Saturday, January 31, 2009

RICK REILLY HATES TYLER HANSBROUGH

…and the King of Ponkey knows all.

Rick says:

He never smiles! He never reacts to anything! It's like he's a robot after Botox!

Which is why it's weird that he notices everything. Like the time somebody yelled, "Why'd you shoot Bambi's mom, Hansbrough?" Or the time a guy held up a giant poster of his cell phone number. "It really was my number!" he says. "And when I got back, I had 17 messages, all telling me how much I sucked."

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm…

So last night after dinner, a group of ACC aficionados and one Big East fan (who actually thinks wrestling is a major sport) set about dissecting the game winning inbounds play at the end of the Wake Forest v. Duke game.
One position was clear: What the hell was Gerald Henderson thinking?

Of course, he wasn’t thinking - he’s a college kid, and if you are in college, or you happen to remember college (all or parts), you know there are lapses “in common sense,” so to speak.

But Henderson’s error on the game-losing play literally defies logic. He made two – not one, but two – moves that were completely contrary to basketball instincts. He defied, for some unknown reason, everything that comes naturally to a hoopster past the age of ten.

In retrospect, we should have told the wrestling guy: “What Henderson did was so contrary to the fundamentals of the game that it would be like a wrestler coming out and laying down on his back to start a match.”

If you watch the inbounds play, (and we aren’t gonna find it on YouTube ‘cause it’s Saturday, and we’re lazy, so you’re gonna have to take our word for it) you will see that Henderson lines up between James “Freeze Frame” Johnson and the foul line, not the basket. Then when the play starts, Henderson jumps around behind Johnson to make sure that he doesn’t run out of bounds and win the game. Huh?

If there is a "WTF" Hall of Fame, this play belongs there.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm…Part 2.

Check this out.



Oh and it gets better!

Houston's coach Tom Penders had this to say: "I'm just sorry the official interpreted it that way. The way I saw it, Aubrey got tangled and his momentum carried him forward and I think it was a mistake."

Kind of reminds of us about the time Coach Krzvbnwdf9ski forgot to apologize to Tyler Hansbrough for Gerald Henderson’s flagrant flying elbow to the snoz at the very end of a game with the outcome decided, and instead started talking about how “G” (as Coach Krxcfghw6ski refers to him) was really the injured party.

Reality – it’s messed up.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

John Feinstein of A Good Walk Spoiled and A Season On The Brink fame (whose a Dukie) weighs in on the "Gary Williams vs. the Maryland athletic department" spat and sums it up thusly:

"It is time to see the forest through the trees at Maryland. Arguing about Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans is like arguing over whose job it is to lock the door when the house is on fire.

It is up to Williams to find the players who can put out the fire. It is up to Yow and everyone else at Maryland to not fan the flames."

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

SATURDAY HOOPS

The ACC may have played all of its “good game” cards this week from Sunday to Thursday. While none of these games appear to be particularly compelling, who knows?

Saturday, Jan 31
WAKE FOREST @ GEORGIA TECH, Noon, Raycom/Comcast

NORTH CAROLINA @ N.C. STATE, 3:30 pm, ABC

VIRGINIA TECH @ BOSTON COLLEGE, 8:00 pm, Raycom/Comcast

MIAMI @ MARYLAND, 8:00 pm, Raycom/Comcast

PICTURE OF THE DAY

WINNER DOWN UNDER. Serena Williams of the United States of America and Dinara Safina of Russia pose with their trophies after the women's final match against Dinara Safina of Russia during day thirteen of the 2009 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.

Serena won.


(Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Friday, January 30, 2009

THE TALE OF TWO HOKIES

At halftime, the Hokies were on pace to score 106 points against a team that plays them tough every game and who had beaten them the last two times they visited Blacksburg.

Tech used a 13-4 run to grab the halftime lead behind the efforts of Malcolm Delaney (#23) who was in the process of scoring a career-best 37 points. Hokie Nation was feeling good when Delaney swished a 60-footer from beyond half court for a 53-44 lead at the midway buzzer.

Something had to give.

It did – The Hokies offense faltered. Virginia Tech scored a Big East-like 29 points in the second half as A.D. Vassallo disappeared at times ending the game with just 10 points (eight below his average). To make matters worse for the slumping Hokies, Clemson took over making threes (6-10 for 60 percent in the second half) and getting rebounds.

