Saturday, November 29, 2008

BLACK FRIDAY BASKETBALL

No. 9 Gonzaga (Bulldogs, 4,515 students, Spokane, WA) 81, MARYLAND 59 - The Bulldogs (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) managed rein in the upset minded Terps behind Josh Heytvelt’s 22 points in the semifinals of the Old Spice Classic.

Maryland made nine of 19 3-pointers in the 80-62 upset of No. 5 Michigan State but went 1-for-13 from beyond the three-point line against the Zags.

"Coming off last night, I didn't know what to expect," Terps coach Gary “Gillette Speed Stick 24/7 Cool Fusion” Williams said. "It was a great win and I was hoping we'd have carried the momentum into this game." Didn’t happen.

The Bulldogs (4-0) advanced to the tournament championship Sunday against Tennessee, a 90-78 winner over Georgetown in the other semi-final.

BOSTON COLLEGE 83, UAB (Blazers, 10,796 students, Birmingham, AL) 77 - Tyrese “Red Beans And” Rice scored all 24 of his points in the second half as Boston College rallied to beat UAB 83-77 in the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

CLEMSON 79, Presbyterian (Blue Hose, 1,300 students, Clinton, SC) 58 - Trevor “OK, Dano” Booker scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead undefeated Clemson to a 79-58 victory over Presbyterian on Friday night.
Terrence Oglesby contributed 12 points, Jerai Grant had 11 and Raymond Sykes added 10 for the Tigers (7-0).

No. 7 DUKE 95, Duquesne (Dukes, 5,751 students, Pittsburgh, PA) 72 – Lance “What Ever Happened To Clarence” Thomas scored a career-high 21 points Friday to help the Blue Devils rout poor lil’ ole Duquesne 95-72. The Cameron Crazies were rude, Coach Krzyfhvgbs5ski yelled at the officials, and Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer made crazy faces.

GEORGIA TECH 79, Jacksonville (Dolphins, 3,100 students, Jacksonville, FL) 76 - Alade Aminu scored 19 points and Gani Lawal had 15 points with 12 rebounds to help Georgia Tech hold off Jacksonville's late charge in a 79-76 victory on Friday night. Ben Smith's 30 points led Jacksonville which slipped to 0-5.

No. 24 WAKE FOREST 82, Texas-El Paso (Miners, 20, 154 students, El Paso, TX) 79 - Jeff “Out of UTEP’s” Teague capped a 29-point performance by making two free throws with 14 seconds remaining, leading No. 24 Wake Forest over Texas-El Paso in the 76 Classic. Wake advances the final on Sunday.

(Maryland forward Landon Milbourne (1) drives to the basket as Gonzaga's Josh Heytvelt (42) tries to stop him. AP Photo/Romeo Guzman. Duke's Lance Thomas (42) shoots a free throw. AP Photo/Sara D. Davis. UTEP center Wayne Portalatin, left, and Wake Forest center Chas McFarland battle for a rebound in the first half. AP Photo/Mark Avery)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

GO FAST, DRINK BEER. Canada's team Helen Upperton (r) and Jennifer Ciochetti react during the flower ceremony after the second run of the women's two-man Bobsleigh World Cup race in the western German town of Winterberg November 29, 2008.

We don't know a lot about "bobsleighing" or bobsledding as we say here in the good ol' U.S. of A., but the flowers in the "flower ceremony" look alot like a giant glass of adult malt beverage...


And, yes, those do appear to be Playboy bunnies on their helmets.


(Photos by Reuters/Ina Fassbender)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

MORE GIBBS, MORE TROPHIES. Clint Boyer (l), J.D. Gibbs and Hall of Fame Redskin coach Joe Gibbs (r) poses for photos at the NASCAR Nationwide banquet at the Portafino Hotel on November 22, 2008 in Orlando, Florida.

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

DUNK YOU, VERY MUCH. J.J. Hickson #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers finishes the dunk in front of Joe Smith #7, Kyle Weaver #5 and Chris Wilcox #54 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at The Quicken Loans Arena on November 26, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The twenty-year-old Hickson should be a sophomore at N.C. State. He is averaging 8:30 minutes of PT while racking up 3.6 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.


