Tuesday, March 26, 2013

R.I.P. T.A.H. 2005 - 2013: ACC Sports Blog To Close Shop On Day Of Important Surgery

(Steve Kohls / Brainerd Daily Dispatch via AP)
Dear loyal readers, not-so-loyal readers, people who hate to read and the general public at large including the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (which never invited us to play in their stupid sandbox):

The goal was to reach 1 million visits and then close shop. That said, for reasons unknown to anybody at T.A.H. Worldwide Media Headquarters, readership has crashed and burned of late.  This week in 2012, T.A.H. was visited over 5,000 times. Three weeks ago, a total of 951.  On one day in March of 2012, over 1,000 people visited the site, on Valentine’s Day 2013, just 87. 

Weekly visits have gone from almost 6,000 during early March of last year to an average of around 1,300…the crashing trend started at the beginning of this year. Yes, I have Google Analytics, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it’s telling me and even if I can decipher the code, it doesn’t tell me WHY

While everybody enjoys a hobby and a good laugh, there is no reason to produce something that nobody reads. There is enough crap in cyberspace as it is…(Sorry to call those of you that are loyal readers “nobody,” but you get the point.) 

I believe the decline is caused by a number of factors. 

First of all, it’s possible - unlikely mind you - but possible, that people have stopped reading ‘cause the content isn’t as good as it once was.  Just throwin’ that out there. 

Also, expansion, and some other things have really derailed passionate interest in the ACC in particular and college sports in general. The games are still pure, but the money-first back drop is clearly turning fans off.  We can escape our cynicism during the actual contests, but it quickly returns when the final whistle blows.

People are still rabid fans of THEIR TEAM, but the ACC has lost a lot of luster in recent years. Also, the majority of fans take their team’s plight VERY seriously. The comments I received over the years demonstrated that many readers (and certainly almost all that left comments) didn’t get the joke(s). 

I mean one time, we might have poked a little fun at some seven-year-olds that got their collective football butts kicked all over the miniaturized football field (91-0) by a team that my son played for and, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, some parents, coaches and the commissioner of the kid football league took offense even though we said the score was 13-0, as in 13 touchdowns to zero touchdowns which we thought was pretty good “editing.”  

Alas, skin is thin. That little skirmish damn near cost me my Fauquier Youth Football League press pass! Which, for the record, ain’t that easy to come by (to begin with). Hey now, that’s a double prepositional ending sentence exacta.   Two words people: quality journalism. But, I digress… 

So the audience seem to lack interest in general coverage of the ACC (not to mention my friends and family) and the focus is on the GoHeels.comTheSabre.com and HokieSports.coms of the world where it’s “all my team, all the time.”  Seriously, people actually pay money for “insider” web sites like Rivals.com which burns billions of megabytes each year talking about which 15-year-old may play inside linebacker for (fill in your school's name here) four years from now.  Who can run with that?    

WHERE ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO GET THIS?  VIDEO HERE.
Add to that, it tough to cover the same stuff over and over and come up with good material. Seriously, how many colonial navy and Led Zeppelin jokes can you make up about John Paul Jones Arena? We wore those out six years ago…And always calling Duke the University of New Jersey at Durham was funny for a year or two, but it can’t hold up forever. 

You need cannon fodder to write comedy, and other than new crime and the ongoing foibles of the NCAA, we’ve pretty well exhausted every humor source in the ACC. Shoot, I even got tired of misspelling Krzyghbd5ski. (Naaaaah. Not really.  I still like to misspell Krzschbsg9ski.  I like to misspell Krzyhnmp2ski ‘cause it’s funny. Actually, misspelling Krxbnt6ski still makes me and Rob Corrie laugh, so that’s good enough!) Well, that and I never really learned how to spell it correctly.  And, in spite of it all, I really do LIKE Coach K and think he's GREAT.*

Let’s face it, teams, coaches and players aren’t as funny as they used to be. Where’s Julius “Snapple” Hodge and Charles “Amphibious” Shackelford when you need them? Remember Jon “Crazy Face” Schyer…now that was dude was funny.

But generally speaking it’s hard to be funny everyday first thing in the morning unless there are really good pharmaceuticals in your coffee. There isn’t. I could go all Hunter Thompson, but we all know that isn’t going to end well. I you don’t believe me, just ask Hunter Thompson.

As it stands, T.A.H., like any worthwhile endeavor, requires 1) a lot of work (research, writing, editing and “borrowing” photos) and 2) a fair amount of “give a s***.” The work takes time and time is in short supply.  