Credit Clemson’s second half defensive pressure as well. The Hokies shot 50 percent from the field for the game, but managed to only make 10 of 26 second half shots (38 percent).

The Tigers K.C. Rivers (#1) hit seven 3-pointers and scored 29 points as the Clemson (18-2, 4-2 ACC) rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half. Clemson used a 18-0 run to take the lead with 10 minutes left before outscoring the Hokies 8-2 over the final 2:08.

It was the Tigers' second straight win after losses to Wake Forest and at UNC and was all the more impressive because it came in front of a packed Cassel Coliseum crowd primed to see their team climb into the Top 25 with a win last night.

Trevor Booker added 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Tigers. Jeff Allen added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Hokies who were outrebounded by the Tigers 39-53. Clemson had 17 offensive rebounds.

(AP Photos/Don Petersen)

WORLD DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ENDING

There is a former Duke Blue Devil playing football for the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl. In fact, Ben Patrick (#89) caught a two-point conversion in the NFC Championship v. Eagles that helped get his team to Tampa.

Holy cow! There’s two of ‘em. The Steelers have one too.

We’re doomed.

World to end soon. History of the world, page 2.

Former ACC players in the Super Bowl:


CARDINALS: Anquan Boldin, wide receiver, Florida State, Elton Brown, tackle, Virginia; Calais Campbell, defensive end, Miami; Darnell Dockett, defensive tackle, Florida State; Eric Green, cornerback, Virginia Tech; Edgerrin James, running back, Miami; Ben Patrick, tight end, Duke; Antrel Rolle, free safety, Miami; Pat Ross, center, Boston College; Brian St. Pierre, quarterback, Boston College and Adrian Wilson, strong safety, NC State.


STEELERS: Lawrence Timmons, linebacker, Florida State; Patrick Bailey, linebacker, Duke; Nick Eason, defensive end, Clemson; James Farrior, inside linebacker, Virginia; Keyaron Fox, linebacker, Georgia Tech; Bryant McFadden, cornerback, FSU; Heath Miller, tight end, Virginia; Willie Parker, running back, North Carolina; Orpheus Roye, defensive end, FSU and Jeff Reed, kicker, UNC – pictured (bad hair).

(AP Photo/Paul Connors and Gene J. Puskar)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

BEARS VS. BEARS. Jrue Holiday #21 of the UCLA Bruins scores a basket against Theo Robertson #24 and Jerome Randle #3 of the University of California Golden Bears during the first half of the game at Pauley Pavilion January 29, 2009 in Westwood, California. UCLA won, 81-66.

And, yes, the kids name is Jrue (Freshman, 6-3, 180, Campbell Hall High School, Chatsworth, CA).


Former coach John Wooden of the UCLA Bruins watches as the Bruins take on the University of California Golden Bears.


(Photos by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

GOOD HEAD FOR THE BALL. Michigan State's Goran Suton, left, fights for a rebound with Iowa's Jake Kelly (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, in Iowa City, Iowa.

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

THE STORK. A little something for the Old School NFL fans out there.

Former Oakland Raider Ted Hendricks smiles during the Super Bowl Bowl Celebrity Classic at Pin Chasers Veterans Bowling Center on January 28, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.

You had to figure The Stork to be a bowler...

(Scott Boehm/Getty Images for USBC)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

RECOVERING ECONOMY? Maybe the trillion dollar bailout really is stimulating the economy.

A single sale of this ridiculously ugly hat surely signals the economy is on the mend?

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

WEDNESDAY NIGHT HOOPS: WOW!

If you were wondering why so many folks love ACC basketball this week has provided a rock-solid answer. Virginia Tech and Miami set the table with a highly entertaining game on Sunday night, and Wednesday’s ACC double header was as good as it gets.

The roulette wheel that is which ACC team will be No. 1 took another entertaining turn when No. 4 Wake Forest defeated No. 1 Duke on a brilliantly orchestrated inbounds play at game’s end. No. 6 North Carolina and Florida State followed it up with a nerve wracking nightcap that came down to another buzzer beater.

