Monday, March 12, 2007


With less than a minute to play and behind by double digits, the University of New Jersey at Durham head basketball coach Mike Krzxyskdhvb3ski was preparing to implement a diabolical plan he had been hatching since his teams first loss to the hated Tar Heels back in February. Knowing the game, the season and the ACC Tournament were pretty much lost, Coach K began to focus on one important statistic (in his mind) – Total ACC Tournament Championships: Duke 16, UNC 15.

With that in mind, Coach K started the plan in motion with the sole motivation of preventing Roy Williams and his choir boy North Carolina Tar Heels from winning the ACC Tournament. During the now infamous time out, Coach K ordered Gerald Henderson to commit a hard foul on Tyler Hansbrough and to aim directly at his nose. K knew that a nose injury would cause the Heels leading scorer to wear the dreaded plastic mask that only NBA star Rip Hamilton seems to have mastered. The handicap, figured His K-ship, would be enough to keep his hated rival from evening up the tournament titles score.

It almost worked.

Hansbrough struggled in his first game with the mask in the opening round of the tournament against Florida State. The talented sophomore followed up that 3-7 shooting, 6 points, 4 rebounds effort with a 4-10, 9 points, 15 rebounds effort against Boston College. Hansbrough, who averages 18.8 points and 8 rebounds per game, finished off the tournament with a 2-6 shooting performance against the Wolfpack in the Championship game.

What Krzmchgydrsl8ski forgot was the simple fact that “the kid,” as Krzuxcnvbg6ski referred to Hansbrough after the nose incident, had spend thousands of hours practicing free throws. That effort paid off as Hansbrough sunk 11 of 11 from the charity stripe as part of a 95.8% free throw shooting effort (23-24) which propelled the Heels over Sidney Lowe’s Wolfpack 89-80 in the ACC Championship game. The victory gave UNC their first tourney title since 1998 and kept the "streak of sevens" alive. The Tar Heels also won the tournament in 1957, '67,’ 77, and 1997.

The Heels shot 57.7% from the field and 60% from behind the three point line and at times it looked like they would run away from the leg-weary, four-games-in-four-days Wolfpack. But mid-way through the second half, the boys from Raleigh found their 19th wind and scored every possession from the 8:24 mark until there was 2:20 left in the game. From there it was a free throw shooting contest, and UNC won. (Take note Virginia Tech and Clemson).

Local product Ty "Me A River" Lawson, from Clinton, MD via Virginia's Oak Hill Academy, gets much of the credit for delivering the victory. Roy Williams' "Run, Run, Run and Run Some More" offense needs a good quarterback, and recently the light bulb went off for young Lawson who plays the point guard position with such speed it's easy to miss his moves.

Rumor has it that Coach K was bitterly disappointed, telling the Duke Chronicle, “I had nothing to do with the kid’s injury, but if I did, and I didn’t, but if I did…and, of course, I didn’t, it almost worked.”

For further enjoyment re: Coach K, check out The Monday Krzyzewski Column at

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