Saturday, February 14, 2009


There are reasons – many of them, in fact, too many of them to address here – why ACC hoop is better than Big East hoop. OK, we will mention one – Big East teams average 37 points per game. Yawn.

However, what happened a few Saturday nights ago at the Duncan Donuts Center in the Providence v. Marquette game has to go to the head of this list for now.

Mind you, a fan didn’t get drunk before the game and have sex with a fan from the opposing team whom she’d never met in the Men’s Room during the game (Iowa v. Minnesota 2008), but this incident, while scary in many ways, is Weird Hall of Fame material.

Here’s how it goes…

Turns out that after Jeff Xavier gets a “casual” elbow in the eye, his brother hauls himself, his big coat and his extensive criminal record onto the court to confront the ref while security staff for the Duncan Donut Center are doing what? Anybody?

We don’t know for sure, but the stereotypical response about a security staff that includes a number of off-duty cops has to involve coffee and crumbs…

Needless to say the event was a bit unnerving. Jonathan Xavier was arrested and later convicted of violating his parole which left him in the pokey for sixteen days.

Xavier still faces a disorderly conduct charge for coming down the stands.

Fast forward to – a blog about Providence Hoop.

Top 10 Reasons Jonathan Xavier Walked onto the Court

10. Jonathan was furious that Geoff McDermott was taking the foul shots for Jeff. He thought the NCAA rule was that if a player was physically unable to take the free throws, the duty would go to the next of kin.

9. Jonathan was angry with the ref for not calling traveling on Jeff. He always got away with that shit when they were growing up and playing in the backyard.

8. None of the other referees ever return his phone calls or emails about other blown calls after the games. This was just easier.

7. Jonathan had only ever been to one other basketball game his entire life — a certain Pacers - Pistons game in 2004.

6. Was just storming the court like a normal fan after the Friars just beat a ranked team. Was just asking the ref why they were still playing when the game was over?

5. Jonathan had a really good knock-knock joke to tell McDermott while he was taking foul shots. Geoff was struggling at the line, and Jonathan thought it would help loosen him up.

4. He swore he heard his seat row and number called out over the loud speaker. He thought he was going to take a half court shot to try and win a prize. Turns out it was just the voices in his head.

3. Thought the referee controlled the thermostat in the building. He just wanted him to turn the heat up!

2. Marvin Barnes was watching the game at home (while lifting weights, playing a pickup game, and elbowing people in the face) and decided it was the perfect time for Geoff McDermott to TAKE THE TORCH. He texted Jonathan Xavier and told him to GIVE HIM THE TORCH before he took some foul shots. Jonathan just wanted to ask the ref first before bringing THE TORCH onto the court — You know, it being a fire hazard and all.

1. Jonathan was really excited about the deal he got on his parka at the Burlington Coat Factory, and just wanted to let everyone on the court know. After all, as Michael Scott said: “I love Burlington Coat Factory. You go in there with $645, you are literally a king”.
Nice, Friarblog, NICE!

(Xavier: AP Photo by Andres Leighton)

Friday, February 13, 2009


Friend O’ T.A.H., Gene “Wahoo” Hansen from down Sandbridge way has been suffering through disappointing Virginia football and basketball seasons. Some might even add the word “again” to the end of the last sentence. But, Gene has managed to keep his sense of humor for a variety of reasons including he’s a cool dude.

We’ve seen this video before as a Dallas Cowboy spoof, but, frankly, it’s funnier in its current version called “Hitler Finds Out UVA Sucks.”


Billions of words have flooded the Internet since Wednesday night’s Carolina victory at Duke. We won’t belabor the game itself much longer, but here are a few things that need to be added to the list.

ITEM #1: There was much talk about Hansbrough, Green, Copeland and Frasor winning all four of their visits to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Few mentioned, UNC stalwart, the injured Marcus Ginyard, who is also undefeated as a team member by class (he’s a senior as well).

We presume the omission is related to the fact that the Ginyard didn’t play in the game due to injury and now redshirt. However, we bet he counts it as a “win” in his career memory banks.

ITEM #2: Speaking of numbers, we don’t have the database or the patience to research it manually, but how many times has a team given up 51 points in the first half and come back to win? Win by double digits? We’d love to know.

ITEM #3: The margin of victory and UNC’s second half dominance are understated by the final score of 101-87. For the first 16:30 of the second half, the Heels outscored the Blue Devils 44-20 building an insurmountable 17 point lead at 88-71 with 3:30 left in the game. Coach K’s boys narrowed the margin to eight during the final “Oh My God! We’re Gonna Beat Duke Again Angst, Panic, Celebrate” minutes, but the Heels regained their composure to close out the game.