“Give a s***” comes and goes and it simply doesn’t lend itself to Syracuse or Pitt. (Now, Notre Dame has potential. Can you imagine the fun we would have had with the Teo catfishing circle jerk if the Golden Domers were really IN the ACC?)  In the immortal words of Dick Enberg:  “Oh My.”

MAMA SAID THERE WOULD BE DAYS LIKE THIS.
Unfortunately, it’s all starting to feel like work, and that much uncompensated effort can’t last but so long. Creativity takes time. Seriously, it takes a fair amount of time to write a good turtle joke… 

WHAT? Maryland is going to the BIG TEN? Well, CRAP SANDWICH, there’s one more reason to stop the presses! 

In addition, cyber-publishing has changed. Photos are harder and harder to come by as media consolidates.  It’s just a matter of time before T.A.H. gets sued for using other’s photos. Mind you, I always credit those photos, but two entities (the Washington Post, and Virginia Tech) have told me to stop reprinting their stuff.  Rat bastards.

Eight long internet years later with jpegs, giffs, photos, links, videos and a zillion bytes of both technology and text, T.A.H. is a pretty good looking product and I remain proud of that. (It looks great on Flipboard on your iPad!). If it had a real editor to fix the typos, it would be really good, but it doesn’t so it isn’t. Such is life.
THE SWING THAT BUGGERED UP BLAZE'S HIP

Of course, you must be thinking, “Why now?” 

Why, during the Big Dance are we shuttering the doors?  Because in the grand scheme of things a basketball tournament doesn’t matter as much as some malfunctioning body parts...

All of that said, somehow we have all arrived at the end of the T.A.H. universe. Like Jim Carey in The Truman Show, I was looking for the end, and by God I think I’ve stumbled upon the perfect concluding event.

I’ve decided to take T.A.H. out in a “BLASER OF GLORY” along with T.A.H. founding reader and loyal fan Tom Blaser’s hip.  When the old hip gets yanked out of T-Blaze’s body on MONDAY, 3/25/13, T.A.H. will cease publishing new material!  

(Editor's note on 3/26/13: Old hip is out, new hip is in, the only remaining question is what will happen to Blaze's "sissy fade.")

As Douglas Adams so eloquently said in A Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” 

It was fun while it lasted, thanks for reading! -- GP, editor/publisher T.A.H.

P.S. Dear Mr. Snyder: I meant everything I said in all those Dear Mr. Snyder posts. Please don’t let Mike Shenanigan-han kill RG3 and try not to let RG3 kill RG3. C’mon, step up, take control of some of the important stuff. Look how well it’s worked out for Jerry Jones!

Just kidding.

Sort of...

PPS: Thanks to the Associated Press, ESPN (especially the ACC football blog), the Raleigh News & Observer (with props to their many excellent photographers), Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports and so many other media outlets that made T.A.H. readable.

*Item in italics may not be true.  

THIS WAS AN EARLY "DINGBAT" AND STILL A FAVORITE

Monday, March 25, 2013

ACC To Invite Florida Gulf Coast To Join League

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Sources close (geographically) to ACC headquarters swear on a stack of sweat socks that the league is seriously considering inviting Florida Gulf Coast to join the ACC.

“They are the only undefeated team in the history of the NCAA tournament,” said an ACC staffer who did not want to be identified.  The Eagles are making their first trip to the Big Dance and they are 2-0, thus of all the teams that have participated over the years in the NCAA tournament, Florida Gulf Coast is the only one that has never lost a tournament game.

Oh, and they are the first 15 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Add to that thier head coach Andy Enfield sold a major share of the company he co-founded that was valued at $100 million, is married to an ex-Super Model and is the leading NCAA free throw shooter of all time (Johns Hopkins).

“As the ACC looks at expansion,” a source close to ACC Commissioner John Swofford’s neighbor two doors down’s dog walker said, “Either the A(ME)C(M)C or the AC(NMCSV)C* could use a team that has an unblemished dance card.”

FGC has managed to achieve a milestone that none of the iconic basketball powers has achieved.  All the big boys including North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Indiana and Kentucky have all lost multiple NCAA tournament games.

ENFIELD (USA Today)
“I should have quit while I was ahead,” mused Ol’ Roy whose second Kansas Jayhawk team defeated Robert Morris in William’s NCAA debut in 1990.

Williams was then quick to point out that his nemesis Mike Krzdhvb4ski lost his first NCAA tournament game to Eastern Michigan in 1996.

