They won the game, G-Tech didn't lose it, in spite of Isma'l Muhammad's missed free throws at the end.

AJC coverage

Roanoke Times coverage

Seth Greenberg acknowledges Elder's absence:

"If Elder plays, it's probably a different game."

Zabian McDowell:

"If we play hard and you try to make the first punch, teams are going to back down. We just wanted to let the world know that we can play, too."

Saturday, January 22, 2005

B.J. returns?

As Georgia Tech heads into today's game against Virginia Tech, Jackets coach Paul Hewitt ponders life with and without B.J. Elder, who hopes to play against the Hokies:

"But as I've said the last two games, B.J. would have had to have superhuman efforts in order for us to win the last two games with the way we've played. B.J. is an outstanding player, probably our best all-around player. But we've got to play smarter basketball, especially on the offensvie end of the floor. There's not just one person that is going to fix what's wrong with us right now."

Slow dance

Cincinnati's strategy against Wake Forest: slow it down.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Show us

Julius Hodge, on N.C. State's prospects for the season:

"Believe it or not, I really believe this year's team is special. We've got young guys working and playing well. We're all going to continue to work, and by the end of the year we're going to show everyone."

Dear Pete- I'm outta here

"Hope" writes a letter to Cavaliers' coach Pete Gillen:

"I don't hear from UVa hoops fans much anymore, and I fear that's bad news for your job. See, the university's building a new arena. Administrators need donor money to do that, and I can help them get it. And you know what? If they replaced you with a new coach, I'd have no choice but to come back. It's kinda what I do."

You think Gillen's hearing footsteps?

Inspiration and perspiration

The Durham Herald-Sun's Neil Amato reports UNC got a surprise visitor during Thursday's practice - No. 23 himself.

Throat slash, part II

Taron Downey apologizes here and here.

Thanks again, Steve.
Turtle Soup says ESPN has some sticky fingers.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Just shoot the free throw

Florida State didn't play too smart down the stretch vs. Wake Forest, but Taron Downey may have jinxed himself with his throat-slash gesture before his crucial, potential game-winning free throw. (Thanks, Steve.)

The N&R's Rob Daniels, in an unposted sidebar, noted that Michael Wilbon and tony Kornheiser called for Downey's suspension during "Pardon the Interruption."

Daniels reports any disciplinary action against Downey will be handled internally."

The game of the night.....

Virginia Tech 72 NC State 71

N&O coverage

Tech's Jamon Gordon on covering Julius Hodge for State's final shot:

"I knew he'd make that move. He'd done it a couple of times. I didn't want to jump early, have him jump into me and draw a foul. I timed it just right."

Roanoke Times coverage

Hodge says it all:

"We were up 11 points with seven minutes left. All we had to do is finish and we couldn't do that."

Busy night

UNC 77 Clemson 58

N&O coverage

Sean May:

"We'd have lost this game last year. We wouldn't have been mentally strong enough to live up to the challenge."

Duke 92 Miami 83

Herald-Sun coverage

J.J. Redick:

"I think our defense has fallen off a little bit- we really need to get back to solid halfcourt defense. Miami is talented, but we gave up 83 points and that's not something we need to do on a game-to-game basis because we're not a team that can score 90 every game."

Maryland 82 Virginia 68

Washington Post coverage

John Gilchrist:

"When the game gets rough, sometimes players point fingers at each other and do their own thing. But we needed to show that we're together."

Roanoke Times coverage

Pete Gillen:

"We've just got to continue with a set lineup. We're not too far away."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Build it and.....

While we're on the subject of Virginia.....

Doug Doughty of The Roanoke Times writes UVa.'s fundraising efforts for the new John Paul Jones Arena while the basketball team is slumping:

"On the day that Virginia launched a mass-marketing campiagn for its new basketball arena, athletic director Craig Littlepage vowed that the Cavaliers' on-court product will improve."

Virginia's raised $94 million of the cash for the arena, which carries a total price tag of $129.8 million. It hopes to raise another $27 million through premium seating, where fans will make one-time gift of $25,000. AD Craig Littlepage said the school wasn't lagging in donations, yet could still be further ahead.

He doesn't think "the schedule and performance of the team had that much bearing" on fundraising.

On who will be coaching in the arena, scheduled to open in May 2006, Littlepage said:

"The season will tell the story. I don't think it's a stretch to say we haven't gotten to the point where we want to be, and it's my job, in part, to make sure that we are poised and on an upward movement as we go into the new arena. We will be there. I guarantee that."

Somebody's gotta win


Carolina-Clemson breakdown

OK, so now Carolina get to go on the road. Littlejohn has been a tough place for UNC to play in the past, but I suspect the Heels are a bit angry after Saturday's loss.