Potential year-end All-ACC players dominated the action – Kyle Singler was phenomenal for Duke. A.C. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney carried the Hokies and Ty Lawson won the game for the Heels with a last second three that completed a night of 6 for 7 shooting which resulted in a 22 point night. His performance was made all the more entertaining in contrast to the tremendous effort by the Noles Toney Douglas (32 points, 24 during FSU’s second-half comeback) in a game where the Seminole’s defense and the refs rendered last year’s national player of the year, Tyler Hansbrough, a moot point.

Up next, how about No. 2 UConn?

The Huskies are likely to ascend to the number one spot if they can survive another Big East weekend. So far in January, four teams have been to the summit only to fall. Only Pittsburgh managed to last all of two weeks at the top spot.

Finally, we aren’t the Fun Police and we never will be, but you Wake students need to stop rushing the court. Last week you were ranked No. 1, this week you’re No. 4, this isn’t your first rodeo. If Virginia, in their current state of disarray beats Duke at JPJA, the Wahoo kids can storm the court, but you guys are now among the elite of college basketball. Act accordingly.

(Photos by Steve Dykes/Getty Images and AP Photo/Phil Coale)

No. 4 WAKE FOREST: HIGH-DEF

No. 4 WAKE FOREST 70, No. 1 DUKE 68

Wake Forest played great defense and did everything right except make second-half free throws and good decisions late in the game. Those few lapses allowed No. 1 Duke to work their way back to within two points with less than one minute to play. Two amazing plays transpired that ultimately resulted in Wake’s last second two-point victory.

With 22 seconds remaining, Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer missed a three pointer and the rebound bounced directly at James Johnson who miraculously stood there and did nothing. Literally, he froze – solid. Had Johnson stepped to the ball and grabbed the errant shot, the game is over. But, like deer in headlights, he didn’t move, and Scheyer grabbed the ball for one last chance.

In classic Duke fashion, Gerald Henderson, who, along with Kyle Singler scored 32 of Duke’s 40 second half points, made a jumper to tie the game with 11 seconds left on the clock.

On the next possession, Wake’s Jeff Teague drove the basket and was tackled. (No foul was called, but that’s consistent in the ACC – the refs rarely, if ever, call a foul on a game winning buzzer beater). Duke’s Henderson grabbed the rebound, but was called for travelling (he may have had some help), and that set the stage for the second amazing play.

Deacon coach Dino Gaudio figured Duke would switch on an inside move on the inbounds play leaving that very same James “Freeze Frame” Johnson with a perfect chance to acquit himself for the prior boondoggle. Johnson slipped the switch, and Jeff Teague hit him with a perfect bounce pass for a virtually uncontested lay-up.

Was Gaudio aware of the fact that it was Johnson who erred so badly in the prior possession when he drew up the game-winning play he described as “drawing in the sand?” We will never know, but it worked.

70 to 68 Wake. Game over.

Johnson had 13 points and 11 rebounds and freshman Al-Farouq Aminu finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (17-1, 4-1 ACC).

Kyle Singler had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Duke (18-2, 5-1) and Henderson added 20 points. They literally kept the Blue Devils in the game during the second half when Wake’s defense shut down the rest of the team.

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

No. 6 NORTH CAROLINA: LOW-DEF


No. 6 NORTH CAROLINA 80, FLORIDA STATE 77

Ty Lawson couldn’t stop FSU star guard Toney Douglas, just as he couldn’t stop Tyrese Rice and Jeff Teague in the Heels two previous ACC losses, but he could drain a buzzer beater to top off a roller coaster 80-77 win over the Seminoles last night. Lawson scored 21 points, and he didn’t press and force the issue when the man he was guarding exploded for 32 points.

Lawson was supposed to take a timeout on the final play. Instead, he hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to save a game for the still struggling Tar Heels. Oddly enough, the play was set up by two defensive stops that found Tyler Hansbrough (and his four fouls) in a mismatch with the Noles’ red hot star Douglas. Hansbrough survived both encounters shutting down Douglas once and giving him back to Lawson on a switch on the other that ended with an FSU shot clock violation.