Walking away Williams might have been over heard saying, “Easter Michigan? Really?”

“It’s a unique honor,” a source close to the Gulf coast of Florida told T.A.H. “But, the Eagles do have another game coming up later this week, so the ACCMCSVC or whatever they are calling it now, needs to move along.”

*Atlantic (Mountain East) Coast (Midwest) Conference  or the Atlantic Coast (Northeast, Midwest, Central PA, Shenandoah Valley) Conference.

*Items in italics may not be true.

This Nice Man’s Name Is Actually Kryzewski

(Elsa/Getty Images)

In spite of what you may have seen here over the past 8 years, Duke’s Hall of Fame head coach’s name is not spelled Kryzrhgv7ski or Kryzxcsw2ski or Kryzmklo9ski or Kryzqwdf5ski or Kryzytghb3ski nor does it have a number in it like Krzyfvmls4ski.

Or so we are told.

Pictures Of The Last Day

Yes we did! We really did care about soccer...OK, no we didn’t. But, we do appreciate the passion for futbol the reigns king all over the world. Here, Yousef Mansour E Alsalem of Saudi Arabia celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2015 AFC Asia Cup Qualifying match between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on March 23, 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Syamsul Bahri Muhammad/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Can’t pull the plug without a review of some of the knowledge gained from TAH...Horse racing isn’t what it once was in the U.S. (sort of like boxing), but the Breeders Cup and Triple Crown are still a big deal. That said, the sport is thriving in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Here, Jockeys approach the straight in the Sky High Mt Dandenong Handicap during Melbourne racing at Caulfield Racecourse on March 23, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images AsiaPac)
And some of you discovered F1 as a result of TAH. Charlie Kimball, drives the #83 NovoLog FlexPen Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda during practice for the the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 24, 2013 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)
Same with cricket...can’t leave without a parting shot. AB de Villiers and Farhaan Behardien of South Africa celebrate the wicket of Younis Khan of Pakistan during the 5th Momentum ODI match between South Africa and Pakistan from Willowmoore Park on March 24, 2013 in Benoni, South Africa. (Gallo Images/Getty Images Europe)

One last picture of our favorite “crazy people.” Here, Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and Ducati Marlboro Team rounds the bend during the MotoGP Tests In Jerez - Day 3 at Circuito de Jerez on March 24, 2013 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. (Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Europe)
Members of the band for the North Carolina Tar Heels perform against the Kansas Jayhawks during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 24, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Tyler Thornton #3 of the Duke Blue Devils makes a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer against the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Quinn Cook #2 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts in the first half while taking on the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 24, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks dunks in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 24, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Gimme that...Miami's victory put three schools from Florida in the Sweet 16 for the first time in tournament history. And two from the ACC for something like the one millionenth time. (Greg Nelson/SI)

Duke, Miami Move On To Sweet 16, Heels Headed Home

(Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated)

Duke and Miami are headed to the Sweet 16 while horrific shooting sends North Carolina back to Chapel Hill.

MIAMI 63, Illinois 59 - Shane Larkin hit a go-ahead three-pointer with a minute left and Miami gained possession on a ball knocked out of bounds that probably should have gone to Illinois, helping the Hurricanes hold on for a 63-59 victory Sunday night to advance to the NCAA round of 16.

After Larkin's first field goal in about 9 1/2 minutes, D.J. Richardson missed a three-pointer. In the fight for the rebound, the ball appeared to ricochet off the hands of Miami's Kenny Kadji out of bounds. But the Hurricanes kept the ball, and Durand Scott made two free throws after that.

Miami (29-6) is in the round of 16 for only the second time in school history. The Hurricanes play Marquette (25-8) in Washington D.C. on Thursday night.

Larkin, the only non-senior starter for Miami and the ACC player of the year, finished with 17 points. Rion Brown had 21 with five 3s. 

More here

(Elsa/Getty Images)
DUKE 66, Creighton 50  - Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, Seth Curry scored had 17 and No. 2 seed Duke held off seventh-seeded Creighton 66-50 on Sunday to advance to the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.

A year after they lost their NCAA tournament opener, the Blue Devils (29-5) are back in the regional semifinal for the 23rd time. They'll play No. 3 seed Michigan State (27-8) in the regional semifinal Friday in Indianapolis.

Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Ryan Kelly battled foul trouble all game long that could have doomeed the Blue Devils. Creighton (28-8) went cold and never made a serious run in the second half. Doug McDermott scored 21 points but made only four baskets. 