(Photo by Robert Willet/Raleigh News & Observer)


Now that sucks.

There has been some ink and some cyber ink about the Duke Class of 2009 never seeing a win by their beloved over the Tar Heels in their house on Coach K court.

Yesterday, Adam Lucas wrote a nice piece called “Loosen UP” which talked about the differences between the two schools’ fans/students. It includes a link to a K’ville blog by what seems like a nice enough bunch of kids determined to revel in their Tent 1 status.

There is a completely different process to get tickets at the two schools, and another one still at Duke for the Carolina game. At Carolina, there is a lottery system. If you don’t get a ticket, you watch the game somewhere. If the Heels lose you stay where you are and party. If the Heels beat Duke you head to Franklin Street for a major celebration. The protocols are fairly simple.

At Duke, kids line up in late December for UNC/Duke student tix, and there are strict rules about how many kids can get tickets and how much time and how many nights they have to spend outside to do so. If Duke beats Carolina, you are, no doubt, reminded that the spoil-sport Durham police department has revoked your “bon fire” permit some years ago. Good news is, you haven’t needed it lately.

Here are some highlights from Lucas’ article:

Duke fans believe spending 196 hours in a tent indicates passion and devotion. Carolina fans believe 196 hours in a tent indicates a telling lack of other social engagements. The undergrads inhabiting Tent 1 in Krzyzewskiville staked their claim on Dec. 26, 47 days ago. Added over four years of college life, that's 188 days--over half a year--in a tent to watch four losses.

What's great about the rivalry, and what makes the two camps so distinct, is that Duke people have the same lack of understanding about the Carolina way that we have about their philosophies.

In the same way that no Tar Heel has ever left Cameron muttering, "If we had cheer sheets, Chapel Hill would be a better place," no Blue Devil fan has ever come back from the Smith Center and said, "Hey, we need to honor a few more jerseys."

To read the whole story click here.


Standard prize: Free lunch and libations and the 3rd Annual Today’s ACC Headlines Long Boozy ACC Tournament Lunch.

Referee Toney Green: “…”

Coach Mike Kryzdlpws2ski: “…”

Click on “comment” to show off your wit.

(Photo by Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer)



A) Former Tar Heel, All-World Linebacker and Major League Screw-up Lawrence Taylor will follow fellow NFLers Jerry Rice, Emmit Smith and Warren Sapp onto the TV show Dancing With The Stars.

B) The New York Times would write an article about it.



A) Brett Favre retires…again.

B) Some people actually believe him…again.

(Reuters Photo)



A) That’s the lowly 0-16 Detroit Lions’ 2009 team calendar – who would buy such a thing?

B) The guy on the front? That’s Roy Williams. He doesn’t play for the Lions. He hasn’t played for Lions since he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in early October of 2008.

Nice, Lions, NICE!


The mayors of Chapel Hill and Durham had a friendly wager (and by that we mean “weak a** wager”) on Wednesday night’s game between UNC and Duke.

"If Duke loses, Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy will receive tickets to a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center, the newly opened largest performing arts theater in the Carolinas,” according to a release from the mayor’s offices.

“If UNC loses, Durham Mayor Bill Bell is invited to a night on Franklin Street and Asian cuisine at the Lantern Restaurant, which the News and Observer ranked as the 2008 No. 1 restaurant in the Triangle.”

But wait, there's more...

If UNC wins, Foy will supply Bell with a Carolina blue sweatshirt to wear at the next Durham City Council meeting. If Duke wins, Bell will give Foy a Duke blue sweatshirt to wear at the next Chapel Hill Town Council meeting.

Now, the mayor wearing a UNC sweatshirt at a Durham town council meeting has some merit, but the rest just sounds a little lame.

They should have worked this tee shirt into the mix.


PETA supporters Caleb Wheeldon, foreground, and Andrea McIntyre hand out leaflets outside Madison Square Garden during the 133rd annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show Monday, Feb. 9, 2009, in New York.

PETA contends that the American Kennel Club promotes pure-breeding of dogs that is harmful to their health. They would prefer that the animals were free of human intervention so they could run wild and starve like this poor guy in Moscow.

The KKK protest is both in bad taste and ineffective, but PETA doesn’t mind going to great lengths to alienate the overwhelming majority of the people they are actually trying reach. Zealots who’s primary strategy is “preaching to the choir” have never been particularly effective at delivering their message or finding a common sense-middle-ground on their issues.

However, if you gonna go out and protest fur, then have your activists trade in the white sheets for white bikinis. Now that’s effective guerrilla marketing…

Here, two of PETAs foot soilders brave the 23 degree cold to protest against fur clothing before the start of the men's Alpine Skiing World Cup Downhill race on the new Kandahar slope in Garmisch-Partenkirchen January 31, 2009.

