Thursday, June 19, 2008

SEMINOLES CAN RUN…

…but they can’t throw.

Appropriately enough, Walter Dix left Florida State a winner...which means he's not a football player.

Dix won his third consecutive 200-meter title and led the Seminoles to their third straight men's team crown Saturday at the NCAA track and field championships.

The final day of the meet was held under partly cloudy skies in front of a crowd of 11,410 at Drake Stadium, where 19 stadium records fell in the four days of competition. The stadium, site of the Drake Relays, last was site of the NCAA championships in 1970.

Dix, in his final race as a collegian, built a big lead coming off the turn, then held off 100 champion Richard Thompson of LSU to win in 20.40 seconds. Thompson was second at 20.44.

"It's time to move on," said Dix, who got his degree in social science in April. "It was fun, but I'm excited to move on to the pro level."

(Photo by Bill Feig/AP Photo)

DOWN GO CANES IN CWS

Miami had its chances to stay alive in the College World Series.

The top-seeded Hurricanes’ high-powered offense just couldn’t take advantage when it counted most, stranding a dozen runners and failing to hit a long ball in an 8-3 elimination game loss to Stanford on Wednesday night.

“They outplayed us tonight,” Miami coach Jim Morris said. “They outplayed us, I guess, in every phase of the game: in pitching, defense and hitting.”

The final two innings told the story. The Hurricanes had the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth, but scored only one. In the ninth, there were runners on second and third with no outs, and this time, no one scored.

“We left too many guys on base,” Morris said. “We had some opportunities.”

Miami opened with single, bunt, two successful steals on Stanford star catcher Jason Castro, and an RBI sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead after one inning.

But the Hurricanes’ fortunes started to dim in sync with the Omaha skyline, and trying to match Stanford’s long-ball game proved futile.

The Cardinal, with one loss in the tournament and playing Georgia on Friday, scored two runs on a homer and two on a double. Cord Phelps was 3-for-5 with a single, double and triple.

Miami catcher Ben Vazquez sits in the dugout after Miami lost to Stanford 8-3 in an NCAA College World Series elimination baseball game in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

PROFESSOR HEWITT SPEAKS OUT

ESPN -- Georgia Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt turned a tedious discussion of numbers into something lively.

Amid questions and answers about grade-point averages, graduation rates, surveys and APRs on Tuesday morning during a routine Knight Commission meeting, Hewitt turned on his microphone and chided the reform-minded panel for making "incomplete conclusions" and taking "a fly-over view of the supposed carnage that is college basketball."

"While I like to see everyone who reaches college earn a degree," Hewitt said, "we need to find more effective ways to achieve our goals."

Hewitt spoke during a discussion meant to highlight the progress of the NCAA's new rating system that penalizes teams for failing to meet academic standards. The latest APR -- or Academic Progress Report -- led to 218 teams from 123 schools receiving some sort of penalty when it was released last month. APR scores have been on the rise since the standard was introduced four years ago, heartening news for the independent Knight Commission, which has been pushing for academic reform in athletics for nearly 20 years.

Hewitt doesn't mind the APR per se, but he sees it as only part of the solution.

"I do have a problem with putting numbers out there, saying 'Meet these numbers or else," Hewitt said. "You're turning education into a race."

A race, he contended, that might be tempting coaches to deter athletes from taking more difficult courses that could lead to lower grades and loss of eligibility. He said that very topic was discussed among Atlantic Coast Conference coaches after the APR was first implemented.

"If a kid wants to major in engineering, I'm not going to tell him not to major in engineering -- but I'm going to counsel him before he takes that first class," said Hewitt, although he later added that he's yet to have such a conversation with any of his players.

FSU’s POSEY PLAYER OF THE YEAR

OMAHA, Neb. -- Florida State catcher Buster Posey was voted the winner of the Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball's player of the year.

The Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year came into the College World Series batting a nation-leading .460. He also leads the nation in home runs (26), RBIs (92), hits (114), runs (88), on-base percentage (.564) and total bases (220).

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior from Leesburg, Ga., is trying to join Indiana's Mike Smith (1992) as the only Division I players since 1965 to lead the country in batting average, homers and RBIs. Posey is also one of the top defensive catchers in the country, with just eight errors in 474 chances (.983).

The San Francisco Giants made Posey the fifth overall pick of last week's draft.

Posey played all nine positions against Savannah State on May 12 and has started at catcher, designated hitter and even at second base. He has also made eight appearances as a reliever, earning six saves. He's worked a total of 7 1/3 innings, giving up no runs and three hits.
Posey arrived at Florida State as a shortstop, starting there as a freshman, but moved to catcher last season.