This is the ACC

Wake Forest looks like world beaters against Carolina, then goes to Florida State and....

WSJ coverage

Tallahassee Democrat coverage:

"Who could have seen this coming? The Seminoles had lost three of their first four Atlantic Coast conference games and looked poised to drop back to.500 overall.....

"And now? FSU suddenly looks more formidable as No. 4 Duke get set to visit the Civic Center on Saturday."

Still, as well as FSU played, dumb mistakes nearly cost them the game.

There was, of courese, there was Ralph Mims' foul on Taron Downey that put Wake in a position to win the game.

But before that:

"The Deacons pulled even with help from two technical fouls against FSU.

"(Al) Thornton blew past Chris Ellis for a dunk but was assessed a technical for batting the ball away in celebration. (Chris) Paul hit both technical free throws. A dunk by Williams made it a four-point possession. Thornton, unfazed, answered with his first three-pointer of the season. But Adam Walekowski picked up another technical on FSU's next possession for arguing an offensive foul. Again, Wake took advantage...."

It's not enough to play well. You have to play smart.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mais non!

More French! It means, but no, as in, No, Wake could not hold it together, they lost at FSU. Made all their foul shots...except the one that would have won it. Set an NCAA FT record in the OT loss....

Ce soir

That's French! It means "tonight," as in, tonight Wake comes off it's near-perfect game at home against UNC and tries to remain sharp against FSU.

7:00, espn2
AP Top 25 Poll and breakdown.

Sorry guys, out of the office all day today.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Bilas: Don't count your bids yet

YoCo links to a Jay Bilas column in which the Duke-bred ESPN analyst says the ACC can count on only four NCAA tourney bids. Doesn't mean that's all we'll get, but lots of teams need to show they belong...

Around the league

Tar Heel Daily on Raymond Felton:

"But if there is an area Felton must improve from on Saturday, it would be not falling into the trap of trying to match his biggest rival at point guard, but rather focusing on his job as the leader of his team."

Neither Clemson nor Virginia Tech have reached the NCAA tournament this century. Wait a minute now....oh yeah, it's the 21st century.

By the way, Clemson was offended that some preseason magazines ranked Virginia Tech ahead of the Tigers.

Clemson's Sharrod Ford:

"I think it's disrespectful. It makes everybody think, 'Damn, they just got into the league. They're at the bottom of the Big East and now they're finishing ninth in the ACC, which is supposed to be the toughest conference?'"

I wonder if they're still offended?

Meanwhile, Tech's Carlos Dixon on his big steal and dunk:

"The guy didn't set a good flare screen on me and the guy threw a lazy pass, so I just tried to anticipate it....and then I saw I had one man to beat. I knew the guy was going to try to strip it in front of me, so I knew I had to change directions to score."

According to the Sun Sentinel's Dave Hyde, Florida State's Von Wafer tried to get into Guillermo Diaz's head:

Wafer "cocked his finger like a pistol after making a shot and fired it in front of Diaz. He talked up other shots, skipped down the court nodding his head, twice turned to the (Miami) bench and said something."

Somebody might want to get into Diaz's head. The Hurricanes are good, but Diaz says:

"Make the NCAA Tournament? Win the NCAA Tournament. Go to the end. That's what I want. I don't just eant to get in. I want to go to the end."

This year.

Maryland is still perfect at home after beating Temple on Saturday. (Anybody realize the Terps were playing?) Perhaps the schedule will work in their favor if they can right the ship.

Temple once again plays an ACC opponent tough, holding a six-point in the second half.

Devil of a schedule

ESPN's Andy Katz on Duke's favorable schedule:

"So when exactly does Duke play at one of the potential favorites for the ACC title? Not until Duke goes to Wake Forest on Feb. 2. Duke also visits Maryland on Feb. 12, Georgia Tech on Feb. 23 and will close the season at North Carolina on March 6. Clearly, the Blue Devils caught a break in their schedule......But is the early-season schedule luck? Is it just coincidence that Duke opened against Clemson the last four seasons?"

No, Katz says. Duke plays the best teams in the ACC on the road, later in the ACC season, because "that's when the ACC television partners want the high-profile, highly-anticipated, and usually highest-rated games." Needless to say, the Duke Carolina game is given preferential treatment every season.

That makes sense. It was a hard decision to make yesterday between State-Georgia Tech and Patriots-Colts. No doubt many chose the NFL playoffs over college hoops, Fortunately for everyone, the Wake-Carolina game was at 1:30, before the playoffs started.

It doesn't help (or hurt) matters any that Duke is the ACC's highest-rated television team, even when they aren't playing Carolina. So when the ACC's TV partners select their games each season, Duke is always on top. So they're going to get the easier opponents early in the season.