Meanwhile, back at the dog show, Stump, a Sussex Spaniel, poses for photographers after winning the Best In Show award of the annual Westminster Dog Show in New York February 10, 2009.

(Reuters photos and Getty Images)

Thursday, February 12, 2009



No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA 101, No. 5 DUKE 87

“He flops! He whines! He travels every time!”

Well… no.

He may flop, he may whine and he may travel in the eyes of the Crazies who chant the mantra above ad nauseum every game, but what he really does is win EVERY time he comes to Durham.

Other than a couple fellas who played for a very good Wake Forest teams from 1992-97, nobody else has done what Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Mike Copeland and Bobby Frasor have done – win four straight on Coach K Court. Not bad, considering the other two would be Tim Duncan and Rusty La Rue, and Duncan is walking around with a four NBA Championship rings and two MVP trophies.

To make matters worse for Duke, the Heels hung 100 points on them in Cameron for the first time in 26 years. Especially impressive considering it was Duke who was on schedule to hit the century mark after posting 52 first half points.

Clearly, at halftime trailing 52-44, North Carolina had a decision to make: Play their beloved racehorse up tempo style in the second half or play defense. Having given up 91 to Maryland recently and on pace to give up 104 to the Blue Devils, the decision for Ol’ Roy was probably easy.

Defense, and a side order of Ty Lawson.

UNC’s glaring weakness on defense is their inability to stop dribble penetration. Last night, they discovered that if you have Ty Lawson on your team, every team you play has the exact same problem.

Carolina buckled down and played much tougher half-court defense which cooled down the hot shooting Devils who had made 61.8 percent of their shots including six of nine from behind the arc in the opening stanza.

It was a completely different game in the second half for Duke. The Heels duplicated their 50 percent shooting of the first half, while holding Duke to 36 percent (13 of 36) and a miserable 13 percent (2-15) behind the three-point line.

As we like to say here at T.A.H. – game over.

Ty Lawson scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half, and all the UNC starters scored in double figures. Tyler Hansbrough scored a quiet 17 points that included a shot clock beating, demoralizing second-half three pointer. Wayne Ellington and Danny Green both scored 15 points, and Deon Thompson’s offensive alarm clock finally went off in the first half where he scored 10 of his 12 points.

The Heels (22-2, 8-2) are the first team to go triple digits on Duke this season and they got there in their typical fashion – using runs of 25-11 and 14-0 to first take the lead for good and then stretch it to 17 points.

Kyle Singler scored 22 points and Jon Scheyer added 20 to lead Duke (20-4, 7-3).

North Carolina is now in sole possession of first place in the ACC.

In his post game interview, Coah K was succinct, “We aren’t as good as they are right now. They’re better than us. It’s going to be difficult to beat them.”

GAME NOTE: Senior Bobby Frasor (rhymes with razor, not Frazier like the boxer or the evergreen) finally emerged from his shooting slump. The former high school All-America from Chicago has struggled with his shot all season and had not made a three-pointer since George Bush was president.

On his final trip to Cameron, “Razor” Frasor, made 3 of 4 from “Treyville at Kville” scoring nine points in 27 minutes.

(Photos by Kevin Cox/Getty Images)



Wake is young and they continue to have difficulty with the Wolfpack who have now whipped them four straight times and five out of the last six.

Brandon Costner scored 23 points, including 11 in a row early in the second half, and Farnold Degand tied a career high with 14 points. Courtney Fells and Tracy Smith added 12 points apiece for N.C. State (13-9, 3-6 ACC), which watched a 20-point second half lead shrink to two in the final minute.

N.C. State students stormed the court after the clock expired in Wake Forest's third consecutive road loss. The Demon Deacons (18-4, 5-4 ACC) have lost four of six games since starting the season 16-0 and earning the nation's No. 1 ranking.

Coach Dino Gaudio was not pleased.

"We had two instances where we didn't block out on a free throw, which is inexcusable," Gaudio said. "One time, we didn't box out the shooter on a free throw. You learn to do that in the third grade."


Malcolm Delaney scored nine of his 23 points in a four-minute stretch late in the second half and Virginia Tech extended a three-point lead to as many as 12 Wednesday night to hang on and win the battle of the Techs.

A.D. Vassallo added 18 points and Jeff Allen had 15 and nine rebounds for the Hokies (16-7, 6-3 ACC), who won their second straight after losing two in a row.

It was the third consecutive loss and the eighth in nine games for the Yellow Jackets (10-13, 1-9).

Gani Lawal led Georgia Tech with 23 points and eight rebounds and Alade Aminu scored 13.

(AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds and


This item, including the photo and headline, comes from the Chris Case’s Yahoo! Sports blog on NCAA hoop called The Dagger. Pretty much sums it up.

T.A.H. will give you our version of the post mortem later today plus comments on swooning Wake Forest and the fabulously resilient Hokies.

Here it is, straight from Chris:

This photo about sums up Duke's second half performance tonight against North Carolina:

I wish I had the video of that. Coach K's head spun around like he was in "The Exorcist". Krzyzewski hasn't been that mad since JJ Redick criticized him in a free-verse poem.

North Carolina made a serious statement tonight, namely that if they can play any semblance of defense (like they did in the final 20 minutes tonight), they're going to be very tough to beat come March. Even on a night when Tyler Hansbrough played average basketball, the Heels still rolled over one of premiere teams in college basketball.

If you watched tonight's game and didn't know anything at all about Carolina, you'd have thought that Hansbrough was maybe the fourth option behind Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington. And that's why UNC is so dangerous. They run so deep that they can still dominate even when their best player blends into the crowd.

With the win, Hansbrough and Green became the first opposing players to go 4-0 in Cameron Indoor Stadium since Tim Duncan and Rusty LaRue did it for Wake Forest in the mid-'90s.

(Coach K yelling and hurling spittle is classic leadership and teaching all mixed together. Combine that with a J.J. Redick poetry refrence, and well…it’s gold, Jerry, GOLD!
Oh, and Chris you spelled Coach K's name wrong - it's Kryzhgmlpw4ski.)


There was a little basketball game in North Carolina last night.

The victors took to Franklin Street, the main drag in Chapel Hill, for some outdoor studying.

Evidently, the participants take it rather seriously...

No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA 101, No. 5 DUKE 87



(AP Photo/JASON ARTHURS /The News and Observer)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


No. 11 CLEMSON 87, BOSTON COLEGE 77 – Terrence Oglesby hit six 3-pointers, scoring 18 of his 21 points in the second half to lead No. 11 Clemson to an 87-77 victory over Boston College.

Trevor Booker had 21 points and 13 rebounds, K.C. Rivers added 17 points and Sykes scored 12 with nine rebounds for the Tigers (20-3, 6-3 ACC).

Rakim Sanders scored 23 with eight rebounds for BC (18-8, 6-5) and Tyrese Rice scored 17 as the Eagles dropped to 1-4 against ranked teams with Duke (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) up next on Sunday.

The victory gave Clemson a school record third consecutive 20-game winning season.

No. 25 FLORIDA STATE 68, VIRGINIA 57 – Toney Douglas (#23) scored 19 points and matched a career high with seven assists Tuesday as the 25th-ranked Seminoles defeated the Wahoos 68-57, handing Virginia its eighth consecutive loss – including two to the Seminoles.

The Seminoles (19-5, 6-3 ACC) shook off a woeful first-half shooting effort (20 points) with a blistering 70.8 percent performance in the second half (48 points).
Virginia (7-13, 1-8) was led by Sylven Landesberg's 14 points.

(AP Photos/Michael Dwyer and Phil Coale)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


He could make you laugh or he could make you cry. In a good game, or on one great jaw-dropping play either in the gym or on the street, he could make you do both.

James “Fly” Williams had game. Lots and lots of game.

Austin Peay State University recently honored their favorite son and retired Williams’ jersey on February 5 in a ceremony at the Governor’s Dunn Center.

Williams was born in Brooklyn and learned the game on the streets. He was dominant at Madison High School, but really earned his stripes on the playground with famous players the likes of World B. Free and Earl “the Goat” Manigault. By all accounts, Fly would play anywhere, anytime. He is still considered one of the bets “streetballers” of all time.

After Williams completed high school, he was recruited by APSU assistant Leonard Hamilton who is now the head coach at Florida State. When Fly, who earned his nickname for his flamboyant style of dress, arrived in Clarksville, TN sporting a floppy hat and a big afro, both he and the locals had to make a few adjustments.

"I was flamboyant; it was the style. Clyde (Walt Frazier) had Clyde, and I was Fly. I was Fly before Curtis Mayfield was Super Fly,” Williams once said.

Anxious to get on the national basketball map, Williams did not disappoint the Austin Peay faithful averaging 29.4 points per game his first season, and leading the Governors to the Big Dance. With Fly scoring 26 points, APSU defeated Jacksonville in the opening round only to lose to perennial power Kentucky in the next.

Williams popularity soared much like the Fly’s game. Fans lined up to get a seat in APSU’s "The Little Red Barn" and Williams kept scoring – 27.5 points in his second season while again leading the Governors to conference championship and the NCAA tournament. Although they were crushed by Notre Dame 108-66 in the opening round, Williams again put up 26 points on the national stage.

