Friday, February 20, 2009

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Nate Robinson is 5’9” tall, but that didn’t keep the New York Knicks guard from winning the slam dunk contest last weekend at the NBA All-Star game. Robinson was an All-American at Washington, but we wouldn’t know that because every PAC 10 games seems to start at 11pm in the East.

So Nate checked in with David Letterman this week and he performed his “leap over dunk” move with Biff.

It’s good stuff. If you’re in a hurry, fast forward to the 3 minute mark…otherwise, revel in the Letterman-ness of it all.


JOHNNIES NEED LOU CARNESECCA’S SWEATERS

No. 9 DUKE 76, ST. JOHNS 69 – The game wasn’t as close as the final score suggest as Duke had big leads most of the game. This rivalry is starting to look a little ragged around the edges, and one has to wonder how much longer this recently lopsided home-and-home will continue is the middle of both teams’ tough conference schedules?

The Blue Devils (21-5) looked more like the team that has spent the entire season in the top 10, including one week at No. 1, hitting 3-pointers and converting turnovers into points.

Gerald Henderson scored 19 points for the Blue Devils as the starters scored all but four points. Jon Scheyer had 18 points, Kyle Singler scored 15 and Lance Thomas added nine for Duke.

The Blue Devils finished 7 of 15 from behind the arc (46.7 percent), the first time since Jan. 24 they shot better than 33 percent from treyville. They were 3-for-16 in the loss to Boston College on Sunday.

D.J. Kennedy had 20 points for the Red Storm (12-14), who have lost five straight overall and six in a row to Duke. The Blue Devils have won 13 of the last 15 meetings and this win improves their record at Madison Square Garden in the series to 5-1.

The Devils led by as many as 16 points in the second half.

(Photo courtesy of Redstormsports.cstv.com)

HEELS DEFENSIVE DEFICENCIES CAUSE OL’ ROY TO DROP F-BOMB

FROM ACC NOW: Roy Williams is famous for his ability to substitute "F" words in his press conferences. The UNC coach has been known to dip into his lexicon for freakin', friggin' frickin' or flippin'.

But Williams let an expletive fly in his post-game press conference — and live on both the Tar Heel Radio Network and Wolfpack-Capitol Sports Network — after the Tar Heels' 89-80 win over N.C. State on Wednesday.

Williams was talking about his team's fullcourt press and its lack of execution.

"We stink," Williams said, talking about their fullcourt defense.

When asked why they stink, Williams calmly responded:
"If I knew the answer to that do you think we'd still be [expletive] stinkin'?"

After nervous laughter in the room, Williams apologized for using the curse word.

"I can't believe I said that," Williams said. "I only say that on the golf course."

This is not the first time Williams has been caught using blue language. After Kansas' loss to Syracuse in the 2003 national championship game, Williams, then Kansas' coach, said on CBS' live broadcast: "I could give a [expletive] about North Carolina right now."

Here’s the video. Turn your sound down! http://blogs.newsobserver.com/accnow/uncs-press-leaves-williams-blue

Star forward Tyler Hansbrough wasn't surprised to hear that coach Roy Williams dropped the F-bomb on Wednesday night — just that it happened during his post-game press conference.

"Oh, man,'' the senior said, growing wide-eyed and a bit red-faced when told his coach had used the expletive he usually replaces with frickin,' friggin' or 'flippin.'

"I've definitely heard it more than you guys,'' Hansbrough said. "It's usually once every other ballgame, he drops it in the huddle, and we know he means business then. But I think he may beat himself up over that because he usually counts how many cuss words he says in the huddle and in practice.

"When he gets really mad in practice he says, 'Now, that's four cuss words, and I didn't plan on saying any today.'"

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

CLEMSON GUARD GIVING BACK

Clemson guard Tanner Smith’s dad has cancer – and not just the regular kind (not that there is such a thing), but the kind with lots of complications and frequent hospital stays.

When Tanner was in the fourth grade he had an assignment “If I Had Three Wishes.” Easy enough, right?

Tanner started with a kid staple – a dog. Since he’d met a neighbor’s dog, he’d been bugging his parents for a puppy.

His second wish was to play professional basketball – again, no surprise for a kid who played football, baseball and basketball in his Alpharetta, GA community.