But, you can't beat the paycheck!
(And you probably thought this was a photo from the NBA's How To Play NBA Defense manual?)

(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

Friday, November 28, 2008

SATURDAY FOOTBALL

Saturday, Nov 29th

The Commonwealth Bowl
VIRGINIA @ VIRGINIA TECH (-7.5),
12:00 PM, Blacksburg, Va., TV: ESPN – Hokies looking to win their way into Dr. Pepper Bowl, Hoos looking for a sixth bowl eligible win. UVA Coach Al “Must Go” Groh not fairing well in this rival to date.

GEORGIA TECH @ Georgia (-7.5), 12:00 PM, Athens, Ga., TV: CBS – Jackets just trying not to get too beat up while scoreboard watching. South Carolina @ CLEMSON (-1), 12:00 PM, Clemson, S.C., TV: ESPN2 – Clemson needs one for bowl eligibility.

MIAMI (-1.5) @ NC STATE, 12:00 PM, Raleigh, N.C., TV: RAYCOM – Can the Canes rally the troops and slow down the hottest team and player (Russell Wilson) in the conference.

MARYLAND @ BOSTON COLLEGE (-6.5), 3:30 PM, Chestnut Hill, Mass., TV: ABC/ESPN2 – Can back-up QB Dominique Davis get the Eagles to Tampa.

Florida (-16.5) @ FLORIDA STATE, 3:30 PM, Tallahassee, Fla., TV: ABC/ESPN2 – Florida smells the BCS Championship Game, fasten your seat belts Noles.

NORTH CAROLINA (-7.5) @ DUKE, 3:30 PM, Durham, N.C., TV: ESPNUEvidently, there’s a debate over who leads this series. UNC says it’s 55-35-4 Heels, Duke agrees the boys from Chapel Hill lead, but they say it’s 54-36-4.

Seems as the disagreement stems from a game in 1889 that was a forfeit and both teams claimed as a victory. For some strange reason nobody seems to care enough about these two football teams to have a spirited national debate over the TRUTH. Jeez.

(Editor’s Note: According to ESPN’s Heather Dinich the ACC office in Greensboro credits the Blue Devils (the home team?) with the victory. Again, the ACC suits show that they are mere pawns in Coack Krzydhvbs2ski’s massive conspiracy for world dominance and American Express card usage.)

Vanderbilt @ WAKE FOREST (-4), 7:00 PM, Winston-Salem, N.C., TV: ESPNU

OH, THE IRONY OF IT ALL

MARYLAND 80, No. 5 Michigan State (Spartans, 36,072 students, East Lansing, MI) 62

Spartan coach Tom Izzo probably has heartburn, and, in all likelihood, it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving dinner. After his No. 5 Michigan State Spartan’s lost yesterday to Coach Gary “Old Spice Red Zone Invisible Solid” William’s Terps, Izzo can look down the schedule to December 3 when he faces another ACC team in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge – No. 1 North Carolina.

That’s probably all the ACC the folks in East Lansing are looking for until the Big Dance in March.

Thanksgiving night, Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez and Dave Neal each scored 17 points as the unranked Terps hustled their way past the No. 5 Spartans in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic.

“That’s as good as any team I’ve coached has played with a lead,” Williams said. “We didn’t take bad shots, didn’t lose focus.”

“Well it is practically Gary’s tournament,” said Izzo. “For cryin’ out loud, one of his many nicknames is Old Spice fill-in-the-blank”

Next up for the Terrapins on Friday is another test against a touted team. They play No. 9 Gonzaga, which beat Oklahoma State 83-71.

(Michigan State guard Chris Allen (3) tries to block the advance of Maryland guard Greivis Vazquez (21). AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

TURKEY DAY HOOPS

No. 19 WAKE FOREST 75, Cal State-Fullerton (Titans, 37,130 students, Fullerton, CA ) 69
Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague scored 24 points while shooting 4 of 6 from three-point land, as the Deamon Decons (4-0, 0-0) won their opener in the 76 Classic.

“It’s just win and advance and we were fortunate to do that,” Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said. “I thought our guys played very hard. As they made a run at us, we kept our composure.”