More here.  

(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Kansas 70, NORTH CAROLINA 58 - The Tar Heels scored 30 points on 26% shooting in the first half and 28 points on 35.5% shooting in the second half including going 6 for 21 from behind the arc.

Game over. 

Kansas is the best defensive team in the country in terms of field goal percentage holding their opponents to 36% for the season.  The Heels shot 30.1% for the game and had no answer for 7’ Jeff Withey. It was UNC’s second lowest point total of the season.

Behind the impassioned play of Travis Releford and Withey, the top-seeded Jayhawks shook themselves out of a first-half slumber to dispatch the poor-shooting Tar Heels with minimal drama.

Withey had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Releford finished with 22 points for the Jayhawks (31-5), who also knocked former coach Roy Williams' team out of the NCAA tournament during their 2008 title run and again last season, when Kansas marched all the way to the Final Four.

The Tar Heels (25-11) harassed the Jayhawks into a dozen turnovers and one of its worst shooting performances of the season in taking a 30-21 lead at the break. But they buckled in the second half as Kansas, playing just 40 miles from its campus in Lawrence, turned up the pressure.

More here.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bracket Busters

 (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Wichita State's Cleanthony Early (11) celebrates after his team defeated Gonzaga 76-70 during a third-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 23, 2013.

Can UNC knock off Kansas?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Big Dance: Three ACC Teams Advance, One Disappoints (Again)

(Elsa/Getty Images)
DUKE 73, Albany 61 - Duke had been hearing about Lehigh for a year.

The second-seeded Blue Devils used the perimeter shooting of Seth Curry and the inside dominance of Mason Plumlee to put last season's NCAA tournament upset to rest, beating Albany on Friday in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

It was in the same round - and with the same seeding - that Duke was shocked by Lehigh last March.
"Doesn't really matter to us what people are talking about,'' Plumlee said. "We're very confident. I thought it was a good win today, and we're just focused on us.''

To read more, click here.  

MIAMI 78, Pacific 49 - Shane Larkin is sharing a special season with all those Miami seniors.
Larkin, the sophomore who is the only non-senior starter for the Hurricanes and the ACC player of the year, had 10 points and matched his career high with nine assists as No. 2 seed Miami beat Pacific in the East Regional on Friday.

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Playing their first NCAA tourney game in five years, the Hurricanes (28-6) took control with a 14-0 run midway through the first half. They went on to their most-lopsided victory ever in the tournament.

Durand Scott had 21 points with five 3-pointers for the Hurricanes, who already have four wins more than they ever had before. Reggie Johnson had seven points and 10 rebounds.

To read more, click here.

NORTH CAROLINA 78, Villanova 71 - The NCAA wanted a Kansas v. Ol’ Roy rematch, and they got it. We’re sure Tar Heel Nation is delighted that the game Sunday will be played in the Jayhawks back yard.

P.J. Hairston scored 23 points, James Michael McAdoo added 17 and North Carolina unleashed a flurry of 3-pointers to subdue gritty Villanova  in the NCAA tournament Friday night, giving coach Roy Williams his 700th career victory.

The never-say-die Wildcats (20-14) erased a 20-point deficit that North Carolina built in the first half and then nearly climbed out of a nine-point hole in the final minutes after the Tar Heels hit three consecutive 3s and once again appeared to take control.

The victory set up a possible dream matchup in the third round for Kansas fans, who have been jamming the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, about 30 minutes from the Jayhawks' campus. The eighth-seeded Tar Heels (25-10) take on the winner between Western Kentucky and No. 1 seed Kansas, where Williams coached for 15 years and rang up more than 400 wins.

(Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Picking on a season-long weakness for the ninth-seeded Wildcats, North Carolina shot 11 of 21 from 3-point range while getting outrebounded 37-28.

To read more, click here.  Jamie Squire

Temple 76, N.C. STATE 72 - The season of underachieving ended when the Wolfpack lost to  Temple.  Juniors Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie combined to scored 42 of NC State's 72 points, and senior Richard Howell recorded his 18th double-double of the year, but the Pack's lack luster season that stared with great expectations concluded with a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Brown finished the day with 22 points and nine assists, while Leslie had 20 points and five rebounds. Howell had a solid performance with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

NC State (24-11), the No. 8 seed, trailed most of the game, but senior Scott Wood began a Wolfpack rally when he hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut the Temple lead to 63-60 with 3:10 left in the game.