His final wish was a little tougher. Nine-year-old Tanner Smith wanted "To make kids with cancer laugh."

That Christmas a Golden Retriever arrived and this Christmas Tanner Smith found himself on Clemson’s basketball team.

But Smith wasn’t finished. Two years later as part of a sixth-grade project, Smith again said he wanted to help kids with cancer.

"I wanted to make sure my parents got the message," said Tanner.

So, the Smiths helped turned their son's dream into a reality. They created Tanner's Totes, a non-profit company which gives a tote bag of goodies to preteens and teenagers battling cancer and other long-term ailments.

In seven years the family has delivered more than 1,200 totes.

Read the whole story at ESPN… http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/columns/story?columnist=oneil_dana&id=3914889


(AP Photo by Mary Ann Chastain and TannersTotes.com)

TWO GOOD REASONS GEORGE MASON WON’T GET INVITED TO JOIN THE ACC

They don’t play football…yet.

Their homecoming queen is a drag queen.

No, we aren’t kidding.

Last week George Mason had their homecoming week during basketball season because they don’t play football. Pat McGee sang at the homecoming game, and the students got all green and yellow.

Everything was progressing as most homecomings do, when things took a turn. You see, the GM students got to vote on the homecoming queenand prove, yet again, that democracy can be flawed.

The choices were two regular gals and a guy who hosts a drag queen show. They went drag. The school says they’re cool with it all, and the students are crowing about their diversity.

Everybody else is saying WTF?

The Washington Post can explain the whole situation to you in short order.

Now you may think this was a lark for the Mighty Masons, but if the comments on Connect2Mason are any indication, think again…

Congrats Reann!! I was so excited to read about Mason's new Homecoming Queen in the Washington Post. I am proud of Reann, proud of the students that voted for her, and I am so very proud of the administrators who didn't cut Reann from the ballot. Many lesser institutions would have gotten nervous and taken the politic route, but Mason's admin demonstrated faith in the credibility and intelligence of their students. It is a wonderful day to be a Mason alum.

Go figure.

(Photo by Teddy Meyer - George Mason University Broadside Photo)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

DIGITAL VANDALS. In this photo provided by Chris Nakashima-Brown, an electronic road sign is seen in Austin, Texas. The electronic sign near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards was changed yesterday by "digital vandals."

(AP Photo by Chris Nakshima-Brown)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

SOMEHOW, we forgot the Daytona 500.

Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 DeWalt Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning NASCAR's Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The race was called due to rainy weather.

(Photo by Jason Smith-Getty Images for NASCAR)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

IT’S OK, IT’S NOT STEEP. And it’s not really fast either…yeah, right.

Austria's Manfred Pranger races his way to win the gold medal in the Men's Slalom race at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Val d'Isere, France.

(AP Photo by Alessandro Trovati)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

FACIAL. North Carolina's Cetera DeGraffenreid is fouled by Georgia Tech's Brigitte Ardossi during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The ACC women’s teams continue to honor Kay Yow by wearing pink home uniforms.

(AP Photo by Sara D. Davis)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

MR. ROBOTO LOVES N.C. STATE

No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA 89, N.C. STATE 80 – Tyler “Mr. Roboto” Hansbrough loves N.C. State. Each time this season he’s had a single digit scoring game, he’s put up big numbers against the Wolfpack next time out. Last night Psycho T put up 27 to go with this 31 points during their first game in Raleigh.

He has now scored 90 points in his last three games against the Wolfpack, and coach Sidney Lowe is glad that he won't have to face the senior again (barring a match-up in the ACC Tournament).

"I'd love to watch him on television in the NBA," Lowe said. "I don't mind seeing him, just with another jersey on."

The Hansbrough-led Tar Heels shot 62.5 percent in the second half. They shot the basketball perfectly during an early second period 16-5 run that blew the game open. The Wolfpack narrowed the margin by shooting 64.3 percent in the second half (and 54 percent for the game), but the final score was misleading as UNC dominated the final twenty minutes.

Danny Green added 19 for the Tar Heels (24-2, 10-2 ACC) who pulled away to win their 10th straight game. North Carolina shot 55 percent and led by 19 points in the second half to improve to 12-1 against its nearby rival since Ol’ Roy took over at his alma mater before the 2003-04 season.