Foul, cries Clemson coach Oliver Purnell:

"I understand the importance of the ratings, but at the same time there needs to be some equitable competitiveness as well....Let's face it, we don't want to open with the best team in the league every year. That's the bottom line. I want to take this to the AD level and talk about it and consider moving it around."

So does Maryland's Gary Williams:

"The year we won the national title, Duke-Carolina was still the ultimate game. It's always the last ACC game. It makes every other team in the league look secondary. That's what I object to. Whoever is good should get publicity."

Virginia is for losers

So said a message taped to the head of the Blue Devil, as noted by the N&R's Jim Young in his unposted article.

Duke 80, Virginia 66

Durham Herald-Sun coverage

Roanoke Times coverage

To use the old phrase, Pete Gillen can't win for losing.

The Times' Doug Doughty:

"After a Daniel Ewing basket cut the margin to 17-12, Gillen called his second timeout of the game with 10:03 left. The Blue Devils scored the next six as part of 22-6 run.

"When Gillen used his third timeout with 3:53 before halftime, the Duke students serenaded him with chants of 'Timeout Pete, Timeout Pete.'"

Now that Herb Sendek has the monkey off his back, at least for the time being, it will be interesting to see how Gillen holds up under the pressure of a poor start. The Cavs have an opportunity to get a win against Maryland on Wednesday, but they're on the road.

Next question

N.C. State 76 Georgia Tech 68

N&O coverage (They didn't have a beat writer on this story? Maybe they were watching football.)

AJC coverage

State does what it has to do, with Julius Hodge having an off-night.

Now here's the question: How good is Georgia Tech? We saw early on they did not shoot 3-pointers well, and the problem persists as the Jackets go only 2-15 against State after going 3-17 against Carolina.

AJC's Rana Cash:

"Senior guard B.J. Elder, Tech's best outside shooter, is expected back from a hamstring injury Saturday against Virginia Tech, but to what degree Elder can change the course is unclear.

"Certainly, coach Paul Hewitt hesitates to circle Elder's absence as the overriding factor in Tech's shortcomings. Instead, Hewitt pointed to what he saw in front of him- an offense that rushed shots in transition and buried itself with 11 first-half turnovers."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Just asking

Pete Gillen seems to think people are overreacting to his team's 0-3 conference start, with Duke looming tonight:

"We're struggling in this league and everybody has a nervous breakdown when we lose a game, but we're 9-4. Oh-and-three in the league is bad, yes, but we've lost to two top-10 teams and we've got another one today.

"We've just got to go day by day. Teams can get into this league with 7-9 records."

Should Cavalier fans be concerned that Gillen is basically predicting a 7-9 record? That should tell them Gillen's assuming there are teams in the ACC the Cavs just won't beat. That might be reality to the ourside world, but is that a good message to send to his players?

The big game, part II

Analysis runneth over in the "wake" of yesterday's Deacs-Tar Heels game:

The N.Y. Times' Viv Bernstein writes:

"Wake Forest might never rise to equality with beloved North Carolina, popular N.C. State or despised Duke in the hearts and minds of this state's maninc Atlantic Coast Conference basketball fans. But the longtime little brother of the state powerhouses made clear on Saturday that in the ACC standing, Wake Forest is second to none."

The N&R's Ed Hardin writes:

"After all these years, Wake Forest finally forced North Carolina to admit it. The Deacons are now a rival."

The Winston-Salem Journal's Lennox Rawlings focuses on Taron Downey's inspired play off the bench:

"Taron Downey mastered the present and brightened the Deacons' NCAA future, scoring 18 points and delivering the unexpected impetus behind a 95-82 victory yesterday afternoon."

After Downey hit two deep three pointers,

"Rashad McCants, the Tar Heels' swaggering stylist, grunted and retaliated with biting commentary.

"'He told me all my shots were over with,' Downey reported.

"The next time down the floor, Downeyt floated to the right side of the fould circle and drained another 3-point shot for a 17-13 lead."

The N&O's Ned Barnett says questions remain for UNC:

"Carolina is a deep team, but when it comes to playing elite opponents, the Heels may still be no deeper than McCants....

"Now here's another question. After romping over its first three ACC opponents, how will Carolina recover?

"Carolina may yet rule the ACC, but those who would be king must be able to successfully invade."

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Miami rising

'Canes beat FSU, go to 3-1 in ACC.

Deacs win

Wake Forest 95, UNC 82

Box score and game summary

Early observations:

The score was not indicative of the competitiveness of this game between two very athletic teams. Chris Paul and Raymond Felton were both awesome, although Felton's shooting was off as he went only 5-18 from the field, while Paul was 8-18.