A finance major, Posey is a straight-A student who was named CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year.

(AP Photo/Phil Coale)

DON’T LOOK NOW…

...but some dude at ESPN actually thinks Duke will be a #1 seed in the 2009 NCAA tournament…jeez.

We’re almost sure it’s June, right?

Check it out, he’s got the whole field seeded…

PICTURE OF THE DAY

HEY LOOK, A NICE DAY IN ENGLAND…It must be June. Rumor has it that the limyes enjoy a couple of those each summer.

Here, Danish player Caroline Wozniacki (Top player) plays against Australian player Samantha Stosur during the fourth day of the International Women's Open tennis tournament, Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, southern England, on June 19, 2008. Stosur won the match, 7-6, 6-4.


(Photo by Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

THE NETHERLANDS’ TWO NICE DAYS WILL BE IN JULY…The audience at the Ordina Open tennis tournament in Rosmalen waits under umbrellas at the covered centre court for the end of a shower before the next match can start, on June 19, 2008.

(Photo by Olaf Kraak/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

NICE DAY IN AUSTRIA...Spain's national football team take part in a training session on June 19, 2008 at Sportplatz Kampl in Neustift im Stubaital, near Innsbruck. Spain will face Italy in their Euro 2008 quarter-final match on June 22, 2008 in Vienna.

(Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY 4

NICE HATS…Must be Royal Ascot. Various women wearing elaborate hats Ascot racecourse during 'Ladies Day' at Royal Ascot, in southern England, on June 19, 2008.
Kentucky Derby, wait at the bar!





(Photos by Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images and Alastair Grant/AP Photo)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

MIAMI SENDS NOLES HOME

AP - Carlos Gutierrez got the job done this time.

Two days after the Miami closer’s two-run throwing error cost the Hurricanes a win in their College World Series opener, Gutierrez overcame another shaky ninth inning to seal a 7-5 victory over Florida State on Monday.

“I tell you, my heart can’t take many games like that right there,” Miami coach Jim Morris said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t feel safe with a five-run lead going into the ninth inning. They just hit the ball hard and kept battling back.”

Miami, the No. 1 national seed, plays Wednesday against Georgia. The Hurricanes (53-10) have not gone two-and-out in 20 CWS appearances since 1979. FSU (54-14) leaves Omaha after two games for the fourth time in 13 appearances under coach Mike Martin.

The Seminoles had 18 hits—four by national player of the year Buster Posey — but left 17 runners on base to set a CWS record for a nine-inning game.
Miami right fielder Dennis Raben attempts a leaping catch off a base hit ball by Florida State's Dennis Guinn in the third inning. (AP Photo/Ted Kirk)

Miami closing pitcher Carlos Gutierrez worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the ninth inning as the Hurricanes held off Florida State 7-5 in a Bracket 1 elimination game. (AP Photo/Eric Francis)

THE GENIUS OF OL’ ROY

Believe it or not, there are folks in Tar Heel Nation that doubt Roy Williams. This usually surfaces during conversations about “in game” coaching. You see, some of the loyalist don’t like how he manages a game – Roy is from the Phil Jackson school of Let ‘Em Play vs. Call A Time Out Every Time They Miss Two Shots In A Row.

That aside, how Roy manages the program is sheer magic. Case in point being the return of Ty Lawson who will, no doubt, be facing some punishment for his off court indiscretions.

Nobody was terribly surprised that Wayne Ellington and Danny Green will return to Chapel Hill for next season after removing their names from the NBA draft Monday. Lawson was another story.

However, the return of all three demonstrates the upside of Williams strategy to embrace the NBA draft and the pre-draft camp tryout process. By getting directly involved with the various NBA teams, Williams keeps each player's ear during a time when quality input from his basketball mentor was most important.

While various family members and potential agents are telling these kids how great they are, Ol’ Roy is saying “let’s talk to the NBA teams and find out what THEY THINK?’ It’s brilliant.

Here’s what he said about the return of Ellington, Lawson and Green:

"After a long and exhaustive process of gathering information and sharing it with these youngsters, I stepped back and asked them to make their own decisions. I'm very pleased with their decisions because I get to coach them for another year. I'm also pleased that they went through the process and gained valuable information. It was reassuring that the feedback they got from the NBA teams is the same type of feedback our coaching staff has been giving them.