But the Heels defense was again the subject of post-game remarks.

"That's one of the first things he said to us, that they shot 64 percent," junior Wayne Ellington said. "They shot way too high a percentage on us. We outscored them. But when we're getting into games where teams are just as gifted offensively and can score right with us, we're not going to win those games. We've got to get teams' percentages down."

The Heels got a boost with the return of Tyler Zeller, the 7-foot freshman who suffered a broken left wrist late in the win against Kentucky on Nov. 18. He entered the game to a standing ovation with 8:28 left in the first half, and ended up with two points (1-4) and three rebounds in eight minutes.

Zeller has tremendous scoring ability and Carolina fans hope his presence inside opens up the paint even more for Mr. Roboto.

Javi Gonzalez scored 18 points to lead the Wolfpack (14-10, 4-7), with 16 coming in the first half on 6-for-6 shooting. He also hit all four of his 3-point tries, part of his team's 11-for-20 effort from behind the arc.

(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

4,826 UVA FANS FORGET TO GO TO RIVALRY GAME WITH HOKIES

VIRGINIA 75, VIRGINIA TECH 61 – Good thing that famous navy admiral/rock star from Tennessee spent all that coin on the 16,000 seat John Paul Jones Arena. If not, many of the Wahoo faithful wouldn’t be able to go to games and support their team…

No…wait…what’s that? In spite of much trash talk to the contrary, there were over 4,000 empty seats last night when the Cavs used a big late first half run to overwhelm the now reeling Hokies. Surely, we heard the 11,000 plus UVA faithful chanting “N.I.T.” at Greedberg’s beffudled charges at some point in the second half with the home team cruising?

Bird-flipping big man Jeff Allen sat on the end of the Hokie bench looking miserable while the Cavs drove and slashed and utilized a 3-2 zone to slow down top Virginia Tech scoreres A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney.

The Hokies shot 36.7 percent from the field, compared to 43.9 percent for Virginia. The Cavaliers had a 38-37 rebounding edge and committed only 10 turnovers.

Sylven Landesberg scored 19 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added six assists while the Hoos used a 17-2 run spanning the halves.

Virginia (9-13, 3-8 ACC) won its second in a row. The Cavaliers snapped an eight-game losing streak in their last game, an 85-81 overtime victory against No. 13 Clemson, and had the perfect next opponent to rile up the less-than-capacity crowd.

Vassallo scored 21 to lead the Hokies (16-9, 6-5), who lost for the fourth time in six games.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WAKE GETS REVENGE ON LAST PLACE JACKETS

N0. 8 WAKE FOREST 89, GEORGIA TECH 67 – Last time these two met, the cellar-dweller Yellow Jackets upset the Demon Deacons. Not this time.

Wake’s James Johnson caught the opening tip and drove in for a thunderous dunk, the beginning of a dominant 24-point, 11-rebound performance to lead the Deacs to a relatively easy win.

The opening throw down was part of a dominating stretch where Wake Forest raced to leads of 25-5 and 48-25 on Johnson's 3-pointer late in the first half. After Georgia Tech's 3-point shooting helped cut the deficit to five early in the second half, Johnson went to work again inside to put it way.

The sophomore hit 10 of 12 shots and was two points shy of his career high, helping Wake Forest (20-4, 7-4 ACC) shoot 57 percent from the field and secure it first 20-win season since 2004-05.
Jeff Teague added 15 points, while freshman Al-Farouq Aminu scored 14 and got the better of his older brother, Georgia Tech senior Alade Aminu, who was held to nine points.

Lewis Clinch hit six 3-pointers and scored 24 points and Iman Shumpert added 14 for Georgia Tech (10-15, 1-11), which has lost five straight and 10 of 11.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

FLORIDA STATE: DON’T LOOK NOW…

…but the Seminoles are creeping up in the RPI – they are now ranked 20th and last night’s win over Miami could move them up another notch making a trip to the Big Dance all the more likely for Leonard Hamilton and his squad.