Carolina was consistently beaten inside. Chris Ellis made two key plays: the putback after his own missed dunk (when he grabbed the ball while still in the air) and when he scored on a loose ball under the basket, putting the lead back up to 10 with a little over seven minutes left.

Jackie Manuel did a good job on Justin Gray, but rendered himself ineffective, grabbing only two rebounds and fouling out with seven minutes left.

But here's the key for Carolina: In a game where he was hampered with foul trouble, Rashad McCants still scores 19 on 8-12 shooting.

Marvin Williams continues to impress with 15 points and 7 rebounds.

Huge statistic: The Deacs were perfect from the foul line, going 32-32 a considerable improvement over the 18-35 shooting vs. Maryland. The Heels weren't bad, going 21-26.

We'll throw this out just for the hell of it: Would Carolina take Wake in a theoretical regular season rematch in Chapel Hill?

Virginia Tech 59 Clemson 57

Carlos Dixon makes the steal and drives for the dunk with six seconds left. Then the Hokies hold as Clemson goes for the last shot.

Test post.....still laying with Haloscan.....that'll do it. Y'all comment, now.

Order of Battle

Battle of Florida: FSU @ Miami, 12:00, Raycom JP/regional

Battle of football schools with rabid fans who have chips on their shoulders about not being the glamorous campus in their respective state systems:
Clemson @ VA Tech, 12:00, Raycom/JP regional

Battle of very good teams that the local NC media is treating like the NCAA championship game combined with the Miss America pageant and the premiere of the next Star Wars movie: UNC @ Wake, 1:30, ABC

Battle of two intense coaches that may be of interest along certain segments of I-95 while the rest of us watch Wake-UNC: Temple @ Maryland, 2:00, espn2

Friday, January 14, 2005


A couple of comments in the Tar Heel chat room Heel Hoops:

"This team is difficult to compare to any UNC team I can recall since I started watching in 1964. The biggest question mark I have is how this team will respond under pressure."

"....This season is going to be an incredible ride. Note that I have made no predictions, but I don't know of any Carolina team quite like this one at this point in the season. Maybe '57, but it is hard to compare that team to the modern ones."

WaPo on MD, SI on UNC

Eric Prisbell: "As the Terrapins enter a critical three-game homestand beginning this Saturday against Temple and continuing next week against ACC opponents Virginia and North Carolina State, the questions are mounting, and the answers appear elusive."

Luke Winn: "Here, then, are three less obvious reasons why the Tar Heels have become so dominant."

ACC overrated?

Pomeroy says so. And he's probably right. The conference may be merely very very good this year, when for a while it looked to be superb.

NC State, UVA, and Maryland seem a lot less imposing than they did a month ago. Only Miami has seen its stock increase much, with UNC, Wake, and Duke all playing at or slightly above the expected high level, GA Tech in shouting distance when injuries are factored in, and FSU, VA Tech, and Clemson proving that you can't disappoint people if they never expected much in the first place.

Fortunately this is college basketball, where all such arguments settle themselves in March.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Duke, reconsidered

So we said they were the worst #5 team ever. Maybe not. Clearly they are not the most talented bunch in Duke history. Obviously a win at NC State does not make you a world-beater, just a bad-team-beater. But still. Duke wins despite foul trouble and an off night from Redick. They are finding ways to get it done. They are disciplined and opportunistic.

Remember that not-great UNC squad with Cota and Haywood that Guthridge took to the Final Four? This Duke team could be that kind of team. I'm not saying Duke is on it's way to the Final Four. Are they the fifth-best team in the land? No. They will get beaten by more talented teams. Soon. But this is a dangerous team to underestimate.

Ewing vs. Hodge

K asked his team who wanted to guard Hodge, and Ewing was the first guy to step up. Ewing's tight defense got to Hodge, who, in frustration, clipped Ewing in the nose with the ball.

The Durham Herald-Sun's Frank Dascenzo writes:

"There are turning points and there are crushing points, and the split-second Hodge hit Ewing in the nose, N.C. State may as well have unleashed a Duke clinic on how not to get angry, but to get even."

The N&O's Luciana Chavez doesn't make much of the ball-to-the-nose incident, writing that Hodge and Ewing "were in each other's crosshairs all game long."

Chip Alexander used stronger words in the lead story, saying "N.C. State had the most acrobatic, breath-snatching play of the game," referring to Cameron Bennerman's dunk. But, he continued, "the Wolfpack also had the dumbest" play of the game.

The Winston-Salem Journal's Lenox Rawlings quotes Hodge:

"I should have done it earlier. It relieved a lot of pressure."