But it wasn’t all about offense. According to Hamilton, Fly won the team trophy awarded to the player that took the most charges both years he played at ASPU.

The Fly left college after his second season to pursue a career in pro ball with a gentle nudge from the APSU hierarchy who made certain claims regarding his “eligibility.” He was drafted by Denver in the first round of the 1974 American Basketball Association (ABA) draft and eventually sold to the Spirits of St. Louis.

Unfortunately for Fly, the ABA gig didn’t work out – His scoring was erratic (only 9.4 points per game) and he was known for his showmanship rather than his scoring proficiency. The National Basketball Association (NBA) orchestrated the ABA-NBA merger and Williams didn’t make the cut. He later played in the Continental Basketball Association and in Israel.

Williams’ off-court career can be described as checkered with words like alcohol, drugs and bad temper working their way into the mix. Addiction and prison were also on Fly’s agenda, and his basketball career was ended when he was shot (not the first or last time as bad luck would have it) in a robbery attempt.

Today, Williams, 55, works with kids in his native Brooklyn and the ceremony last week to retire his jersey was so much fun that Fly ended up in a local hospital for a few days. He is currently resting, and test regarding major illnesses have turned up negative. Doctors expect him to recover fully and return home shortly.

But the jersey ceremony wasn’t Fly’s first return to Clarkesville. During an earlier visit, he and APSU coach Dave Loos pulled up to the Dunn Center in a limousine. “They say this is the house that Fly built,” Loos told Williams. “If that’s true,” Fly said, “why is it named after somebody else?”

Good one, Fly.

But ultimately, Fly Williams will be best remembered for a very clever and funny chant that would have the NCAA higher-ups in Kansas City squirming in their starched shirts and suits had it been popular today. During Fly’s playing days, the APSU faithful would chant at length:

"Fly is open, let's go Peay!"


From a mass e-mail that went out last week. Noted without comment.

The University of Virginia has some of the most loyal and generous fans of any school in the country and we are extremely appreciative of that support. You have made significant investments in our program and I recognize that you expect results. As the Athletics Director I expect results as well.

I realize that many fans are frustrated and I want to make sure you know that I am frustrated as well. You should also know that I am committed to making sure we are the very best we can be in each of our 25 programs. Many of our programs have performed extremely well over the past several years, while others need our attention and support.

Improvements in football and men's basketball are a priority. All of our programs will continue to receive the support they need. The programs that need to improve will be given the proper focus and attention.

Like you, I expect us to win our in-state battles, and to compete for ACC and national championships. This was part of our plan several years ago when we stated publicly that we wanted to be a top ten program consistently in the Directors Cup standings. We remain committed to building a program that will finish in the top ten on a consistent basis.

You have my commitment that I will do everything needed to get all of our programs on track. The intended results are for our student-athletes and teams to have high levels of achievement, academically and athletically, while contributing to the quality of the University community.

Craig Littlepage
Director of Athletics


North Carolina and Duke have one of those famous rivalry games coming up down on Tobacco Road on Wednesday night. ESPN will make you think it’s the second-most important basketball game ever (with the most important game still to come), and while it’s not, the winner will have sole possession of first place in the ACC.

And, then there’s that whole bragging rights thing…

Both of these teams are well known to even casual fans. The book on each is pretty simple. Duke is a very good team that plays great defense. They are well coached at all times and when they shoot well they win.

Oddly enough, the Tar Heels aren’t much different. They too play better defense than you might think, but they also have to make jump shots to win for the same reason as the Blue Devils.

And that reason is that neither team is very big. If the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels can’t outrun a team, they are both at a noticeable disadvantage in the front court.

At the end of the day, the fundamental differences between these two teams are playing style and Tyler Hansbrough. Duke, like most teams, simply doesn’t have a player of his caliber. Nonetheless, both teams are small by “see you in April” standards.

Both Carolina and Duke start front lines that are dwarfed by UConn or Wake Forest standards. Carolina’s front line of Hansbrough, Danny Green and Deon Thompson measure 6’9”, 6’5” and 6’8”. Duke starts out with Gerald Henderson, Lance Thomas and Kyle Singler who measure 6’4”, 6’8” and 6’8” respectively. Coach K brings in 7’1” Brian Zoubek off the bench and Roy Williams counters with Carolina’s leading rebounder 6’10” freshman Ed Davis. Carolina lost talented 7’0” freshman Tyler Zeller to an injury in the second game of the year.