Wake Forest will play UTEP in the semifinals Friday. The Miners beat St. Mary’s 75-62.
Josh Akognon led Cal State-Fullerton (2-3) with 24 points.

Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague, left, moves in for a layup under the arm of Cal State Fullerton forward Gerard Anderson in the second half of a NCAA college basketball game during the 76 Classic tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Wake Forest won 75-69.

(AP Photo/Mark Avery)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"(Virginia) Tech has a chance to become just the second BCS conference team in the last three years to win its league championship with an offense ranked 100th or worse. The only other team to do that? The 2007 Hokies." – Kyle Tucker, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

Tucker covers Virginia Tech football, high school wrestling and writes general-assignment stories for The Virginian-Pilot. He also lives in Blacksburg, Va., during the fall, covering the Hokies and writing a popular blog on Tech football for Pilot Online.

And, yep, the picture is really him. Welcome to TAH, Kyle.

Nice turf.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

BCS MESS. Texas did their part to put the vice grips on the BCS. If Florida beats Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, the BCS will be faced with seven one loss teams with viable arguments to play for all the NCAA marbles (the one’s they haven’t long lost…): Bama, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Texas Tech and Penn State.

If Bama wins out, the debate only gets more complicated as there is only one spot for the squadron of one-lossers.

Never mind No. 6 Utah, Boise State and Ball State, all undefeated…

Happy Holidays!

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

BRING BACK THE COLLEGE ALL-STAR GAME. If given two weeks to practice, could a college all-star team beat the hapless Detroit Lions?

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

http://www.southbank-design.co.uk/turkeyshoot/index.htm

Go ahead, shoot some turkeys.

Enjoy!

UNC: AS GOOD, OR BETTER, THAN ADVERTISED

No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 102, No. 8 Notre Dame (Fighting Irish, 8,352 students, South Bend, ID) 87

Some people will say thanks to Dean Smith, Michael Jordan and four NCAA Championships that North Carolina is overrated.

Those very same folks claim that a talented and deep Final Four team of last year won’t look like Secretariat – running away from their competition – when they play a ranked team from a top conference as opposed to the typical pre-ACC season mixed bag of non-conference cannon fodder.

Some other people say UNC isn’t as good as advertised.

All of those people are wrong.

Last night, in final of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, No. 1 North Carolina (6-0,0-0) looked every bit the part of the best team in the land as they demolished Notre Dame (4-1) 102-87. The game wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate.

Reigning player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough returned to form in an impressive 30 minute performance that netted 34 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Hansbrough, who spent a big part of last season developing a mid- to long-range jump shot, utilized those skills against the Irish making a series of mid-range jumpers and his fourth career three-pointer.

Point guard Ty Lawson, another big-game player, simply decided to see how fast Notre Dame’s front court was with a slash, flash and dash game that ginsued the Irish for 22 points and 11 assists. His performance, besides terrifying future opposing point guards, earned him the tournament MVP after totaling 22 assists against two turnovers in the three games.

As good as Hansbrough was, head coach Roy Williams said his star player is still not 100% recovered from various leg injuries.

“He’s about 75 percent but he played better than that tonight. He was really fired up,” Ol’ Roy said. “It’s been tearing at him not to be able to play.”

Notre Dame’s pre-season All American Luke Harangody was slowed by the flu and the arduous task of defending Hansbrough, but teammate Ryan McAlarney kept it reasonably competitive with a 39 point effort. McAlarney was 10-18 from behind the arc, breaking his own school record of nine three pointers.

The Domers might have been a bit battle weary from the previous night’s nail-biting one-point victory over the No. 7 Texas Longhorns.

Deon Thompson had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who had a 44-36 rebound advantage and shot 55.7 percent from the field.

“They really come at you with a lot of guys. It’s a heck of a basketball team,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “Lawson did a great job in transition and then we were digging out of a hole the whole game.”

No. 10 Purdue (Boilermakers, 40,040 students, West Lafayette, IN) 71, BOSTON COLLEGE 64 – Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore scored 19 points and No. 10 Purdue withstood a late rally to beat BC in the NIT.

VIRGINIA TECH 76, Elon 67 (Phoenix, 4,939 students, Elon, NC) - A.D. Vassallo and Victor Davilo scored 16 points apiece, and Malcolm Delaney hit 12 free throws in the final 2:12 to help Virginia Tech defeat Elon in Blacksburg.