Thursday, January 13, 2005

He's one of those guys

Ewing on Hodge in The Durham Herald-Sun:

"Not only is he good, he really thinks that he's real good. He's just a confident player. He's a good kid, and he just likes to win. I think that's a good guy to have on your team, but he's one of those guys that if he's not on your team, then he's one of those guys that you kind of hate."

Tournament fault line

We already know this, but the N&O's Caulton Tudor says tonight's game against Duke is a must win for State

An 0-3 start on top of State's schedule "would make the NCAA Tournament a long shot."

After another home game against Georgia Tech, which will be looking to right the ship after its loss to Carolina, the Pack goes on the road for six of its next eight games.

As for Herb Sendek's job security, Tudor writes:

"There's more at stake now than the fate of this one season. The program momentum built by Sendek since 2001 is also at some risk.

"A bad record won't put the coach in danger of losing his job, nor should it."

Agree? Disagree?

Hurricanes rising

Miami 91 Virginia 80

Roanoke Times coverage:

"Not even Devin Smith could right Pete Gillen's sinking ship Wednesday night."

Sun- Sentinel coverage

....and warm up the radios

The N&R's Jeff Carlton notes that Dookie V. will be calling the game on Saturday.

Bring on Wake.....

UNC 91, Georgia Tech 69

N&O coverage

N&R coverage

AJC coverage

Despite poor(28-68, including 9-22 from 3-point range)shooting, the Heels make it look easy by beating Tech to the ball. The Jackets pull down only eight offensive rebounds, while the Heels cleaned their own glass 20 times.

Tech still hasn't beaten a ranked team.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Gilchrist says....

Many believe John Gilchrist has an attitude problem. If there are any doubts, check out this quote in the Washington Post (registration required, dammit):

"Personally, I felt like those guys weren't that good, to be honest with you. I only can see it through my eyes. I felt like we should have won the game."


Bloggers say.......

"The wheels fell off," writes Turtle Soup. "I am going to need a night's sleep to comprehend the wreckage and I will be back tomorrow with a rational and relaxed commentary."

A commenter to Turtle Soup writes, "Gilchrist's problems are with his attitude. We all have seen his emotions at their worst and I think Gary (Williams) is just sick of it at this point....However, I do feel that the Terps may have had a better chance of winning that game if Gilchrist got to play...By sitting out JG, Gary was punishing the team as well as John."

Meanwhile, Wake Forest Basketball writes, "Wake coach Skip Prosser criticized the Deacs' ability to 'finish the game' as they had in the first two ACC games, but he hit the nail on the head when adding that the players looked like 'they just wanted to get the game over with.' After all a top 5 team and in-state rival comes to town on Saturday. We'll excuse the Deacs for looking ahead....."

Deacs rout Terps

Was Wake Forest a good team, or was Maryland a horrible team? Somehow, I don't see John Gilchrist making much of difference.

WSJ coverage

N&R coverage

Washington Times coverage

The Times' Rick Snider saw a silver lining:

"Maryland again couldn't handle one of the ACC's heavyweights last night, but the Terrapins at least showed they might be able to remain competitive against lesser conference opponents."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Yoni at College Basketball does our job for us by reporting Will Roach's reenrollment at N.C. State to help shore up Herb Sendek's decimated squad.

"Fat chance," Yoni writes. "Though, given time, Julius Hodge will lead the Pack to the Sweet 16."

OK. We trust Yoni's judgment. But the problem is State has the talent to carry on without resorting to bringing Roach back. They just can't seem to come together as a team. Until that happens we have to cast State's season in skeptical light. Duke will be a big test for the Pack, for it seems as though even even the Dukies know their team isn't everything it's cracked up to be.

Meanwhile, Tony Bethel's condition continues to worsen. Sendek said that not only had Bethel lost a lot of weight, but he became so dehydrated that he developed "a gout condition in his foot where he was literally on crutches this week. He's gone throught the gauntlet with a series of things."

I had a friend with gout, and he said it was the most painful thing he's been through.

Look at it this way: better to face adversity early in the season. Carolina fans beware: You've been pretty damn healthy this season.

Just one game tonight...

...but it's Maryland at Wake, so let's not complain. 9:00, Raycom/JP.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Good story in the Durham Herald-Sun about Miami forward Anthony King. The catch (and I didn't know this): King was a standout at Southern High School.

King was disappointed he didn't end up at an ACC school when he signed with Miami last year. After a dismal freshman year, he almost transferred. Now here he is, the ACC record holder for blocked shots in a single game.

King gives credit for his work ethic to his brother James, "who died at age 26 while trying out for a German professional team."

"My brother James, he could play some ball- he was always playing hard no matter what," King told the Herald-Sun.