Here’s how they measure up:

K. Singler, 6’8” – 15.8 ppg, 8.2 rebounds
G. Henderson, 6’4” – 15.2 ppg, 5.0 rebounds
J. Scheyer, 6’5” – 13.0 ppg, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists
G. Paulus, 6’1” – 6.1 ppg, 1.5 assists*
L. Thomas, 6’8” – 5.5 ppg, 3.2 rebounds

N. Smith, 6’2” – 9.5 ppg, 1.7 assists
B. Zoubek, 7’1” – 5.6 ppg, 4.4 rebounds

* you can swap Paulus for Smith as Coach K recently did, but the numbers don’t change much.

T. Hansbrough, 6’9” – 22.1 ppg, 7.8 rebounds
W. Ellington, 6’4” – 15.4 ppg, 4.5 rebounds , 2.6 assists
T. Lawson 5’11” 15.3, 2.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists
D. Green, 6’5” – 13.5 ppg, 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists
D. Thompson, 6’8” – 11.3 ppg, 6.6 rebounds

E. Davis, 6’10” – 6.7 ppg, 7.4 rebounds
L. Drew II, 6’1” – 1.9 ppg, 2.3 assists
B. Frasor 6’3” – 2.4 ppg, 1.5 assists

As you can see, neither squad is mammoth, and while that won’t be a big factor Wednesday night it may well be in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Wake Forest can send out a front line that goes 6’11”, 6’11” and 7’0” on any given night. Florida State can come at you with 6’11, 7’1” and three 6’9” kids. And how about No. 1 UConn? Their roster includes Ater Majok (6’10”), Johathan Mandeldove (7’0”), Charles Okwandu (7’1”) and Hasheem Thabeet (7’3”). Yike.

Now both Duke and Carolina compensate for their lack of height with other virtues. Carolina is more athletic and up-tempo, and Duke is smaller and more methodical. The two teams play very different styles, and those styles are born out by their statistics.

Carolina is the second leading scoring team in the nation at 92.3 points per game while the more defensive minded jump shooting Blue Devils average 78.2 per game. That put’s Duke at 29th nationally – the meat in a Big East sandwich between Pittsburgh (28) and Connecticut (30).

The Heels have more rebounds as you might expect (984-910), but they also have fewer turnovers (311-302) which you might not. Carolina also has more blocks (137-101) while the Blue Devils have a few more steals (207-204). Another glaring number is trips to the charity stripe: 601 for North Carolina and 550 for Duke.

All of that aside, what jumps out the most when comparing the two rosters is the simple fact that all five Tar Heel starters are in double figures and they produce over 12 assists per game. Again, part of that is attributed to their up tempo racehorse style of play. If you are going to average 92.3 per game, a bunch of guys have to score in double figures otherwise the math simply doesn’t work.

However, both teams are in trouble when their shooting turns cold. Duke has shot poorly in their three losses and that’s critical for a Blue Devil team with no inside offense. UNC, when they are playing well, run their offense from the inside out relying on Hansbrough to soften up opponents while they throw double teams at him to produce open shots for his mates. In close games, this time tested strategy for success seems to occasionally slip their collective Tar Heel minds.

In their two losses, Carolina shot poorly especially in the second half when they managed just 29 percent against Boston College and 28 percent against Wake Forest. Neither of these teams can survive games like that.

While the Devils are known for their defense, Carolina’s surprises folks when they decide to really work at it. This typically happens at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half. Ol’ Roy’s Heels seem to turn it on and off like a light switch. Their stats are pretty good too as the Heels are ranked nationally in the eight major defensive categories.

The Tar Heels might not be as good defensively as they need to be, but they're not as bad as you might think. According to stat guy, North Carolina is ranked 21st nationally in defensive efficiency, ahead of such stalwarts as Pittsburgh (26), Arizona State (31), Clemson (32), UCLA (38), Michigan State (42) and Oklahoma (47). On the same system, Duke ranks 18th behind ACC teams Florida State (13th) and Wake Forest (5th) . The most glaring weakness is Carolina’s inability to stop good dribble-drive penetrating guards like Tyrese Rice and Jeff Teague.

So, while Duke is very solid in all the defensive categories, can they keep up with the bigger, faster, more athletic Tar Heels? Probably not.

John Feinstein, who is a Duke grad, summed it up this way recently in the Washington Post:

Here is a fact that Krzyzewski knows better than anyone: Duke is not that good. That might sound ridiculous about a team that is 20-3 and tied for first place in the ACC. But this Duke team, like the past two that didn't play the second weekend of the NCAA tournament -- is very fragile. The Blue Devils have no inside offensive presence -- the Blue Devils attempted a school-record 39 three-pointers Saturday -- and lack quickness on the perimeter. So if they aren't making three-pointers, they can lose to almost anyone. They made 8 of 23 in the second half Saturday. That was enough -- barely.