(AP Photos/Chris Carlson and Nick Laham/Getty Images)

UNHAPPY ANNIVESARY

It was one year ago yesterday that Sean Taylor, the 24-year-old Washington Redskin and former Miami Hurricane, was shot at his Miami-area home during a botched robbery. The Pro-Bowl safety died of massive blood loss a day later.

The crime was later linked to the boyfriend of Taylor’s sister.

(Getty Images)

MR. PEABODY GOES WILD

Hey, maybe it's really not the No Fun League. Check this out...

On Thursday, December 4, the game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders will be broadcast live in 3-D to theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Boston. It is a preliminary step on what is likely a long road to any regular 3-D broadcasts of football games.

The idea is a "proof of concept," says Howard Katz, NFL senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations. "We want to demonstrate this and let people get excited about it and see what the future holds."

WE SUSPEND BECAUSE WE LOVE

According to ESPN, Two Florida State freshman wide receivers were arrested Wednesday on misdemeanor battery charges stemming from a fight in the student union two weeks ago.

Bert Reed (#83) and Cameron Wade, both 20, turned themselves in at the Leon County Jail and were released after posting bond, university officials said. Both were at football practice later in the day.

They were suspended for Florida State's Nov. 15 game against Boston College, a 27-17 loss, along with three other players, also receivers, who participated in the Nov. 12 fight with members of a fraternity.

Coach Bobby Bowden said he expected no more suspensions for the 20th-ranked Seminoles' regular-season finale Saturday. Florida State hosts intrastate rival and No. 4 Florida.

WHAT HE SAID: "They're going to be available," Bowden said. "They've been disciplined."

WHAT HE MEANT: "Florida is monster good, we need all the help we can get."
(Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, MR. BONDS. According to the AP, thousands of pages of grand jury testimony related to the long-running steroids investigation of Barry Bonds and other athletes were unsealed Wednesday by a federal judge.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston signed an order that allows prosecutors to share grand jury transcripts, medical lab reports and search warrant affidavits with Bonds’ lawyers. It came in response to a request from the U.S. Attorney’s office last week that the protective order on the documents be lifted to avoid possibly delaying Bonds’ trial, scheduled to begin March 2.

Lawyers for the former San Francisco Giants’ outfielder could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

VIRGINIA FIRES GROH, CANCELS 2008-09 HOOPS SEASON

Liberty (Falwells, 14,438 students, Lynchburg, VA) 86, VIRGINIA 82

OK, that would be the best case scenario after a young and injured Wahoo hoop squad took it on the chin to in-state non-rival, the Liberty University Falwells.

Named after thier founder, the late Jerry Falwell, the Falwells represent fast-growing Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. The religous college is full of nice, clean-cut future hard-core right-wing Republicans who are learning at an early age that Virginia politics is all about where you stand on "guns and fetuses."

And, they are also learning a thing or two about NCAA sports. There football team was 10-2, and recently snubbed by the NCAA selection committee after beating 12th ranked Elon in their pigskin finale. Oh yeah, and they really are the Flames, not the Falwells. Our bad.

A couple of kids named Kyle Ohman and Seth Curry (above) scored 26 points each to lead Liberty, and Anthony Smith added 21 points for to further doom the Hoos.

Sammy Zeglinski (l) led the Cavaliers (3-1) with 24 points, and Sylven Landesberg added 17. Mike Scott finished with a game-high 17 rebounds in the loss.

Liberty outshot Virginia from the field with a 56.6 percent (30 of 53) mark compared to 46.6 percent output for the Cavaliers. The Flames hit 16-of-23 shots from the field in the second half to help them hold off Virginia, which they led 35-32 at the half.

Each team knocked down 13 3-pointers in the game.

Clearly the magic that was the JPJA - The New Hotness is long gone...