Youth vs. experience

Florida St. coach Leornard Hamilton on Virginia Tech::

"If this is the 10th-best team in the league, then we're in for a long fight. They have a good foundation of young players that are talented."

The Hokies' Coleman Collins on FSU and ACC competition in general:

"These teams we're playing against, they've got...guys out there with gray hairs and we're a young team."

It is?

It's too early to judge Clemson, writes The State columnist Ron Morris:

"To judge Clemson off its blowout loss against Wake Forest on Saturday is to gauge the progress of coach Oliver Purnell's program solely on this basketball season. It simply is not fair."

With two conference games under the Tigers' belt, Morris is already looking ahead to next year:

"It might be wise to wait another year — when the ACC can't possibly be as strong as it is now — to judge the success of (Oliver) Purnell's program."

It won't be pretty inside

"It starts up front," the Washington Times' Rick Snider writes about the Wake-Maryland matchup. "Forward Ekene Ibekwe has been forced to go against much bigger centers. North Carolina's Sean May was 50 pounds heavier than Ibekwe...."

Unfortunately, Ibekwe will be coming in 70 pounds lighter than Deacons center Eric Williams.

Up tempo

Will Maryland and Carolina be able to run with Wake Forest?

Winston-Salem Journal's Dan Collins:

"Two ACC teams, Virginia and Clemson, have shown a willingness to run with the Deacons, but have lacked the ability. And neither of the Deacons' next two opponents, Maryland and North Carolina, are exactly known for deliberate half-court basketball."

Monday morning.....

....and State ain't looking fine.

N&O coverage

On the controversial timeout with seven seconds left, Herb Sendek said:

"I made a quick assessment of where we were in transition. It didn't seem like we had an advantage."

Julius Hodge said......nothing:

"Asked about the Pack's final timeout, Hodge didn't answer, staring straight ahead," writes the N&O's Chip Alexander.

Alexander reports that "Wolfpack starters received commemorative coins Sunday before the game to mark NCSU's participation in ACC history."

How about this? They all take a trip to bridge in Pullen Park and into the creek the coins go.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Red alert in Raleigh

Welcome to Miami...no, not the crappy Will Smith song, the war-cry of that football school that just beat NC State.

Guillermo Diaz is a player.

Cameron Bennerman's last miss was ugly (that's actually unfair to ugly).

An unexpectedly big game

Say you are NC State basketball...no, wait, we just played that game. Anyway, today's visit to Miami looms large for the Woofpack, who must win on the road to show that Sendek has righted the ship.

4:00, JP/Raycom

Pecking order

Say you are Florida State basketball (a conceptual leap, to be sure, embodying an entire program, and a dismal prospect at the same time). You must beat Virginia Tech when they come to your house if you are to maintain any self-respect at all.

Well, you did.


GA Tech overpowers Virginia

Two teams minus a key player apiece, GA Tech and UVA. Tech has more answers. This one was not close.

Don't be greedy...

Wake Forest Basketball blog on ACC expansion: "Wake is surely disappointed that they will not get a chance to walk over Clemson in the Joel like they did in Littlejohn."

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Wake Buries Clemson

Nasty. A 35 point road win. Justin Gray in the zone. Clemson under Purnell not much different at this point than Clemson under anyone but Barnes?

Duke is the worst #5 team in history

Well, maybe not in history.

And until they lose, it's hard to say they shouldn't be highly ranked. They are Duke, and they are undefeated. But they are not the dominant Duke we know and (a)love or (b)fear.

Today's win over Temple was, well, a win. But how far can Redick, Ewing, and Williams take them?


It's too early to ask how good Carolina is -- the question now should be, How could can they be?

The answer as of today: very, very good.

I was at the Dean Dome for the Maryland game. Other than a sloppy stretch in the middle of the first half, the Heels were dazzling. When they put the defensive clamps on toward the end of the opening stanza, the rout was on. They played ten players before halftime, and seven guys ended up scoring in double figures; at one point fairly early in the second half there was only one starter on the floor.

Marvin Williams is a special talent. His missed dunks should still be on a highlight reel. McCants is a killer. May had some mental lapses today, but some nice plays and good hustle, too.

They still make some dumb mistakes, try things they shouldn't. They still haven't been tested, hard, and forced to play half-court offense when it counts. One big win at home in early January is just one win.

But...dayum, this team has scary potential.

The first big day

Maryland @ UNC, noon, ESPN

Temple @ Duke 2:00, espn2

Wake @ Clemson, 4:00, RJ

VA Tech @ FL State, 7:00

Virginia @ GA Tech, 8:00, RJ

No margin for error

After coaching his first ACC game, Miami's Frank Haith has a couple of observations:

"The one thing we'll learn playing in this league is the margin for error is very slim. Where we were playing some of those teams early, you can miss a layup and you can miss a lot of free throws and still win those games. In this league, that's tough and you have to take advantage of those opportunities to give yourself a chance."