"It was a lengthy process, but one that is fair for these youngsters. Everyone should have the right to be evaluated in terms of possibly reaching his dreams. I feel strongly that all of these young men will eventually be NBA players. The timing was just not exactly right at this point. They had my 100 percent support throughout the process, regardless of which decision they might have made."

Add to that the simple fact that UNC will now return its entire starting lineup and thus save Williams the pain of on-the-job training of three McDonalds All Americans now winging thier way toward Chapel Hill. Now Ol' Roy can cultivate freshmen Ed Davis (who will fill the defensive/rebounder role that Stepheson left), Tyler Zeller (a 7-foot guy who loves to run) and Larry Drew (a solid point guard that won't be required to do much but learn) at a sensible pace.

Brilliantly done.

YOU’RE BIG, THE PROGRAM’S BIGGER

Lest there be any doubt in those young minds that the basketball program at UNC supersedes that of any player, the official site of Tar Heel Athletics was in no hurry to tell the world that it’s three student athletes were returning to Chapel Hill.

Late yesterday afternoon as various news sources (Foxsports.com as early as 4pm) were announcing their return, TarHeelBlue.com saw no need to rush to publication. Although news stories today said the University released a statement one hour prior to the NBA’s 5 pm deadline, TarHeelBlue.com stuck with their lead basketball story until sometime last night.

The riveting news TarHeelBlue.com prioritized over the likelihood of being the preseason #1 and favorite to win the National Championship next year?

CAROLINA BASKETBALL MUSEUM ADDS SATURDAY HOURS

http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/060908aaa.html

Woo hoo!

Point taken.

WHY IT SUCKS TO BE N.C. STATE

Not only did your best young big man depart for the NBA your much hated down the road rival got all three of its players back in the fold for yet another run at a National Championship.

Bummer, dudes.

J.J. Hickson decided to stay in the draft and everybody in Raleigh was quite nice about it.

"After going through several workouts with NBA teams, J.J. received very positive feedback and feels this is a great opportunity for him to be drafted," Lowe said. "He had a great season with us last year, and he will always be a part of our Wolfpack family. We are very happy for him and his family."

ESPN’s Andy Katz makes a good point: “NC State may have better chemistry: That might not be fair, but it will be interesting to see if the Wolfpack -- especially Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner -- go back to playing more balanced basketball now that J.J. Hickson is gone after one season.”

As you may recall, at the end of the 2006-2007, N.C. State was on a major roll through the ACC tourney and on into the Big Dance. They got there with some phenomenal play from their frontcourt and that is why they were picked third in the ACC in pre-season polls only to collapse to 15-16 (4-12 in the ACC).

Maybe Wolf Karma has improved?

PICTURE OF THE DAY

SO CLOSE...Rocco Mediate reacts to missing his birdie putt on the fifth green before compatriot Tiger Woods during the playoff round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 16, 2008 in San Diego, California.

Woods made another clutch birdie at 18, then parred the first hole of sudden-death to subdue determined challenger Mediate and win the 108th US Open golf championship.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

NICE HEAD...A supporter of the German football team with his faces made up in the German colours and an eagle painted on his bold head smiles ahead of the Euro 2008 final group B match Austria vs. Germany at the Ernst-Happel Stadium in Vienna, Austria on June 16, 2008. Germany won the match 0-1 and will play against Portugal in the quarter-finals.

(Photo by Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

CRAZY CREDENTIAL…Elin Nordegren Woods’ credential says “MEDIA.” Shouldn’t it say “wife of the guy who has won 14 majors and mother of his child so I can go wherever I want?”

Here Woods walks with her daughter Sam after Tiger won the playoff round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course on June 16, 2008 in San Diego, California.

(Photo by Travis Lindquist/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

CROATIA: LEADING THE WORLD IN PIZZA RESTAURANT TABLE CLOTH MANUFACTURING…Croatian fans celebrate after Croatian forward Ivan Klasnic scored during the Euro 2008 Championships Group B football match Poland vs. Croatia on June 16, 2008 at Woerthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria. Croatia won 1-0.

(Photo by Hrvoje Polan/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, June 16, 2008

UNC NBA ANNOUNCEMENTS DUE SHORTLY

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the waiting is almost over for North Carolina basketball fans.

An announcement on the NBA Draft status of Tar Heel underclassmen Danny Green, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson is expected shortly, according the school's sports information department.

There will be no news conference, only a press release, when the players' decisions are made known. Players have until 5 p.m. today to withdraw and keep their college eligibility.