Wednesday night, if both teams have “average” nights, North Carolina is bigger, faster and better statistically at almost every position than Duke. If one team shoots lights out and the other is cold, it could turn ugly early and not be the barn burner everyone expects from this rivalry. If both teams play and shoot well, fasten your seatbelt.

Hansbrough and Henderson are reliable, they will get their numbers Wednesday night. Singler and Ellington may hold the keys to the game while either Green or Scheyer needs to produce for his team to win. All six of them are capable of breakout performances at any given time. Lawson has to play well and not get frustrated as he did in both previous ACC losses. If Paulson plays well and shoots well, Duke is a different and better team.

Finally, there is one other interesting twist. This game is being played in Cameron Indoor Stadium where North Carolina seniors Tyler Hansbrough, Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard and Mike Coepland have never lost a game.


They are undefeated (3-0) on Coach K court and, no doubt, looking to stay that way.

(Photos by Sara Davis/AP Photos/Getty Images/Reuters Images)



In earning Player of the Week honors for the third time in his career, Jack McClinton averaged 33.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals as the Hurricanes defeated sixth-ranked Wake Forest, 79-52, on Wednesday and lost at No. 4 Duke Saturday in overtime 78-75.

The Baltimore, Md. senior made 23-of-37 from the floor (.621) in the two games, including 11-of-16 from behind the arc (.688) and nine-of-11 from the free throw line (.818). Against the Demon Deacons, McClinton tallied 32 points, including a season-high six three-pointers as Miami set school records for the largest margin of victory (27) against both a ranked opponent and an ACC opponent. Three days later, McClinton scored a season-high 34 points in Cameron Indoor Stadium and forced overtime with a 28-foot three-pointer with 20 second left to play. The 6-1 senior guard scored Miami's final 11 points of regulation and all seven overtime points.

In earning the rookie award for the first time this season, Solomon Alabi scored 25 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked seven shots in helping Florida State to a pair of come-from behind victories over Georgia Tech and on the road against 10th-ranked Clemson.

Alabi hit on 10-of-15 from the field (.667) and five-of-seven (.714) from the free throw line and had three steals as the Seminoles improved to 5-3 in the ACC and 18-5 overall. In Saturday's 65-61 win at Clemson, Alabi had a career-high 17 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots and two steals as Florida State rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to claim its second win against a ranked team this year. Earlier in the week, the Kaduna, Nigeria, freshman had eight points - including a key basket late in the game - seven rebounds and two blocked shots in a 62-58 win over the Yellow Jackets.

(AP Photos by Sara D. Davis and Ethan Hyman)


SPORTS PREZ: Now President Barack Obama is seen here swinging a baseball bat as a child.

President Obama said baseball star Alex Rodriguez's confession of steroid use was "depressing," but added that league officials were at least now taking the problem seriously.

(Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)


ZOU CREW. Not a particularly good look.

Missouri Tigers fans storm the court after the Tigers defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 62-60 on February 9, 2009 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Monday, February 9, 2009






HOKIES FINALLY BEAT STATE: A.D. Vassallo drained four free throws in the final 16.4 seconds of overtime to seal Virginia Tech's 91-87 win over North Carolina State on Sunday.

The Hokies (15-7, 5-3 ACC) rallied from a late 18-point deficit in the win, which put an end to their six-game losing streak against the Wolfpack (12-9, 2-6).

WAKE WAKES UP: Jeff Teague scored 27 points, freshman Al-Farouq Aminu added a season-high 26 and Wake Forest bounced back with a win voer Boston College.

James Johnson had 12 points and 10 rebounds while L.D. Williams added 11 points for the Demon Deacons (18-3, 5-3 ACC).

Joe Trapani had 19 points to lead Boston College (18-7, 6-4), but just four of those came after halftime, when Dino Gaudio put Williams -- his top lock-down defender -- on him. Tyrese Rice added 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting and Corey Raji had 14. Josh Southern added 12 points for BC, which had its five-game winning streak snapped.

TERPS HANG ON: Greivis Vasquez scored 19 points and Maryland held off Georgia Tech at the buzzer for its eighth straight victory over the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech had two chances at the win after Eric Hayes missed the first free throw of a 1-and-1 with 16.7 seconds left. Georgia Tech's Lewis Clinch missed on a drive in the lane, but teammate Iman Shumpert chased down the long rebound in the corner and managed to get off a 3-pointer. It missed.
Game over.

Maryland (15-8, 4-5 ACC) swept the season series and extended its domination of the Yellow Jackets (10-12, 1-8), who haven't beaten the Terrapins since the 2003-04 season. Georgia Tech didn’t help themselves committing 24 turnovers.
Shumpert scored 13 points for the Yellow Jackets, while Hayes added 15 points for Maryland.