Friday, January 07, 2005

Fun with numbers

Blah Blah blog runs some numbers that purport to show that Shelden Williams is almost as good this year as Emeka Okafur was last year. YoCo challenges that analysis by showing it compares a Williams' season to date versus a whole campaign for Okafur. Nothing against Williams, a fine player indeed, but I think we should wait a while before declaring (as Blah does) that he may well be "the best all-around player in the ACC."

On the other hand......

Turtle Soup says the heat's on Carolina:

"My point is this: there should be no pressure on the Terps this weekend. The Terps should be loose while it is UNC who has to win the game."

Gold prefaces that comment with this warning:

"All Maryland fans should realize that UNC will probably go undefeated at home this year."

Know your enemy?

Both of Washington's major newspapers, the Times and the Post, have good-sized articles focusing on UNC.

Funny, I was checking both papers looking for insight on Maryland's preparation for tomorrow's game against the Tar Heels. Is it not a big game out of the chute for the Terps? If they play the Heels tough on the road, win or lose, then they're a good basketball team. If they get blown out......

I'll check in again tomorrow.

GA Tech over Miami

They're all tough games now. Tech wins by 11 at home, coming off a tough loss to Kansas and playing without BJ Elder.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Who's next?

Injuries hit Georgia Tech, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports B.J. Elder is expected to miss 1-to-3 weeks with a strained left hamstring.

Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt expects Elder "to be back no later than the Jan. 22 game against Virginia Tech. Between nw and then, Tech plays Miami, Virginia, at No. 3 North Carolina and at N.C. State."

Injuries and illness have taken their toll on Duke, State and now Tech. They don't discriminate.

Change is good

Change is on the way for the Wolfpack.

Look for more playing time from Andrew Brackman, Gavin Grant and Cedric Simmons and Ilian Evtimov, who Herb Sendek says is "starting to turn the corner" with his knee problems.

Possibly out of the loop: Levi Watkins, who's been stone cold shooting from the floor.

Watkins "is going to have to settle into a role where he tries to help our basketball team in whatever way he possibly can," Sendek said. That's a nice way of saying he's looking at some bench time. It will be interesting just how much Watkins' playing time decreases.

I realize I was a bit hard on Sendek after last week's loss to St. John's. Make no mistake, the Pack was horrible. But I'll back off on Sendek's job being in danger until I see what the three freshmen can do.

Also, Tony Bethel truly has not been healthy. I doubt I'd be very effective on the court if my large bowel were chronically inflamed.

College ball blog

If you aren't reading College Basketball, you aren't following college basketball.

This one counts

Miami @ GA Tech, 7:00, RSN

Devils dog Tigers

One school has a gothic campus in New Jersey and plays in the Ivy League, the other has a gothic campus full of kids from New Jersey and thinks it belongs in the Ivy League. The first school has a pretty impressive basketball tradition, but the second school is, well, Duke, which beat Princeton last night in another low-scoring affair.

Hoos hop Hilltoppers

UVA wins in double OT.

AP's Hank Kurz Jr.:"The final sequence happened so fast, it seemed like no one got a really good look at how Virginia managed to win."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Just one more time...

There's been quite a bit written about the ACC's new, unbalanced schedule. But right before conference play is about to begin in earnest, the Durham Herald-Sun's Al Featherston provides a detailed analysis.

Featherston points out that ACC teams are strong at home- 47-25 in league games last year, with Clemson the only team that had a losing record at home.

Teams such as Virginia and Florida St. are tough at home, but "pushovers on the road." I'd add Clemson to this list, despite their losing record at home, because Littlejohn Coliseum historically has been a tough place to play. So any team who has one or more of these opponents only at home has an unfair advantage over teams that have to play them on the road. ACC newcomers Miami and Virginia Tech are not expected to fare well on the road, either.

So a home game against Clemson, Miami or Virginia Tech "has to be the closest thing to a sure win out there. Duke and Georgia Tech have three such games, Maryland and UNC two each, while N.C. State and Wake Forest get just one such 'gimme.'"

Still, Wake plays just three games on the road against its top contenders-Duke, N.C.State and Georgia Tech, something that "shapes up as the biggest advantage of all."

With that in mind, Featherston gives the schedule advantage to Wake:

"The Deacs have the easiest path to the regular-season title-but only if the Deacons can protect their home court."