FLORIDA STATE 80, MIAMI 67 – Jack McClinton’s run of thirty point games ended, and without that offensive firepower the Canes simply can’t compete with higher echelon ACC teams. McClinton, who had scored 101 points in his last three games, was held to five in the first half and 13 for the game.

Toney Douglas scored 24 points and Uche Echefu added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoes (20-6, 7-4 ACC) who made 31 of 35 free throws.

James Dews led Miami (15-10, 4-8) with a season-high 19 points.

RYAN WARD DID NOT TAKE STEROIDS

But he did get all lit up and pretend he was a New York Yankee.

Believe it or not, in some places (like New Jersey) that's against the DAMN law!!

A New Jersey man who authorities say scammed businesses by claiming he was New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

Thirty-year-old Ryan Ward of Toms River looks a lot like the Yankee star.

According to our sources, Ward, 30, had the audacity to sign autographs, sweet-talk star-struck women, and even score free bagels and coffee from businesses at the Jersey Shore by claiming he was Joba.

He got busted and entered a plea last week in Belmar Municipal Court and was fined $2,518. He also must serve two years' probation and give back all the bagels.

Ward told the judge his actions stemmed from a drinking problem and he was receiving treatment.

(Note to Liverpalooza 2008 participants: "I'm gonna forget because I've got all this alcohol problem.")

IT'S STILL TOO COLD TO BE BLOWING BUBBLES

But soon, bubbles will be a big topic of conversation.

Here's how it looks right here, right now…as of Wednesday morning.

RPI: North Carolina (4), Duke (5), Clemson (10), Wake Forest (16), Florida State (20), Miami (47), Virginia Tech (49), Boston College (51) and Maryland (61).

Here's the whole list:

http://web1.ncaa.org/app_data/weeklyrpi/2009MBBrpi1.html

PICTURE OF THE DAY

WRECK OF THE DAY. Combo of Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser falling during the second FIS official training women downhill, part of FIS women world cup, in Tarvisio on February 19, 2009.

(Photo by Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

ROO CROSSING. A Kangaroo is seen on the during day one of the 2009 Johnnie Walker classic held at The Vines Resort and Country Club February 19, 2009 in Perth, Australia.

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

CAKE OF THE DAY

THIS CAME WITH THE CAPTION: You can’t fix stupid. Hmmm…maybe not.

The telephone conversation must have gone something like this:

Customer: “I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week.”

Cake Department: “'Whaddya want on da cake?”

Customer: “’Best Wishes Suzanne' and underneath that 'We will miss you'.”

CARTOON OF THE DAY


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TUESDAY NIGHT HOOPS

No. 13 CLEMSON 93, MARYLAND 64 – Trevor Booker had 11 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 13 Clemson to victory over Maryland Tuesday night.

The Tigers (21-4, 7-4 ACC) bounced back from a puzzling loss to Virginia two days earlier with their second conference win of 27 points or more this season. In their previous 55 ACC seasons, the Tigers have beaten a league team by that many points just eight times.

After leading just 36-33 early in the second half, Clemson finished the game outscoring Maryland 57-31 to earn its 19th win in its last 21 home games.

Terrence Oglesby led Clemson with 16 points and Demontez Stitt added 15. Six Tigers scored in double figures.

Landon Milbourne scored 13 points and Greivis Vasquez added 12 for the Terrapins (16-9, 5-6), who could be on their way to missing the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years.

(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

NON-FOULS CAUSE MILD CONCUSSION

Word on the street is that 7'0" freshman Tyler Zeller is likely to return to the Tar Heels' lineup tonight against N.C. State. Zeller broke his wrist in the second game of the year. Just in time, we might add...

Evidently, all those non-fouls during the Miami game may have caused the other Tyler (Hansbrough, wimp that he is) to suffer a mild concussion.

"Three different occasions during the game, he took a significant blow to the head,” said UNC coach Roy Williams.
None the less, Williams also confirmed that Hansbrough will play tonight against N.C. State.

"We had him see a specialist today at the hospital," Williams said on Tuesday. "He did not practice yesterday, he sat on the sideline, did not do one thing. The doctor from Miami told us he thought we should get him checked because there was a possibility that he had a concussion during the game. So he saw some people yesterday, took him today, took some tests … and [they] said if he had a concussion, it was the mildest form.”