The Pack's rally was held off as Temple hit its free throws down the stretch.

To read more, click here.  

Ol’ Roy: Win # 700

(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The win was Williams' 700th of his career.

Maryland Knocks Off Denver In Round 2 Of NIT

WELLS (Gail Burton/AP Photo)

Maryland used a small lineup to mount a big comeback in a 62-52 victory over Denver on Thursday night in the second round of the NIT.

Dez Wells scored 19 points for the Terrapins, who closed with a 23-4 run after trailing 48-39 with 9:15 left.

Wells fueled the surge with nine points. It was the sixth game in 12 days for the Terrapins (24-12), who won't play again until next week against either Alabama or Stanford.

Chris Udofia scored 24 for the Pioneers (22-10), including 19 during a first half that featured three ties and 12 lead changes. But he got his third foul with 17:55 left and fourth with 8:37 to go.

Seeking its 12th win in 13 games, Denver appeared poised for an upset as the second half wore on. It was 33-all before Marcus Byrd drilled a 3-pointer to spark a 15-6 spree that included a three-point play and a 3-pointer by Brett Olsen.

And then Maryland began its comeback with 7-foot-1 Alex Len and 6-8 James Padgett on the bench.

Pictures Of The Day

If you play a World Cup qualifier in Colorado in March, it might snow. It did. A lot. The U.S. beat Costa Rica 1-0. (Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)
Christophe Varidel #5 (R) and Chase Fieler #20 of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles celebrate their 78-68 win as Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Georgetown Hoyas walks off of the court dejected during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 22, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Elsa/Getty Images)
 
Albany Great Danes fans cheer on their team in the first half while taking on the Duke Blue Devils during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 22, 2013 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Friday, March 22, 2013

It' Aint Braggin' If It's True: TAH 14-2 On Thursday

WHAT?!?!? (Harry How/Getty Images)
T.A.H. filled out two official brackets for the 2013 Big Dance.  GP1 picked according to the Vegas line and finished the day 13-3.  GP2 followed the great wisdom that is T.A.H. and went 14-2.

The two losses?  Missouri which we picked out of loyalty to the ACC figuring former Miami coach Frank Haith had caught enough flak for a while.  In retrospect, that was dumb knowing that the Tigers upchucked in last year's tournament when they went out early to Norfolk State.

The other loss?  Harvard over New Mexico.

Don't even try to tell us you saw that coming.

Props to former Dookie Tommy Amaker who outcoached his contemporary, Steve Alford, exacting revenge of sorts for the time Alford's Indiana team beat Amaker and Duke back in the 1987 regional semifinals.

The President went to Harvard, and he didn't pick them.  Hell, Phil's mom didn't pick the Crimson, so don't start.

The third loss in GP1 was Vegas' pick of Pittsburgh over the Shockers. We reversed their call in GP2.

That said, one year not too long ago T.A.H. went 16-0 on the first day of the Dance only to finish far up the track.

Have a great day, and good luck!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The T.A.H. Brackets

CLICK ON THE BRACKET FOR A CLEARER VIEW
Bracket #1 was done using Las Vegas odds for each of the Round of 32 games. The boys in Vegas picked a few upsets – Creighton, Colorado and Minnesota.  Then we went ahead and picked who we thought might win as opposed to our usual tendency to pick against the teams we don’t like.

For total points we averaged the total for the past 11 (no reason, random choice) Finals.

CLICK ON THE BRACKET FOR A CLEARER VIEW
Bracket #2 was simply our best SWAG – scientific, wild ass guess.

We took Louisville in both, but we really WANT Miami to win, just couldn't put our money where our mouths are...

Good luck and may YOUR team win....

...unless YOUR team is Duke, Wisconsin, Georgetown, Florida, Kansas...you get the point.

ACC Wannabe JMU Crushes LIU, Poised For First Ever 16 Seed Over 1 Seed Upset

DAVIS (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
By G. Petty, (with an assist from the AP), soon-to-be retired Editor/Publisher T.A.H. (JMU '79)

All hail JMU, all hail JMU Nation.

JMU Nation celebrated last night when the beloved Dukes, absent from the big Dance since 1994, crafted a brilliant 68 to 55 win over tough, crafty, underrated and no doubt future national champion Long Island University Brooklyn in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  

(No pushovers, the Blackbirds are two-time men's basketball national champions based on winning the  National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 1939 and 1941. The 1935-36 team went 25‑0 and was the overwhelming favorite to represent the United States at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, with basketball a medal sport for the first time. However, the Blackbirds decided as a team to boycott the Games as a protest of Nazi Germany and its anti-Jewish policies. 