Lawson then took the inbounds pass with 3.2 seconds left and raced downcourt, swishing a running three-pointer from the top of the arc. "I was supposed to go to halfcourt and get a timeout, but that wasn't open. So Coach told me, if that didn't happen, get the ball and just run with it," Lawson said outside a jubilant North Carolina (18-2, 4-2 ACC) locker room.

The Heels’ Danny Green added 20 points and Wayne Ellington 14, making up for Hansbrough's quiet game. Last season's national player of the year scored only eight points falling short of double figures for the first time in 56 games.

The Tar Heels won despite shooting 38.1 percent and committing a season-high 21 turnovers. Once again, they fell behind early and then seized control of the game in the final five minutes of the first half with an 18-3 run. But this time, FSU adjusted their defense to slow Carolina’s half-court offense, and Douglas did the rest.

"How lucky we were," coach Roy Williams said. "That's the bottom line."

(Photos by Phil Sears/Tallahassee Democrat and AP Photo/Phil Coale)

NICE TRY, KARL

We pointed out recently that certain ACC officials seemed to be suddenly ignoring fouls on Tyler Hansbrough. We may have mentioned that Karl Hess and his crew were among those certain officials who worked UNC’s recent victories against Miami and Clemson. Last night, Hess, Mike Eades and Brian Dorsey added a new twist.

Prior to last night’s game in Tallahassee, Hansbrough had played in 123 NCAA basketball games. In those games he had attempted 1,527 free throws for an average of 12.4 per game. In fact, he attempted a free throw in every college game until last night. Now credit FSU’s defense which is both big and excellent, but are we supposed to believe that, suddenly, after 123 games either Hansbrough or his defenders suddenly approached the game differently? We think not.

The likelihood that Hansbrough would reach the foul line was also impacted by his lack of playing time (only 26 minutes). His playing time was limited due to three first-half fouls. During those same 123 games, the Poplar Bluff Flash has committed a grand total of 304 personal fouls – that’s 2.4 per game. In fact, in 123 games Hansbrough has fouled out exactly once (March 9, 2007 v. FSU). Evidently, after 3.5 seasons of college hoop, Hansbrough suddenly got more aggressive and/or sloppy as well.

We missed the first foul, so we’ll take pass on that one. The second one was questionable and the third was looked to be another close call. But, the game winner was the fourth foul that had game announcer Tim Brando (who plainly stated he’s “not a fan”) calling it a “phantom foul” after the replay. It wasn’t even a close call in tight quarters where mistakes are easier to make.

So, is it a conspiracy against Hansbrough?

No.

What appears to be happening is ACC officials are letting the bigs beat and bang and ignoring the hard fouls while they quickly whistle touch fouls (not to mention some non-fouls). We’ve never understood this style of officiating. No doubt some folks from Duke or Wake can point to some smashmouth plays in the paint that failed to draw a whistle in their game last night.

Case in point: UNC’s long-armed freshman Ed Davis went to the basket hard for a dunk, and his shot was “blocked” cleanly according to Hess, Eades and Dorsey. This begs the question: “Can anybody block a 6’11” kids dunk without touching his hand or arm and what is the likelihood of stopping such a force without your body making contact with the other gigantic body coming your way at full speed?”

We say, virtually no one can. Yes, It can be done, but it is one of the most acrobatic plays in basketball (see NBA), and most 6’10” bigs simply aren’t that athletic or graceful. To suggest this amazing display of athletic skill happens three or four times a night is simply ridiculous – even in this day and age of amazing athletes.

On the other end of the court, Danny Green steals the ball drives the basket and scores a layup. The key basket late in the game ultimately allowed UNC to tie the score on Green’s free throw. The critical play was made possible by a “touch foul” – the Noles’ Derwin Kitchen “fouled” Green on his way to the basket. But, actually, he didn’t. Several replays show Kitchen taking a swipe at Green – and by “swipe” we mean “swing and a miss” – that resulted in no discernible contact. Whistle. Foul. Tie game with 1:12 left to play.

That inconsistency is what drives both UNC fans and anti-UNC fans crazy.

(Photos by ViewImages, AP Photo/Phil Coale, Phil Sears and Glenn Beil/Tallahassee Democrat)

ABRAHAM, MARTIN AND DEON

Anybody here seen my old fiend Deon Thompson?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He used to score a lot of baskets, but now he can’t get it done
We just looked around and he’s gone

Anybody here seen my old friend Deon?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He used to have a strong game, but now he seems to have none
We just looked around and he’s gone


(Brief instrumental interlude-organ)

Seriously, Deon, come back!