(Photos by Jim Daves/UVa Media Relations and Liberty Sports)

UNC: PACE MAKES THE RACE

No.1 NORTH CAROLINA 98, Oregon (Ducks, 16,475 students, Eugene, OR) 69

Gentlemen, start your Nikes…

Noland Richardson’s Arkansas teams known for their high octane “Forty-Minutes of Hell” style? Wait at the bar…

The Shark’s run and gun UNLV Rebels? Check out the Carolina D…

Yes, UNC is big, talented, athletic and deep. But, the real magic ingredients for what Ole Roy has his Tar Heel team doing is defensive pressure and 40 minutes of high energy. Last night, even the deep benchers ran the floor like their hair was on fire.

In the EA Sports Maui Invitational semi-final, the young Oregon Ducks were decimated by the now familiar Tar Heel Surge. They had no answer for Carolina’s stifling defense that fuels their top-fuel dragster offense. After all, the key to UNC’s transition offense that led to last year’s 89 points per game average isn’t just Ty Lawson’s speed and the rest of the fellas ability to run, jump and shoot.

No, the key is good defense, steals, turnovers and defensive rebounds. With 4:39 left in the first half, the Ducks had scored a mere 14 points. It never got much better as they shot 30.1% for the game.

Tyler Hansbrough returned to action after suffering a mild ankle sprain last Friday in a win against UC Santa Barbara. The senior, and reigning player of the year, contributed a quite 16 points in 19 minutes. Hansbrough took an elbow to the chin in the first possession, but seemed no worse for the wear although he is clearly not yet in game shape.

"It's good to get back out there," Hansbrough said. "As far as conditioning, I'm out of shape but that will come by playing. My ankle? I felt it a little, but overall I was able to play a little bit."

Forward Danny Green continues to shine scoring 21 points in 26 minutes and freshman big Ed Davis is quickly looking like the real deal getting his first double/double (11 points/13 rebounds) during just 23 minutes of his fifth college game.

Oregon’s Michael Dunigan led the overmatched not-yet-so-mighty Ducks with 18 points.

The Heel’s opponent in tonight’s finale, No. 7 Notre Dame, won’t be such a pushover. A big, talented and experienced team in their own right, the Irish play in a tough conference and will be better equipped to deal with the North Carolina’s torrid pace.

One thing is for sure. The Golden Domers better double knot those sneakers and hit the Lahaina Civic Center floor running….

N.C. STATE 74, Winthrop (Eagles, 5,111 students, Rock Hill, SC) 48

GEORGIA TECH 74, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Golden Lions, 3,232 students, Pine Bluff, AR) 47

CLEMSON 81, Savannah State (Tigers, 3,169 students, Savannah, GA) 49

(AP Photos/Chris Carlson)

ACC BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Maryland's Greivis Vasquez was named ACC Player of the Week, while for the second week in a row, Virginia's Sylven Landesberg earned ACC Rookie honors.

On the week, Vasquez averaged 27.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals as the Terps posted wins over Youngstown State (73-49) and Vermont (89-74). Against Youngstown State the Caracas, Venezuela, junior led the Terps in points (28), rebounds (8), assists (4) and steals (4). In the overtime win against Vermont, Vasquez hit a 3-point shot with six seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game.

Landesberg averaged 21.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in a pair of 2-point Virginia victories over South Florida (77-75) and Radford (68-66). On the week, the Flushing, N.Y., freshman made 17-of-30 from the floor (.566) and 7-of-10 from the free throw line (.700) and had four steals. In addition, Landesberg scored the points that put the Wahoos ahead for good in the closing seconds of both games and is the first freshman in school history to score at least 20 points in each of his first three collegiate games.

(Photos by AP Photo by Gail Burton and Jim Daves/UVa Media Relations)

ACC FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK—Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech, B-Back, 6-0, 228, So., Marietta, Ga. Dwyer ran for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 10 carries in Georgia Tech’s 41-23 win over No. 23 ranked Miami on Thursday. Dwyer, who sat out most of the second half, helped the Yellow Jackets produce 472 yards of rushing offense – Tech’s highest total in an ACC game.