That said, on the downside, in 1951,  some Blackbirds went all Black Sox and were involved in the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal that resulted in five players receiving a suspended sentence and one player visiting the big house. The school suspended its athletic program from 1951 to 1957 due to the scandal.)

The Dukes’ faithful were a little worried when a bird - literally a black bird - appeared and flew around the arena. Alas, it was not a tell-tale omen of doom, just the LIU mascot who escaped his cage wearing his version of a technicolor dream coat. 

(The bird’s keeper, a sophomore team manager from Flatbush Avenue B, will not be suspended for the first half of LIU’s opener next season, but he will not be allowed a bagel until a month that ends in “y” according to sources close to the bird and retired FSU coach Bobby Bowden who now servers as the “Suspension Consultant” for the NCAA.)

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Duke’s A.J. Davis, who stepped in as a starter after JMU’s leading scorer was suspended for the first half, led the way with 20 points.  Said leading scorer, Rayshawn Goins, drew a short suspension for over consumption and failure to treat his elders with the proper respect.  (Critics of the program will say he was drunk and disorderly yelling obscenities at the local constables (allegedly), but they would be wrong, or so one hopes.)

Immediately after this stunning victory, the Dukes thoughts turned to top-seeded Indiana (27-6), who they'll play on the same University of Dayton Arena court on Friday night.

"They're Indiana," defiant defensive stalwart Andre Nation (5 blocks) said. "We know about them. We see them on the TV all the time. It's not nothing new."

He's not the only Duke who was undaunted.

"We have some older guys. They're typically pretty unafraid of any of the challenges we face," coach Matt Brady said.

The Dukes started fast and built a large first half lead, but the Blackbirds (20-14) battled back.  LIU took a brief lead early in the second stanza, tbut he Dukes surged again to win going away closing the game on a 10-2 run.

Davis opened the game with an emphatic three-pointer as if to say this was his time. And he didn't let up.

Charles Cooke, who hadn't scored in three of his last four games, added 15 points and Nation added 14 for the Dukes, who were winless in the NCAA tournament since 1983 and hadn't played in the big dance in 19 years.

Jamal Olasewere had 20 points and 10 rebounds and C.J. Garner 16 points for the Blackbirds, who have lost in their first game in each of their six trips to the tournament, including the last three years.

After falling behind by as many as 12 points early, E.J. Reed's two foul shots with 15:02 left gave the Blackbirds their first lead of the game. But after falling behind, JMU found another gear.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Devon Moore, who had six assists, scored in transition right through the heart of the lane, Nation hit a follow and Davis took a long pass and popped in the shot off glass for a 45-40 advantage.
  
Now, the Dukes have are poised for the first ever 16 over 1 upset and a return to NCAA glory.

Once upon a time, Lou Campanelli coached the Dukes to mammoth NCAA upsets over Georgetown in 1981, Ohio State in 1982 and West Virginia in 1983. The 1982 team lost to eventual national champion North Carolina -- led by Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins -- 52-50 in the final minute.

But James Madison's last appearance came with Lefty Driesell prowling the sideline in 1994.

As recently as 2007, officials at the Harrisonburg, VA university were advocating inclusion in the Atlantic Coast (Northeast, Midwest, Central PA, Shenandoah Valley) Conference (see below).

Brady figured his Dukes have one huge advantage over Indiana since they've already played on the court. And they're already in Dayton.

"I'm hoping they haven't arrived in town just yet and they get here right before the game starts," he said with a laugh.

In the words of Craig “Mr.” Anderson an esteemed alum from sometime in the 1980’s, “Fear the bulldog with a chain around his neck.”

Nice, DUKES w/bling, NICE!

2007 & 2010: JMU Seeks Inclusion In Ever-Expanding ACC

(Editor's note: We thought today was a good day to republish this story which originally ran in 2007 and again in 2010.)

According to sources close to TAH, James Madison University, home of the Dukes, has petitioned the Atlantic Coast Conference for admission into the venerable sports conference. JMU’s slogans supporting the cause are “Two Dukes Are Better Than One” and “If You Love That Duke, You’re Gonna Really Love These Dukes (And You Don’t Have To Suck Up to Us)!”