Leave that dark place and come back into the light. It’s just you and your buddies Ed and Tyler, they can’t do all the heavy lifting without you…

(Photo by Phil Coale/Associated Press)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

BAD TO THE BONE. Toly Hansbrough© might be considering yet another career change after last weekend's MONSTER JAM at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.

(Video by T.A.H. Worldwide Media Consolidated Extra)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

NICE SHOT. Word from Dubai is the course plays much easier in broad daylight.

Here, Andrew McLardy of South Africa plays his third shot to the par five 18th hole during the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis Course on January 29, 2009 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

THANK YOU. Georgia Tech's Shaday Woolcock memorializes the late Kay Yow on her shoes during an NCAA college basketball game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009.

North Carolina State coach Yow died Saturday after a two-decade battle with breast cancer.

(AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)

PICTURE OF THE DAY3

PINK UNIS. North Carolina wore their pink uniforms against Maryland to honor Kay Yow. The Lady Terps won the game.

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

COACH K ASKS PREZ TO INTERVENE

An avowed Republican and part-time party fundraiser, Duke head Coach Mike Krzxcudhv5ski reached across the aisle today and asked President Barack Obama to intercede on his Blue Devils’ behalf.

“I asked the President to force the networks to preempt their regularly scheduled programming tonight so all Americans could enjoy watching my No. 1 team play Wake Forest,” said Krzygnbpq2ski. “It was a ‘one leader to another leader’ kind of thing.”

“As I told that stupid newspaper in Raleigh, it’s sad,” said Coach K. “It’s sad that this hard-working group of kids doesn’t get recognized for their accomplishments."

(For the record: Here at T.A.H. we recognize their accomplishments and note that NOBODY is playing better anywhere in the land right now than Coach K’s boys. Their defense is particularly impressive and if they continue to play this way, there won’t be a late season swoon.)

Sources at the Raleigh News & Observer tell T.A.H. that, following Krzyertpk8ski’s eruption after the Devils rise to No. 2 in the polls earlier this month, a story was leaked to Coach K’s Tower of Power affiliating Gary Williams and the Maryland Terps with the perceived snub and lack of coverage of Duke’s incredible run up the poll to the coveted No. 2 spot.

“We think the story we planted had a lot to do with that beatdown they put on Maryland last Saturday,” an N&O staffer reportedly said.

So be sure and tune into ESPN tonight at 7pm, or else…

HOO WANTS TO BE A HOKIE?

Last week a fella named Paul Montana, a Senior Associate Editor for the Cavalier Daily, wrote an editorial about the Virginia v. Virginia Tech Rivalry…

Here’s how it got started:

My 5-year-old nephew came with me to the Virginia men’s basketball team’s 75-78 loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Sunday. In a feeble attempt to make conversation about sports with a 5-year-old, I asked him what I thought was a rhetorical question. “There weren’t a lot of U.Va. fans at that game, were there?”

Without pause, he responded, “That’s because Virginia Tech wins all the games.”

How poignant. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, cry or punch a hole in the wall.

Because he is right! In the last three years, Virginia is 1-7 against the Hokies in football and men’s basketball; the last time Virginia beat Virginia Tech in either sport was two years ago, when the men’s basketball team split its two contests with the Hokies; the Cavs’ home win was one of 11 conference games they won that year on their way to a four seed in the NCAA Tournament. That seems way too long ago.

I don’t bring up these facts to depress the U.Va. fan inasmuch as I would like to admit the following: When it comes to sports, Virginia Tech gets the clear nod.


Yike! Read the rest of the story here.

PACK UPSETS CANES

Upset? Well, knowing how hard it is to win any road game in the ACC, maybe it's not an upset, but if we asked who's better N.C. State or Miami? You'd say Miami, yes?

Not so fast, after an opening emotional tribute to Kay Yow, N.C. State freshman Julius Mays buried a straightaway 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in overtime to knock off the Hurricanes. It was Miami's second straight conference loss.