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK— Russell Wilson, NC State, QB, 5-11, 191, R-Fr., Richmond, Va. Wilson threw for a career-high 279 yards on 17-of-28 passing and two touchdowns in NC State’s 41-10 win over North Carolina. This was the fifth consecutive game he has thrown for multiple touchdowns, the longest such streak since Philip Rivers threw multiple TDs in six straight games in 2003. Wilson also extended his string of consecutive pass attempts without an interception to 203

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN—Meares Green, NC State, G/T, 6-4, 306, R-Sr., Wilmington, N.C. Green led the NC State rushing attack that produced season highs in rushing yards (187), passing yards (279) and total yards (466) in the Pack’s 41-10 win over North Carolina. Green graded out at 82% for the game.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN—Thomas Austin, Clemson, Guard, 6-3, 295, Jr., Camden, S.C. Austin helped the Clemson offense to a 13-3 victory over Virginia with 11 knockdown blocks in 71 plays. He did not miss a snap and received a grade of 86 percent from the coaching staff. The Tiger offensive line held tough, not allowing a sack in 29 passing attempts.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN— Everette Brown, Florida State, DE, 6-4, 248, Jr., Stantonsburg, N.C. Brown was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his dominating performance in FSU’s 37-3 win over Maryland. For the third time this season Brown recorded three or more sacks in a game as he recorded a career-high 3 ½ sacks. He also forced the fumble that linebacker Derek Nicholson scooped up and returned for a TD to put the Seminoles up 14-0.

DEFENSIVE BACK—Mark Herzlich, Boston College, LB, 6-4, 238, Jr., Wayne, Pa. Herzlich picked off two Riley Skinner passes, returning one 34-yards for a touchdown and setting up an Eagle field goal with the other in Boston College’s 24-21 win over Wake Forest. The junior finished with nine tackles, seven solo, as BC held Wake to 191 net yards of total offense.

SPECIALIST— Graham Gano, Florida State, PK/P, 6-1, 197, Sr., Pensacola, Fla. Gano was 3-for-3 in field goal attempts in the Seminoles upset win over No. 22 Maryland. Gano improved to 21-for-23 this year in field goals and for the sixth time this year (in nine games played) he had double digit points (13).

ROOKIE—Dominique Davis (#15), Boston College, QB, 6-4, 198, R-Fr., Lakeland, Fla. Davis was forced into action on Saturday when starting Eagle quarterback Chris Crane went down with a broken collarbone. He came in and completed 13-of-23 for 103 yards as Boston College defeated Wake Forest, 24-21.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Photo from AP Photo by John Bazemore Getty Images and ESPN)

A HEADLINE YOU MAY NEVER SEE (AGAIN)

The headline for Robbi Pickeral’s post over at ACC Now says “Copeland leads Tar Heels to victory.”

Doesn’t sound quite right does it, but it’s true. Prior to the start of the Maui Invitational, there is this little event called the EA Sports Maui Invitational at the Xbox 360 Players’ Pary, and this year it was an all Tar Heel final.

Playing EA Sports’ NCAA Basketball ’09, the Tar Heels beat out foes from the other seven teams participating in the Maui Invite to advance to their friendly head-to-head duel: Ty Lawson vs. Mike Copeland.

Ultimately, Copeland defeated his Carolina teammate and friend. The victory was sweet for Copeland who doesn’t get too much playing time due to an offseason knee surgery.

“The knee’s feeling good, it’s getting strong,’’ he said, holding the videogame tournament’s crystal championship trophy. “… It’s nice to win something, with my teammates cheering, because I haven’t been playing.”

Evidently, Copeland and Lawson — who often face off during their spare time at home —were nominated by their teammates to represent UNC in the 16-player tournament. Lawson beat Chaminade’s Shane Hanson, then Oregon’s Teondre Williams to advance; Copeland topped Chaminade’s Jamar Berry and Alabama's Mikhail Torrance in order to face Lawson.

“Since Coach is here, my strategy is defense, defense, defense,’’ Lawson told the onlookers at one point. Had Ole Roy not been there, we wager the strategy would have been “shoot the rock, baby!”

During the final, teammates didn’t choose a favorite, although they shouted out plenty of advice, including “Put Danny in!”

(Getty Images)

JMU NUMBER 1 SEED IN A FOOTBALL PLAYOFF!

Shocking, we know. Not the JMU part, the ever-illusive football playoff part...

Must be the incredibly handsome mascot.

J.MadU. earned the No. 1 seed for the first time in the 16-team NCAA Division I Football Championships. Don’t be confused. Yes, this is a 16-team football tournament designed to determine a National Champion on the field.