Well that explains it. If a blow to the head only causes a concussion of the “mildest” form, why slow the game down with a silly foul call.

Hansbrough reported having blurred vision during the game that was not resolved by changing contacts. He also admitted after the game to having a headache during the game.

Hansbrough shot two free throws in the game.

SO HOCKEY HAS SOME REDEEMING QUALITIES AFTER ALL

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY




(Photo by Greg Nelson/SI)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY 2


Hmmm...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. JORDAN

February 17, 1963

Photo: Heinz Kluetmeier/SI

SOME HOKIES UPSET WITH BLACKSBURG ZEN MASTER OVER SUSPENSION OF ALLEN FOR RIVALRY GAME WITH HATED WAHOOS

An exasperated Hokie fan/parent sent us an email in response to the news that Virginia Tech forward and third-leading scorer Jeff Allen had been suspended for Wednesday night’s game against rival Virginia.

It said: "Really? Greenberg zeros in on another NIT bid.”

Really?

You see not only did Allen flip off the Turtle Park crowd after fouling out in the Hokies’ loss Saturday to the Terps, he did it right here in full close-up on Raycom TV. Oops.

Of course, Allen shouldn’t have done something so childish, and he had no way of knowing he was on camera at that moment…or should he have known?

C’mon, Jeff – you just fouled out of the game and you’re taking the ‘walk of shame’ to the bench. When was the last time you watched a game, and we know you’ve watched a basketball game or two in your 21.8 years, and the foul-out guy’s trudge back to Pineville wasn’t the camera shot shown full-screen, if not close up? Seriously?

Clearly, the Washington D.C. native was frustrated, but he should have known better.

Busted. End of story.

Allen issued the following apology:

“I would like to apologize to all that were offended by my actions this past weekend. I know that type of behavior is unacceptable. It was a lapse in judgment during the heat of the moment.”

(Note to torture John “Seminole” Clark – In the Heat of The Moment by Asia. Sorry, dude, couldn’t pass it up.)

ACC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

North Carolina's Ty Lawson has been named ACC Player of the Week and Virginia's Sylven Landesberg is the ACC Rookie of the Week.

In earning Player of the Week honors for the second time this year, Lawson averaged 23.0 points, 4.5 assists, shot 15-for-23 from the floor (.652 percent), 5-for-9 from three-point range (.556) and 11-for-11 from the free throw line (1.000) as the Tar Heels picked up a pair of key ACC road wins at Duke and Miami.

In Wednesday's 101-87 win over the sixth-ranked Blue Devils, Lawson hit on eight-of-11 from the floor en route to a game-high 25 points, including 21 in the second half, and handed out five assists. In Sunday's 69-65 win over the Hurricanes, the Clinton, Md., junior hit on seven-of-12 from the floor, including five-of-eight from behind the arc, scored a team-high 21 points and handed out four assists.

Landesberg averaged 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists as the Cavaliers split two games against nationally ranked ACC teams.

In Tuesday's 68-57 loss at 25th-ranked Florida State, the Flushing, N.Y., product scored a team-high 14 points, pulled down six rebounds and handed out three assists in 38 minutes of action.

In Saturday's 85-81 overtime win over No. 12 Clemson, Landesberg scored a game-high 23 points, including six in overtime, and had four rebounds as the Cavaliers snapped an eight-game losing streak. Landesberg was 11-21 from the field (.524), had three assists and three steals while playing 45 minutes in the game.

Lawson now seems to have the inside track on ACC Player of the Year and Landesberg seems a lock for Rookie of the Year with his sixth weekly honor.

(Photos Zeke Smith/Inside Carolina and AP Photos/Steve Helber)

THINGS WE DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT: ACC FOOTBALL RECRUITING NEWS

You know T.A.H. doesn’t get bogged down in issues like recruiting or officiating…um…er…or recruiting.

We leave the constant pursuit of incredibly gifted student athletes by institutions of higher learning that are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference to the likes of such noble endeavors as Scout.com, Rivals.com and, of course, the boys in Bristol – ESPN.

However, we know that the pursuit of these young gentlemen of sport and academia are ultimately critical to our enjoyment of all things pigskin come this fall, so we do point out the highlights.