According to JMU President Dr. Linwood Rose, “Our history is completely intertwined with all the ACC schools. We were founded in 1908, which makes us 17 years older than Miami and a mere 119 years younger than UNC. We would be the second newest school in the conference, practically modern since all the others were founded in 1800s by people long since dead and now culturally insignificant.”

According to JMU President Emeritus, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, “The similarities between Madison and the other ACC schools are quite compelling. We have 16,900 students which makes us the same size as Georgia Tech, half as big as Maryland and two and one-half times bigger than the other Duke. Oh, by the way, I never really trusted that Petty kid or Anderson, Reeves, Keyser or Chipman now that I think of it.”

According to Athletics Director Jeffrey Bourne, “Let’s be frank. We promise to be a doormat. Those other schools you brought in they’re messing with you. Look at Virginia Tech – they kick your ass in football and now they have the audacity to have a good hoop squad as well. We would never do that…Hell, we couldn’t do that. Our basketball team is currently 7-21 overall and 4-13 in conference. You want bad losses? We’ve lost to Towson, Northeastern, Drexel, UNC – Wilmington, Eastern Kentucky, Mt. St. Mary’s and perennial powerhouse Texas Pan Am. Oh, I almost forgot Sienna. They kicked our butts. We’ve got an RPI of 473.”

According to Associate Athletics Director for Sports Programs Kevin Whit, “Our stadium is small, much smaller than Wallace Wade Stadium and our basketball house is really non-descript and only seats 7,612. I think it’s 7,613, but we can argue about that later. The $130 million John Paul Jones arena could, as Dudley Moore said in that Arthur movie, kick the s&%# out of us in an arena war! We just can’t compete. Also, we don’t have any traditions or rivalries, and our kids, the “Convocation Center Lazies,” can’t/don’t/won’t come up with clever cheers at games. They just simply don’t have it in them.”

According to Assistant Athletics Director for Development Nick Langridge, ”JMU and ACC teams that have won National Championships in basketball are practically attached at the hip. When Carolina won in 1982, the Dukes beat Ohio State in the first round only to fall 52-50 to the eventual Champs -- the Tar Heels. The next year, we whipped the Mountaineers only to lose in the next round to eventual National Champion N.C. State. I mean, we are literally a good luck charm for the ACC. In 2005, when the Heels won again, we lost in the first round of CAA tourney and were at home where we belonged watching it all on television, but we pulled for the ACC.”

According to Associate Athletics Director for Development and Marketing: Geoff Polglase, “The coach of our only good NCAA basketball teams was a fellow named Lou Campanelli, and, let me tell you, Coach Lou could cuss with the best of them. Coack K -- wait at the bar! After he left here and went out to California where basketball coaches are wimps, Campanelli got in trouble for ‘verbally assaulting his players’ – another tradition at that other Duke, if you know what I mean.”

According to Associate Athletics Director for Student Athlete Services: Casey Carter, “Just like that other Duke, our school mascot is named after a man named Duke – Samuel P. Duke who was the prez from 1919 to 1949. He became president when our first top dog, a guy named Burrus, left Harrisonburg to go to some school called Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPISU?). They tell me it’s in Southwest Virginia somewhere, but I’ve never heard of it. Somebody in the Sports Information Department told me they changed their name, but I never got the memo. Rumor has it that their mascot is a turkey, which, quite frankly, is ‘effed up.’ Well at least our Duke guy didn’t make cigarettes and kill millions of people like that other Duke family did.”

According to Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing & Promotions: Brad Edmondson, “We have some very famous alums which is important in this day and age. Look at all the famous people who have graduated from JMU including G. Petty (Editor, TAH), C. Anderson (Insane Cubs/Bear Fan), M. Reeves (MENSA, 3 VP Kup Wins), B. Chipman (Real Estate Mogul, future President Reevesman Country Club, 4 VP Kup Wins), J. Keyser (Financial Mogul, Horseplayer Par Exellence) and Dr. Marcia Angell (Editor, New England Journal of Medicine) -- who can say no to a one-six punch like that? And how about Steve Buckhantz (Sports announcer Wizards, etc.), Gary Clark (Two Super Bowls), Tony Schiavone (Professional wrestling commentator), Charles Haley (Five Super Bowls), Scott Norwood (Super Bowl "wide right"), and Elliot Sadler – OK, he didn’t graduate -- but we’re talking NASCAR here…Duke, Boston College, Miami, UVA -- got any NASCAR drivers? Huh? HUH? Didn’t think so. So c’mon let us in…Pretty please. We promise we will SUCK. That New England Journal of Medicine lady? We will put a sock in her pie hole and shut her up pronto so our intellectuals like Reeves don’t show up any of your intellectuals! C’mon, let us in!”