(AP Photos/Stanley Leary and Chuck Burton)



Word of God Christian Academy's John Wall, the nation's top undecided basketball player, has created a crescendo of expectations regarding where he will attend college.

Word is Wall has both an attitude and an ego while also declaring that he will be a “one-and-done” player like O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley, Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. As a result, it’s unlikely you will see him in the ACC. Only N.C. State seems to be in the mix.

Recently, the Raleigh News & Observer ran an interesting story about Wall and his “people” and how they are influencing his decisions. In several ways, it’s somewhat unbelievable.

For example, Wall is interested in Duke and his high school coach is saying ridiculous things like this regarding a meeting with Kryzxcvbn8ski:

"I'm going to say, 'Look, this is what John's going to do. Now, what are you going to do when he does that?' " Beckwith said. "When you're playing Carolina and things aren't going well, when you take him out of the game and he mumbles, 'I shoulda gone to Carolina,' which to you is disrespectful and it's not the right thing to say... how long are you going to sit him out? If he's going to be done for the year, then don't take him."

That should go well…

According to N&O, don’t look for him in Chapel Hill as one of Wall’s “people” is Brian Clifton, the director of D-One Sports, Wall's Greensboro- based summer-league team. Clifton said “North Carolina was interested in Wall but tersely noted that D-One has no relationship with UNC. When he brought a previous prospect to Chapel Hill, he said, the feedback I got was, 'Roy [Williams] doesn't want to deal with you because he doesn't deal with AAU guys.' "

Williams denies the general allegation saying they deal with families first and the Tar Heels have more contact with some summer coaches than others.

N.C. State is the only ACC school with an inside track as the competition for Wall’s one year of service heats up from schools like Memphis and Baylor. But there is still hope in Raleigh, Wall’s mother has been a State fan "since she was born," and Wall’s people like Sidney Lowe.

(Photos by Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)


OFFICIALLY OVER. The football season drew to a quiet close yesterday in Hawaii.

Here, running back Michael Turner #33 of the NFC All-Stars Atlanta Falcons gets tackled by defensive end Robert Mathis #98 of the AFC All-Stars Indianapolis Colts in the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on February 8, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The NFC defeated the AFC 30-21.

You have to admit, it's colorful.

(Photo by Paul Spinelli/Getty Images)

Sunday, February 8, 2009



Did anybody ask Clemson’s sports psychologist Dr. Joel Fish about the dreaded “post-big win letdown” syndrome?

Just three days after a record breaking victory over No. 3 Duke, the Tigers let a 19-point second-half lead slip away in the Seminoles' 65-61 victory.

Toney Douglas had 23 points, including 12 in Florida State's 23-4 run the final 9 minutes. When it ended, the Tigers (19-3, 5-3 ACC) and a sold-out crowd walked away in disbelief over what they watched.

The Tigers had pushed their way to a 44-25 lead with 15 minutes left in the game, but Florida State (18-5, 5-3) kept coming.
The Tigers were still ahead 57-42 on Trevor Booker's 3-pointer with 9 minutes left when Douglas and the Noles got going.

FSU’s 7-foot-1 freshman Solomon Alabi had 17 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.

Trevor Booker and Demontez Stitt had 11 points each to lead Clemson.

Clemson was 6 of 24 (25 percent from behind the arc) and the Noles won the rebounding battle 49 to 31.
(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)


No. 3 DUKE 78, MIAMI 75 OT – Duke trailed by 16 points in the second half before Gerald Henderson and David McClure sparked a comeback to beat Miami 78-75 in overtime Saturday, sending the Blue Devils into next week's rivalry game against North Carolina with some restored confidence.

Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer finally woke up and led Duke with 22 points, while Kyle Singler shook off a terrible shooting day to come up with a key overtime basket that kept the Blue Devils in control once Miami (15-8, 4-6) stumbled in the extra period.

The Canes Jack McClinton scored a season-high 34 points, including a 3-pointer over McClure and Singler to force overtime with 14.8 seconds left.

No. 4 NORTH CAROLINA 76, VIRGINIA 61 – Wayne Ellington scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half of his latest big game, helping the Tar Heels shake off a sluggish start and beat Virginia 76-61 for their seventh straight win.

Tyler Hansbrough had 15 points and 13 rebounds but was 4-for-11 shooting against a zone defense determined to make him a nonfactor. Danny Green added 17 points and Ty Lawson scored all 10 of his points during the game-breaking run while adding nine assists for the Tar Heels (21-2, 7-2 ACC).

Jeff Jones scored 19 points to lead the Cavaliers (7-12, 1-7).

(AP Photo/Sara Davis and Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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