Courtney Fells had 24 points to lead the Wolfpack (11-7, 2-4 ACC) squandered a 19-point lead early in the second half and a pair of leads late in regulation and the extra period. Brandon Costner added 21 points and Ben McCauley had 12.

Mays finished with six points, but the backup point guard came up with the game's biggest play. With the clock winding down in a tie game, Mays pulled up over Brian Asbury and launched a 3-pointer that looked desperate.

As usual, Miami (14-6, 3-4) was led by Jack McClinton who scored 27 points.

(AP Photo/The News & Observer, Ethan Hyman)

TROUBLE IN TERP TOWN

Not only is Maryland on a losing streak that includes a 41-point blowout and a blown 16 point first-half lead, but now the Terps are bickering amongst themselves. Not the coaches or the players, but Gary Williams and the Athletic Department he’s been banging heads with for a few years now.

Last night after blowing a first-half lead and losing to Boston College issues surrounding the Terps went public. Regarding the game, Williams pointed out that the his kids play good defense in front of their bench, but lose intensity when they switch sides.

On Monday, the subject was also defense, but this time it was a back-and-forth between Willams and the A.D.’s office over who was responsible for two highly touted recruits deciding to go elsewhere. Williams claimed it wasn’t his decision and then the A.D. office provided the Washington Post with documents refuting him.

No doubt, Williams will eventually say his nemesis, Athletic Director Kay Yow, forced him to release the two -- South Florida's Gus Gilchrist and Kent State's Tyree Evans.

According to the Post:

"Yeah, and it wasn't my fault that they're not here. You know, that was somebody else's call," Williams said.

Kathy Worthington, Maryland's senior associate athletic director, yesterday called Williams's remarks "inaccurate" and said she was "very surprised by Gary's comments because I had been so involved with each recruit."

After Maryland lost to Boston College, 76-67, last night, Williams defended his remarks and his program, and added that "Kathy Worthington doesn't speak for me. She has never won a national championship. She has never done anything. She is an associate AD.

"Why do they jump on me all the time?" Williams said of school officials. "It's somebody else's call. Who said University of Maryland's call? Nobody. Why can't I say that? This is just giving you guys stuff to make me look bad."

And this little gem:
When asked if he gets the support he needs in recruiting from the athletic department, Williams said: "I don't want to get into that now. No comment."

The Post’s Mike Wise also weighed-in on whether or not the Terps can salvage the season.

TUESDAY NIGHT HOOPS

BOSTON COLLEGE 76, MARYLAND 67
Rakim Sanders and Corey Raji fueled a second-half comeback that carried resurgent Boston College past Maryland on Tuesday night.

Sanders scored 11 of his 16 points after halftime to help the Eagles (16-6, 4-3 ACC) win their third straight following a four-game skid.

Greivis Vasquez scored 18 for Maryland (13-7, 2-4), which has lost four of five. Seeking to bounce back from a 41-point loss to Duke on Saturday, the Terrapins took a 16-point lead in the first half. But the Terrapins went 11-for-37 from the floor in the second half and scored only 27 points.

The Eagles won despite getting only 10 points from leading scorer Tyrese Rice, who had two points on 1-for-3 shooting before getting his third foul with 6:26 left in the first half.

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK USED TO BE IN THE BIG EAST

Slightly disheartening to the purists.

That being said, Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney was named ACC Player of the Week while Boston College's Reggie Jackson was selected ACC Rookie of the Week.

In earning the player of the week award for the first time this year, Delaney averaged 25.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists as the Hokies picked up a pair of key ACC road wins over No. 1 Wake Forest and Miami.

In Virginia Tech's 78-71 win over the Demon Deacons Wednesday, the Baltimore, Md. sophomore had 21 points, eight rebounds and two steals. On Sunday, Delaney poured in a career-high 29 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists as the Hokies improved to 4-1 in league play with 88-83 overtime win at Miami.

Jackson averaged 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 blocked shot per game as the Eagles posted wins over Georgia Tech and NC State. In Tuesday's 80-76 overtime win in Atlanta, Jackson had eight points, three assists and a career-high nine rebounds.

In Saturday's 79-68 win over the visiting Wolfpack, the Colorado Springs, Colo., freshman tallied 10 points to ago along with three assists and two rebounds. On the week, Jackson shot .500 percent from the field (8-for-16).