National signing day passed recently and the lottery winner with a theoretical superhighway to the BCS National Championship Game, according the experts at Rivals.com, was Alabama. The next best recruiting classes belong to stalwarts LSU, Ohio State, USC and Texas.

Florida State was the first ACC school on the board at sixth and Michigan was the meat in the sandwich between FSU and North Carolina whose incoming group was ranked eighth nationally. Georgia and Florida round out the top ten.

ACC RECRUITING CLASS of 2009 RANKING: Florida State (6), North Carolina (8), Miami (11), Virginia Tech (24), Maryland (26), Virginia (33), Clemson (37), Georgia Tech (49), Duke (51), N.C. State (52), Wake Forest (64) and Boston College (70).

Here’s the full list for all the ACC schools. Try not to fall asleep.
http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/recruiting/tracker/conference?confId=1&season=2009

(Photo ID: Willie Downs, left, a Godby High School senior, signs his letter of intent to play at Florida State as his high school coach Shelton Crews looks on. AP Photo by Phil Coale.)

WHY? BECAUSE HEATHER DINICH GETS PAID BY ESPN, AND WE DON’T. THAT’S WHY.

The ACC released the football schedule last week.

We're sure the purists have already studied it carefully, but like recruiting it's not something we harp on and it is February/basketball crunch time.

However, if you want a complete analysis of your schools football schedule go to Heather Dinich’s ACC blog at ESPN. She’s done a great job, as usual, of analyzing things…

We will note for Duke, UNC and N.C. State fans that the traditional UNC v. Duke finale is no more. Carolina will play N.C. State in Raleigh to conclude the 2009 season.

The Tar Heels also have a home Thursday night game for the first time ever. (They had previously been penalized for weak tailgating, and subsequently denied the prime time game.)

Just scroll down and find your ACC favorite…

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/acc

(AP Photo by Mary Ann Chastain)

FLORIDA STATE INCHES EVER CLOSER TO THREE YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST…

Florida State wide receiver Taiwan Easterling ruptured his left Achilles during winter conditioning drills this week and will miss spring practices, a school spokesman confirmed.

Easterling, whose eight starts last year were the most of any returning receiver, will have surgery a week from Friday. Beyond missing spring practices, which begin March 2, there is no timetable for Easterling's return.

The injury is a significant hit to an already depleted receiving corps. The Seminoles will have to replace former receiver Preston Parker, who has been dismissed from the team after his career was marred by legal issues, and leading receiver Greg Carr, who has graduated. Easterling was the Noles' third-leading receiver in 2008 with 30 catches for 322 yards and a touchdown.

“Dadgummit,” said head coach Bobby Bowden, “That No. 82 was a good kid. He wasn’t even on dadburn probation. Ah, hell, it don’t matter anyway, we don’t have a dadgum quarterback that can throw the blame ball to him any ol’ way…”

(*items in italics may not be true.)

(Photo by Getty Images)

FRIENDS OF GARY OUT IN FORCE AT TERPS v. HOKIES GAME

From Dan Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Blog (slightly edited):

Never let it be said that Gary Williams and his friends take pressure quietly. Dozens of fans sitting courtside last Saturday were wearing pro-Williams tee shirts and the accompanying buttons.

They were ordered two weeks ago, before the most recent run of Gary recruiting stories, by three members of the Friends of Gary group. The first shipment of 200 shirts arrived for the Hokie game, and more are on the way for the next home game. There were also 2,500 "In Gary We Trust" buttons that were all over the student section

The most famous t-shirt wearer was Ravens Coach John Harbaugh, who pledged allegiance to Gary, slipping the shirt over his head to massive applause early in the first half.

"I love Gary Williams," Harbaugh told me. "I'm supporting him with pride."

PICTURE OF THE DAY

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. What are you guys laughin’ about?

Last night No. 4 Pittsburgh got its first win over a No. 1 team when they knocked off UConn 76-68 on the Huskies’ home court.

UConn became the fifth top-ranked team to lose this season – unranked Boston College beat No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill Jan. 4, No. 20 Louisville beat No. 1 Pitt on Jan. 17, Virginia Tech beat No. 1 Wake Forest Jan. 21, No. 4 Wake then beat No. 1 Duke on Jan. 28, and last night Pitt beat UConn.