On the other hand,

"Duke appears to have the toughest overall path to finish No. 1, based on being the only team to play nine games against the contenders and five on the road. But while the Blue Devils do have more tough games scheduled than the other contenders, Duke's schedule is softer at the bottom end."

Teasing us

A coupla potentially interesting non-con game tonight...but still non-con.

Princeton @ Duke, 7:00, ESPN. Princeton is 8-4, coming of an overtime win over Davidson.

W.Kentucky @ Virginia 9:00, CSN. Hilltoppers are 10-1, UVA is UVA, so anything is possible.

Well, not anything: Maryland thumped Mount St. Mary's last night as they were destined to do.

Who's going to know the difference.....

ESPN's Andy Katz highlights Player of the Year candidates, focusing on Wake Forest's Chris Paul.

Question: Does anyone really care who wins Player of the Year?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Terp Tune-up

Mount St. Marys @ Maryland
8:00, CSN

"The Mount" has dropped three in a row.

Notice anyone missing?

Monday, January 03, 2005

Temper, temper, Part II

Meanwhile, in Durham:

Clemson coach Oliver Purnell "reacted angrily toward the officials while leaving the court at halftime. He had to be restrained by assistant Ron Bradley."

The State's Jon Solomon does not elaborate on the source for Purnell's tempertantrum. Let's hope it's a case of displaced anger ovewr his team's shooting: Guards Shawan Robinson, Vernon Hamilton and Cliff Hammonds shot a combined 3-for-25.

Temper, temper

This is somehow hard to believe, but Virginia coach Pete Gillen doesn't have a reputation for getting "T'd up".

When Gillen was called for a technical following a traveling violation on Gary Forbes, Cavs beat writers, not to mention Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser, tried to remember the last time that happened:

"Prosser, an assistant coach to Gillen for nine years at Xavier, said he could not remember seeing Gillen get a technical. UVa beat writers could remember only two other 'T's' in his six-plus seasons as Cavaliers coach."

Said Gillen:

"It wasn't language. I didn't curse, I don't think."

Duke's Reggie Love will be out 6-8 weeks.

As the Winston-Salem Journal's John Dell points out, two of those weeks will be spent playing non-conference opponents Princeton and Temple before getting back into conference play against the red-hot (not) N.C. State Wolfpack.

By that time, however, there's a good chance Shavlik Randolph could be back in the lineup.

"On paper, it looks like a catastrophe. On the court, it was not so bad." The N&O's Ned Barnett says State's recent slump is not cause for concern.

But over at College Basketball, Yoni ain't buying it.

He's on target here, too: "Georgia Tech's losses to Kansas and Gonzaga, North Carolina State's aforementioned struggles, Virginia's return to earth and Wake Forest's evident mortality suggest it is only a matter of time before a prominent columnist (west of the Mississippi, most likely) questions the ACC's dominance."

And that columnist will be right to do so. Not to say the ACC isn't strong, just that the real season is only getting started now...


Which is short for "darn ugly," which is what Duke's win over Clemson was.

Reggie Love breaks a bone in his foot, Shav's out for a while...teams with any heft inside and the ability to cover JJ Redick are going to give Duke a lot of problems.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Wake wins at UVA

Road wins are precious
Home losses are bad
Wake gets what it needs
Virginia gets had.

State slide continues

Remember -- and this was just a week or so ago -- when the question "How good is NC State?" implied that the Woofpack was perhaps quite good?

It don't mean that no more, not after a home loss to West Virginia.

OK, they didn't have their best player, and West Virginia is looking pretty sharp.

But this State team looking shaky.

Pleny of time left to right the ship. But with the real season upon them, they better get wit' it.

Miami beats Norfolk State

We have to tell you this stuff. It's our job.

Heels thump W&M

It was more like S&M once Carolina got rolling.

FSU beats Florida

Is there a more confounding team in the conference, or the whole country?

The rollercoaster 'Noles whup Florida as Von Wafer hits 6 of his first 7 trey attempts.

Down to business

These count:

Wake @ UVA, 5:30, FSN

Clemson @ Duke, 8:00, FSN


Florida @ FSU, 1:00, RJ split

William and Mary @ UNC, 1:00, RJ split

Norfolk State @ Miami, 2:30, Sun

West Virginia @ NCSU, 3:00 FSNSouth

Tech tanks

They had that game. Then they didn't.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Starting off with a bang

GA Tech @ Kansas
2:30 PM

Flashback: "Last March, ACC member Georgia Tech ousted KU from the NCAA Tournament, downing the Jayhawks, 79-71, in overtime in an Elite Eight game in St. Louis."

Happy New Year

May 2005 bring you health and wealth, may your entry passes be crisp and your dunks delivered with authority, may your team reach its full potential and win all its close games (unless it's playing my team.)