(Reuters Photos)

THIS JUST IN FROM CLEMSON’S “ESSO-BLAZE-BLAZE”

That's Klimson-speak for "411."

Suck it, Jim Tressel!!!!

Apparently, Five-star quarterback recruit Tajh Boyd announced yesterday that he’s throwing Ohio State under the bus (where they belong) and that he will play college football at Clemson. (Assuming Daybo Sweeney doesn’t bench him).

Boyd, from Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va., announced his choice in a news conference at his high school. His three finalists were Oregon, Clemson and the Buckeyes.

Boyd is ranked as the No. 4 quarterback in the country by Scout.com and as the No. 4 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com. He was named co-MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month.

He previously de-committed from oral pledges to both West Virginia and Tennessee before narrowing his field to three. Boyd played most of his senior season with a torn ACL in his left knee and plans to have surgery Wednesday. He still passed for 1,600 yards and 25 touchdowns. As a junior he passed for 2,059 yards and 25 touchdowns.

In all likelihood, he will never fully recover and the Tigers will go 7-6 next season.

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

SUPERIOR BOWL MEDIA DAY. Yesterday was Media Day at Raymond James Stadium.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers speaks with the media.

Actor Jerry O'Connell and comedian Doug Benson interview members of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Media Day at Raymond James Stadium.

Quarterback Kurt Warner #13 of the Arizona Cardinals.

(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images, Scott Halleran/Getty Images, Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

MR. WHIPPLE. Please don't squeeze the Huricanes. (It's an age thing, you will either get it or you won't.)

Mark Whipple talks to the media after he was named new offensive coordinator at the University of Miami at a Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 press conference in Coral Gables, Fla. He left the Philadelphia Eagles to join the Hurricanes.


(AP Photo by J. Pat Carter)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

CONGRATS, CURLIN. Jess Jackson (of Kendall-Jackson fame) and partners' Curlin won his second consecutive Horse of the Year award on Monday night at the Eclipse Award Dinner at the Fontainebleau in Miami, FL.

He won five of seven starts, including the Dubai World Cup (seen here), the Woodward Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. In the Gold Cup, he became the first North American-based horse to top $10 million in career earnings.

(Getty Images)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

THIRD ACC HOOPS SQUAD TOPS POLL

Just so Coach Krzyhmlp2ski doesn’t get mad at us like he did the poor little ol’ Raleigh News & Observer earlier this year, we figured we better point out that Duke has been voted the No. 1 team in the nation.

You may recall Coach K giving the Research Triangle-area paper an earful after they failed to give Duke’s rightful ascension to the No. 2 spot the appropriate amount of ink and/or cyberspace. Not happenin’ to T.A.H., baby!

In another shakeup at the top, Duke (18-1) rose to No. 1 in this week's ESPN/USA Today poll. The Blue Devils received 30 of 31 first-place votes.

The top ranking changed hands for the third consecutive week as Coach K’s boys supplanted Wake at No. 1. The Blue Devils (18-1) received 30 of 31 first-place votes, with the other vote (News & Observer) going to No. 2 Connecticut (18-1). The Demon Deacons, also 18-1, fell to fourth after losing for the first time, 78-71 to Virginia Tech in their only game last week.

Fasten your seatbelt as Duke visits Demon Deacons on Wednesday night (ESPN, 7 ET).

(AP Photo by Gerry Broome)

Monday, January 26, 2009

SUNDAY NIGHT HOOPS

VIRGINIA TECH 88, MIAMI 83 OT – Like two heavyweight boxers, the Hokies and Canes stood toe-to-toe and duked it out for 40 minutes. The question was which pair of sluggers would prevail: Virginia Tech’s Malcom Delaney (29 points) and A.J. Vasallo (28 points) or Miami’s star duo of Dwayne Collins (23 points) and sharpshooter Jack McClinton (20 points). Answer: Delaney and Vasallo.

Virginia Tech (14-5, 4-1 ACC), coming off an upset of then No. 1 Wake Forest, again went on the road to capture a hard fought victory over Miami. The Canes (14-5, 3-3) had leads in both halves and in the overtime, but the Hokies kept fighting back with Delaney and Vasallo doing the heavy lifting.