Finally, according to JMU Head Football Coach Mickey Matthews, “We will kick Duke’s ass. We may lie down for everybody else, but Duke is going down. There is no hate like Dukes-on-Duke hate. No rivalry like Dukes-on-Duke brand new semi-rivalry. No crack-back block like a Dukes-on-Duke crack-back block. Hey, we won the Division 1-AA Championship in an actual playoff. To accomplish that, my mighty Dukes had to defeat Lock Haven, Villanova, Hofstra, Massachusetts, Maine, Richmond, VMI, Delaware, Towson, Lehigh, Furman, William & Mary and Montana…Hey, the Blue Hens, The Tribe! They’re powerhouses! We beat Maine for heaven’s sake. Let us in. Besides, you need at least one team in the league with purple in its uniform that’s worth half-a-crap.

Look, you let Virginia Tech in which made sense. You let Boston College in for who knows what reason. You let Criminal U. at Coconut Grove in for football, nice winter weather and just plain old good entertainment value, so why not us? Please.

PUH-LEEEEZ.

When reached for a comment on JMU’s petition to enter the league, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, “Gusentiet.”

Picture Of The Day


CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC FOR A BETTER VIEW
President Obama’s 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket. (ESPN)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pop Culture: Tiger And Lindsey Sitting In A Tree (Privately)

Tuesday Night ACC N.I.T. Basketball

FAUST (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
MARYLAND 86, Niagara 70 - Nick Faust had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Maryland used a strong second half to defeat Niagara in the opening round of the NIT.

Tied at halftime, the Terrapins (23-12) used a 21-2 run to take a 56-38 lead before coasting to the finish. Second-seed Maryland next hosts the winner of the Ohio-Denver game, held late Tuesday.

The Terrapins would have preferred their first postseason appearance since 2010 be in the NCAA tournament, but that doesn't mean they're not motivated to win the NIT.

"Our approach has been great. If we didn't show up tonight we would have lost," coach Mark Turgeon said. "Our play in the second half shows you that we're pretty determined to get better and move on." 

To read more, click here. 

 Louisiana Tech 71, FLORIDA STATE - The FSU The men's basketball team's 2012-13 season came to an end Tuesday night with a loss to Louisiana Tech at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Playing in what turned out to be the final game of his unforgettable FSU career, Michael Snaer scored a team-high 24 points for Seminoles (18-16).

But Snaer's offensive heroics -- the California native made five of his 10 3-point attempts while playing 40 minutes -- weren't enough to overcome the 'Noles' inability to protect the basketball and halt the Bulldogs (27-6) in the second half.

Florida State committed 18 turnovers on its home floor and Lousiana Tech scored 24 points off those miscues. The Bulldogs also used a 11-0 run early in the second half to bounce back from a 28-24 halftime deficit and shot 65.5 percent in the final 20 minutes.

To read more, click here

No, that’s not a mistake, that is the link to the Florida State football webpage. It is what it is. Time to move on.

HARRIS (C) (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
VIRGINIA 67, Norfolk State 56 - Justin Anderson scored 15 points, including four key free throws in the final minutes, and Virginia overcame a sloppy offensive performance to beat Norfolk State.
Akil Mitchell also had 15 for the Cavaliers (22-11), who won despite missing 15 free throws and 18 turnovers.

Rob Johnson scored 19 and Pendarvis Williams had 14 for the Spartans (21-12), who lost their second straight. Norfolk State had gone unbeaten in 16 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games before losing is first MEAC tournament game.

The Spartans managed only five points in the last 11 1/2 minutes of the first half and trailed 26-16 at the break.

They closed to within 47-44 with 5:41 left before two free throws by Evan Nolte, four free throws and a jumper by Anderson and then a 15-foot jumper by Anderson gave them some breathing room at 55-47. 

To read more, click here.  

Pictures Of The Day - Let Their Be Madness


Neiko Hunter #1 of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders drives for a shot attempt against Beau Levesque #15 of the St. Mary's Gaels in the first half during the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at University of Dayton Arena on March 19, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio.  St. Mary’s won the game. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
John Caleb Sanders #33 of the Liberty Flames misses the last shot attempt of the game against Austin Witter #31 of the North Carolina A&T Aggies during the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at University of Dayton Arena on March 19, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio. North Carolina A&T Aggies won 73-72. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)

Blog Archive