(Photo courtesy of Raleigh News & Observer)

TAR HEELS BEAT TIGERS

Alex White kept LSU's potent offense mostly under wraps for seven-plus innings and Kyle Seager, Seth Williams and Ryan Graepel had three hits apiece to lead North Carolina to an 8-4 victory over the Tigers in the College World Series on Sunday night.

White gave up home runs to Michael Hollander and Matt Clark leading off the first and second innings, then allowed only two singles the rest of the way.

The Tar Heels (52-12), the national runner-up the past two years, advanced to a Tuesday night game against upstart Fresno State, which stunned Rice 17-5 in the afternoon. The Tigers (48-18-1), beaten for only the second time in 27 games since April 22, will play Rice in a Bracket 2 elimination game Tuesday.

There was nothing fancy about Carolina's performance. All but two of its 17 hits were singles. The Tar Heels scored in a variety of ways - a wild pitch, a walk, a groundout and a sacrifice fly.

White (11-3), who has worked at least seven innings in four straight starts, left after Hollander reached on a bunt single to start the eighth. That is when LSU threatened to come back, loading the bases against reliever Brian Moran.

But the Tar Heels survived.

North Carolina's Tim Fedroff scores at home plate against LSU catcher Micah Gibbs, in the first inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game, in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, June 15, 2008.(AP Photo/Ted Kirk)

North Carolina starting pitcher Alex White delivers against LSU in the first inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game, in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, June 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Eric Francis)

TOP-SEEDED HURRICANES UPSET

For Miami, it was just bad timing.

Georgia coach David Perno said so over and over.

Perno also was unashamed to say, “I’ll take it,” after his Bulldogs capitalized on a ninth-inning Miami meltdown that produced Georgia’s 7-4 College World Series victory over the top-seeded Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Georgia scored four runs in the ninth—two on Miami closer Carlos Gutierrez’s throwing error—as the Bulldogs came from behind to win.

“That was a big mistake they made at the wrong time,” Perno said. “We took advantage and were very lucky.”

Gutierrez, the Minnesota Twins’ first-round draft pick, came on to start the ninth to protect Miami’s one-run lead. He couldn’t do it, and Miami lost for the first time in 46 games in which it led after eight innings.

Georgia (42-23-1), which went two games and out in its last CWS appearance in 2006, advanced to play Stanford on Monday. Miami (52-10) will try to stay alive in Bracket 1 when it meets Florida State in an elimination game, also Monday.

Georgia's Gordon Beckham, right, is caught stealing second base by Miami shortstop Ryan Jackson in the sixth inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game, in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, June 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Eric Francis)

STANFORD UPSETS FLORIDA STATE

Stanford coach Mark Marquess would have been happy to score one run in the ninth inning against Florida State.

How about 11?

"That's one of those things that happen. You don't know why it happens," Marquess said after the Cardinal's record-tying 11-run outburst broke open a tie game in a 16-5 victory in Saturday's College World Series opener.

Brent Milleville's three-run homer highlighted Stanford's biggest inning of the year and the biggest in a CWS game since Cal State Fullerton scored 11 times against LSU in the first inning in 1994. Sean Ratliff added a two-run single and Cord Phelps a two-run double.

Stanford (40-22-2) will play Monday against the winner of the game between top-seeded Miami and Georgia on Saturday night. The Seminoles (54-13) will try to stay alive Monday against the Miami.

Florida State second baseman Jason Stidham throws to first base for a double play after forcing out Stanford's Jeff Whitlow (1) in the third inning of the opening game of the NCAA College World Series baseball tournament in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, June 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Ted Kirk)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

PLAYOFF...Rocco Mediate waves to the gallery before teeing off on the first whole, in the playoff against Tiger Woods, at the 108th U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California on June 16, 2008.

(Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

DOWN IN THE BAYOU...We aren't really sure what's going on, but take a close look at these two lads from LSU -- second baseman Ryan Schimpf (16), and shortstop DJ LeMahieu.

(AP Photo/Ted Kirk)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

CAN YOU HELP A BROTHER OUT...? Kendrick Perkins #43 Boston Celtics looks on from the bench during Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals against Los Angeles Lakers on June 15, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Celtics 103-98.

Nobody told Kendrick to tuck in his shirt or to lose the black sneaks.


(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

JES SUM BOYS WRASSLIN'... Ben Askren (red) wrestles Tyrone Lewis (blue) in the Freestyle 74kg division championship match during the USA Olympic trials for wrestling and judo on June 15, 2008 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Neveda.

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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