HANSBROUGH UPDATE: First of all here’s the TAH take: Henderson, frustrated by a frustrating game at the end of a frustrating season, intended a hard foul. Here at TAH, we don’t think he “intended” to hit him in the face. The fact that he is turning away and his eyes are closed at impact seem to support this position. The fact that his muscles are tense enough for bullets to bounce off would indicate he was gonna fly in there pretty hard. Yes, during the game, we were influenced by Billy Packer, and we now find his comments ridiculous. Yes, we think the refs handled it well and the suspension is fair. We’ve played lots of basketball and trying hit a guys nose with your elbow is a longshot at best. Simply put – hard foul leading with forearm, things went badly awry, intentional foul. Game over.
The conspiracy folks want to say Coach Krzchvkbhsh5ski had a hand in this. We don’t believe K’s program promotes dirty play or hard fouls. We believe Coach K’s program teaches kids to push off every time they try to dribble past an opponent and to fake the charge (the flop) whenever possible (but, if you read TAH, you already knew that). We also are convinced that the program takes high school All-Americans and molds them into players who can a) win the ACC tourney (no small feat), b) make a pretty good run (sometimes all the way to the Championship) in the NCAA tourney (no small feat) and c) who, with a few exceptions, flame out and play like crap in the NBA. That’s what the program does and good for it. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a rivalry. Is there a Clemson/UNC rivalry? No, cause Clemson hardly ever beats the Heels. At home, make that never. Get the point?
Duke kids aren’t taught to play dirty. When you are that good for that long, you simply have no reason to go down that road. So, let the conspiracy stuff go. Watch the other rivalry games, emotions are high and there is plenty of banging a slapping. That’s why it’s fun. Sometimes they spill over and that doesn’t require any input from the coaches beyond the usual mind games and yelling and screaming they already doll out to their players. These kids are hard-wired by years of competition and the history of the rivalry to react that way in what is, in reality, a very intense environment. And that's why we're watching. Intensity. If the players went out there and patted each other on the butt, smiled and made nice and then went through the motions of high level basketball – presto chango – it’s an NBA game! Thank you, no.
RELATED ITEMS: The Dukies say Hansbrough shouldn’t have been in the game or gone up for the shot. They are wrong on both counts. McRoberts had been in the game only 3.5 seconds earlier and he only left because he fouled out. Paulus too was around near the end and left only after his 5th foul. Williams was trying to get seniors in and out so they could be acknowledged by the crowd. Hansbrough’s replacement was at the scorer’s table. In case you didn’t know it these coach’s have a “I’m leaving my starters on the floor until you pull yours” mentality. In a perfect world, K and Roy would meet at half court and agree to pull their starters at garbage time, but that wouldn’t make for much of a blood producing red hot rivalry – the best in college basketball – now would it?
Should Hansbrough have followed up his miss and attempted to score with a double digit lead in the waning moments? That one’s a bit more complicated, but to complaining Dukies, we say yes. Of course, he could have tossed it out to Biscuit Burke, but that ain’t how the boy is programmed. What makes him good is his desire and his fundamentals. My guess is it’s hard to hit that on/off switch in the heat of battle no matter score or time remaining. Don’t forget Coach Krzyscjvhgfn2ski was still calling time outs after each made Duke basket which helped create an illusion that the game is still within reach.
OTHER ITEMS: Hansbrough suffered what coach Roy Williams said Monday was a small nondisplaced fracture. Williams said Hansbrough is being fitted with a custom-made protective mask and should be ready for North Carolina's first tournament game Friday. However, according to UNC, a final decision on whether or not Hansbrough wears a mask has not been determined. Originally, Williams told the media the now quite famous snoz was not broken, but he later had to retract that. "I gave some bad information because I had a bad source ... the source was Tyler," Immediately after the game, Hansbrough told the coach it wasn’t broken and he was OK. Anybody surprised by that?
Of interest, here is how Duke Sports Information breakdown at GoDuke.com recaps the final moments of the game. There is no mention of the foul on Hansbrough or even that Henderson was ejected. Instead, the whole affair is glazed over it with this: “The two teams played evenly the rest of the way as the Blue Devils played hard to the final buzzer.” Hmmm. For example, according to Criminal U: “Miami played Florida International last night and the Hurricanes won. Nothing else of interest transpired.” Unbelievable.
Finally, this from our favorite UNC student – M.C.A. Tarheel (Class of ’10), she came across T-Hans on campus yesterday and according to her dad, MCA “told him how good a game he had and that she was sorry about what happened to him at the end of the game. He said he is over it now especially since we kicked their ass.” Oh, in case you weren’t sure her dad is a UNC grad as well.
All done with this now as we have to go poke fun at the Wahoos and the Hokies. Is it Thursday yet? – The Editor
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
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