Delaney's 3-pointer with 1:49 left in overtime gave Virginia Tech the lead for good at 84-83. The win gave the Hokies sole possession of second place in the conference.


No. CLEMSON 73, GEORGIA TECH 59 – Clemson (17-2, 3-2 ACC) recovered from its two-game losing streak with a win over the Jackets. After opening the season 16-0, the Tigers lost to top-five teams Wake Forest and Clemson and Georgia Tech turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. The Yellow Jackets are 9-10 and winless in the ACC at 0-6.

Terrence Oglesby hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 points, Trevor Booker had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Tigers.

NON-FOULS CAUSE HANSBROUGH’S TEETH TO LOOSEN AND NEED BRACES

Tyler Hansbrough’s habit of getting the ball in the paint and then putting himself clearly in the path of flailing arms and grabbing hands of opposing players in a manner (according to some fans) that causes referees to actually call fouls when those arms and hands make contact with various parts of his body as opposed to the ball has landed the former Player of the Year in the dentist’s chair.

This season, many ACC fans have suddenly forgotten that a major component of Hansbrough’s game has always been to draw fouls and make free throws – after all, he is on pace to set the NCAA record for free throws, and it’s unlikely that all happened this season. None the less, when the human erector set gets hammered in the lane, many are quick to say “Foul? That wasn’t a foul!!”

Of course, it is a well known fact that the game officials with years of training and a reasonably clear view from 15 feet away can’t possibly see as well as the fan in the upper deck or the legions of would-be-refs at home watching on T.V. High-def television has only added to the confidence of these eagle-eyed wanna-be zebras.

In spite of the protestations to the contrary, Psycho T has always been a frequent visitor to the charity stripe – 315 times as a sophomore and 377 times as a junior. He’s closing in on Dickie Hemric of Wake Forest who holds the record of 907 made free throws. Hansbrough has canned 861 so far.

It is widely believed in some circles outside of Chapel Hill that 103 of those resulted from actual fouls and 768 were gifts from “pro-UNC” officials still traumatized by Dean Smith.

Clearly, ACC officials in last Thursday’s Clemson at UNC game had had enough of Hansbrough’s faking and their fellow officials clear need to call a foul when it appeared one was actually committed. So last Thursday, Karl Hess, Roger Ayers and Bob Donato decided enough was enough. Apparently, they got the memo from Mike Wood ,Mike Eades and Les Jones who didn’t see too many fouls committed on Hansbrough in the previous game vs. Miami. The photo below is from the Raleigh News-Observer and the caption and photo are untouched by T.A.H.

As a result, Hansbrough had just nine free throw attempts while earning a trip to the dentist for braces to secure at least one loose tooth that somehow lost its grip on Hansbrough’s gum without anybody from Clemson actually touching him. Call it a “54-0 Miracle.”

OK, now that we have both sides of the aisle all riled up, here’s what really going down. Truth be told, Hansbrough’s tooth got loose on a play that wasn’t a foul. In the ordinary course of the game, Clemson forward Jerai Grant's left elbow caught Hansbrough square in the pie hold. He left the game briefly and returned with a mouthpiece.

On last Thursday, he had clear braces fitted around that tooth and several other upper teeth as well . The medical staff will re-evaluate the team's leading scorer in about a week, at which point they might remove the braces if the tooth is more stable, or leave them in if it’s not.

Ultimately, Hansbrough’s fewer trips to the foul line is nothing more than inconsistent officiating which is fairly common in college hoops. Even within a game, what is and isn’t deemed a foul often changes from half to half. The other issue at play is simply that teams have devised a strategy to keep Hansbrough from taking over games – push him outside as far as possible to limit his touches.

So far, that, and a lot of beating and banging, seems to be working to some degree.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm…

Meet Majed Elmalk, who currently holds the world record for holding the most scorpions in his mouth.

Yes, you heard that correctly: Guy. Record. Scorpions. Mouth.

Before we saw this photo, you could have convinced us the record was one. Evidently, it’s more than twenty, but so far everything we have seen about this focuses on the whole “scorpions in the mouth thing,” and no legit journalist seems able to tell us exactly how many that might be.
(Photo by Fahad/Shadeed/ REUTERS)

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