The Dukes (10-1) were joined by three-time national champion Appalachian State, Northern Iowa and Montana as the four seeds in the tournament, which begins play at campus sites on Saturday. Three of the four seeds, JMU, ASU and Montana have won national championships in the past seven years.

JMU, ranked No. 1 in the country for the past eight weeks, qualified for the tournament by winning the championship of the CAA and will take on Southern Conference runner- up Wofford (9-2) in a 3 pm game at the Dukes Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg.

It will be the first time the Dukes have hosted a playoff game since 1994. In their 2004 national championship run, JMU had to win three road games before taking title win over Montana in Chattanooga, TN. It is the ninth FCS playoff appearance for James Madison.

Wofford will be making its third appearance in the FCS playoffs since 2003, its second straight and its first as an at-large team. The winner of the JMU-Wofford matchup will face either CAA runner-up Villanova (9-2) or Patriot League champion Colgate (9-2) in the quarterfinals on the following weekend.

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

MLB CRICKETER? Why not? After all, the Pittsburg Pirates just signed the winners of the Million Dollar Arm contest held in India to find the best baseball throwing arms in that country. Do Rinku Singh (pictured) and Dinesh Patel really do have million-dollar arms? The two 20-year-old pitchers, neither of whom had picked up a baseball until earlier this year, signed free-agent contracts Monday with the Pirates. They are believed to be the first athletes from India to sign professional sports contracts outside their country.

So why not a batsman? Here, English cricketer Owais Shah plays a shot as Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks on during the fourth one-day international between India and England, at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

Couldn't our lowly Nats use a good bat?

(Photo by Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images and AP Photo/Matt York)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HELLO, MR. BCS, we’re undefeated. And so is Utah and Boise State. How do you like them apples?

Here, head coach Brady Hoke of the Ball State Cardinals is splashed with water in the final seconds of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Scheumann Stadium November 25, 2008 in Muncie, Indiana. Ball State won 45-22 and finished their regular season at 12-0.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MONDAY NIGHT BASKETBALL

No. 1 UNC 115, Chaminade (Silverswords, 2,836 students, Honolulu, HI) 70 – No doubt, tiny D2 Chaminade daydreams about 1982 when the over-matched Silverswords upset the top ranked Virginia Cavaliers and Ralph Sampson in one of NCAA hoops biggest upsets of all time. However, this isn’t hoop dream Hollywood, but the real hardwood world and No. 1 North Carolina was too big, too talented and too deep for such history to repeat.

Danny Green led the Heels (4-0, 0-0) with 26 points while Tyler Hansbrough watched from the bench. "If this had been for the national championship he would have played," head coach Roy Williams said. "I made my mind up before we left Santa Barbara that he wouldn't play three straight days and he tweaked his left ankle at the end of that game. If he doesn't play two games now it will be because of the other leg."

Carolina shot 52.5 percent in the first half (21-of-40), while holding the Silverswords to 28.6 percent (8-of-28). The Tar Heels scored 21 points off Chaminade's 13 first-half turnovers. Game over.

Shane Hanson had 15 points to lead the Silverswords.

No. 21 MIAMI 80, San Diego (Tritons, 21,369 students, San Diego, CA) 45

FLORIDA STATE 67, Western Illinois (Leathernecks, 11,300 students, Macomb, IL) 55

No. 24 WAKE FOREST 62, Winston-Salem State (Rams, 6,000 students, Winston-Salem, NC) 31

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

OOPS, SHODDY JOURNALISM

In both our review of Saturday's games, and yesterday's analysis of who may or may not eventually play in the Dr. Pepper Bowl, we forgot to mention one small detail of import...

Boston College's starting QB Chris Crane broke his collar bone on Saturday. Oops. Guess, that is kind of important.

So, in the spirit of 100,000 hits (did we mention that?), let's just pretend it never happened. A TAH hall pass, so to speak.

OUCH: BC LOSES STARTING QB

Boston College starting QB Chris Crane broke his collar bone in Saturday's 24-21 win over Wake Forest and is facing at least a six-week recovery. He is the fourth starter the Eagles have lost to injury this season. It's now up to backup quarterback Dominique Davis, a redshirt freshman, to lead the Eagles' offense on Saturday in the season finale against Maryland. A win would send BC to the Dec. 6 ACC championship game in Tampa Bay, the program's second straight appearance in the title game.

(Getty images)

THE POLLS: EASY COME, EASY GO

As if the mountain wasn’t tall enough for No. 18 Georgia Tech and No. 23 Florida State as both face highly ranked in-state SEC rivals this Saturday, now the ACC Ranking Curse has been revealed in all its evil glory. Yes, the polls are the latest enemy of ACC football teams struggling to find their place in the BCS world.

So, besides being consistently inconsistent, what do the football teams at Florida State, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Miami, Georgia Tech and Maryland have in common?

Short answer: They can’t stand prosperity.

Long answer: Those schools are a combined 6-16 when they are ranked in any, either or all polls. Talk about underachieving at exactly the wrong time.

Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times points this out eloquently, and the analysis is ugly.

Only Wake Forest (4-2) has a winning record while ranked. The rest look like this: Florida State (2-3), North Carolina (2-3), Clemson (1-2), Virginia Tech (1-2), Boston College (0-1), Miami (0-1), Georgia Tech (0-2) and Maryland (0-2).

(Photo by Zeke Smith/CarolinaBlue.com)

JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT

Yes, we will be celebrating (the 100,000 hit milestone) all week.

Feel the love.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. Here is the primary reason that the arguments against having an NCAA D1 football playoff are stupid.

Click on the bracket for a better view.




(Photo courtesy of the Suits In Kansas)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

NICE CAST. North Carolina's injured players from left, Tyler Zeller, Marcus Ginyard, and Tyler Hansbrough watch from the bench during the first half of their game against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational NCAA college basketball tournament in Lahaini, Hawaii, Monday, Nov. 24, 2008.

(AP Photo)

Monday, November 24, 2008

100,000: HITS, NOT DOLLARS…

Damn.

Thanks everybody for helping TAH reach its first major milestone in blogdom – 100,000 hits.

Woo-hoo! The milestone was reached sometime late Saturday night.

Recently, TAH was invited to syndicate its articles on Bleacher Report. We already had been picked up by Yardbarker which now automatically imports TAH posts to their site. (Which is good because we are often too busy/lazy/forgetful to post them over there.)

These two syndications have caused a big jump in readership, and last week TAH posted it’s largest number of visitors in one week – 4,451 which eclipsed the old record of 3,384 in the third week of February this year. Prior to the the two auto-syndications taking effect, TAH was read by an average of 2,500 times a week.

Both BR and Yardbarker are affiliated with Fox Sports. So you know, Fox Sports is no way as crazy as Fox News.

So please tell your friends, and occasionally please click on the AD BARS on the right hand side of the page…All the revenue derived (a whopping $60 so far) will be applied to the TAH Annual ACC Tournament Long Boozy Lunch and the Toly Hansbrough© College Fund.

Really, click on, click off, free beer and one more crazy frat boy.

What’s not to like?

Thank you, we love you.

THE EVER-ILLUSIVE DR. PEPPER BOWL

Starting with Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia: That brown chunky stuff on your football cleats isn’t crumbs from an early holiday feast. Well….Noooo, it’s puke. As in “puked on your shoes.” All three managed to play themselves out of the chase on Saturday.

Meanwhile over in the world of nice clean and not horrible smelling shoes, we have Virginia Tech, Florida State and Boston College. If the Hokies beat Virginia on Saturday in Blacksburg, they will take the trip to Tampa for the Dr. Pepper Bowl (the ACC Championship Game) on December 6 in Tampa, FL.

If the Hokies lose, Georgia Tech wins the Coastal division, thanks to the losses Saturday by UNC and Virginia.

In the Atlantic, if Boston College beats Maryland next Saturday in Chestnut Hill, the Eagles repeat as division champs and set up a BC v. VT rematch of last year’s Championship Game.

If the Terps win, FSU is the winner. Maryland usually comes back strong from tough losses. FSU has one game left, but it’s not relevant to the ACC standings.

Unfortunately, the Noles have a date next Saturday with one of the best teams in the country – Florida. Ouch.

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