Is there a pattern here? Do all of these games involve teams either in the ACC or the Big East?
Well…yes.

(P.S. The two teams shot 37 free throws. Not a misprint – 37. The announcers commented that Big East officials are too quick to call fouls in the paint…What did Aristotle say, something about “moderation?”)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Monday, February 16, 2009

"LUCKY" TAR HEELS SURVIVE HURRICANE MCCLINTON

No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA 69, MIAMI 65 – Miami’s Jack McClinton and UNC’s Ty Lawson had a chest thumping contest down in South Florida last night. McClinton pounded his chest after every made trey as if to say "not in my house," and Lawson pounded his to loosen up the congestion.

The S.S. Lawson (sick and listing a bit early on) sailed into stormy waters and rescued North Carolina from an intense tropical storm driven by offensive machine Harold McClinton. McClinton was running at Category 4 levels posting 35 points, the most the Tar Heels (23-2, 9-2 ACC) have yielded to an ACC player this season.

It was McClinton’s third straight game scoring at least 30, making him the first Miami player with such a streak since Eric Brown 21 seasons ago.

There were 15 NBA scouts in the crowd at United Bank Center in Miami, and McClinton put on a show for them.

But Ty Lawson, who was fighting an illness, was not to be outdone. In an ugly game of “run and gun,” the UNC point guard scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, including the game-sealing 3-pointer with 10.6 seconds left. Clutch.

Neither team was at full-strength. The Hurricanes were without Dwayne Collins who had injured an ankle the day before, and Carolina’s Wayne Ellington was nursing a minor elbow injury as well.

But, this game was a case of how a good team finds a way to win.

The opening act was a running shoot-out with everything but the good shooting. Both teams barely cracked the 30 percent mark posting a 29-26 halftime score. The two teams missed 69 shots between them in the first half. It wasn’t pretty. (Actually, it looked like a Big East game except for all the running up and down the court.)

The pace slowed and the shooting improved in the second half, with both teams shooting 38 plus percent and making 50 percent or more their three pointers (UNC 8-16, MIA 7-13).

Miami trailed 54-40 with 12:01 left, only to get within one on three separate occasions in the final 5 minutes. But each time Miami was a point away, Lawson nailed a 3-pointer. The UNC point guard shot 5-for-7 from beyond the arc in the second half. Wayne Ellington did his part, sore elbow and all, with 15 points and a career-best 10 rebounds.

Tyler Hansbrough did not score the first 31 minutes of the game, and was held to eight points and four rebounds. Danny Green scored just eight, Deon Thompson again shot poorly (4-11), but Carolina still found a way to win thanks to Lawson.

We're lucky," said head coach Roy Williams, whose team was held nearly 24 points below its season average. "That's the bottom line. We were lucky."

Lucky to win an ugly game, and “lucky” to have a point guard maturing and gaining confidence with every game. UNC fans will recall Raymond Felton evolving the same way in February of 2005.

The Hurricanes have not been so lucky. The Canes have lost six of their last eight games including their last two to Duke and UNC by a combined seven points. Miami is 0-5 in games decided by five or fewer points since Jan. 25, and their only win since that date was a 79-52 romp over Wake Forest on Feb. 4.

(AP Phots/Wilfredo Lee)

BLIND ZEBRAS INFEST ACC BASKETBALL ARENAS

A NOTE ON OFFICIATING: We’ve said this many times – we simply don’t understand the way games are called. Last night it appeared that two of the three officials forgot their whistles.

Of course, there is a “let ‘em play” approach to officiating, and clearly that was the theme for the Miami-UNC game.

We know there are some consistent patterns within games: a) touch fouls are called outside the paint while the bigs can beat and bang, and b) fouls are never called on the last shot of a game (see end of Clemson v. UVA regulation for another confirming example.)

We’re OK with both of those, but the mugging inside last night was something to behold. Yet, in spite of the rough and tumble play, the two teams shot a TOTAL of ten free throws. That's not a misprint, that's TEN.

At one point, a replay shows a Miami defender taking what has to be described as a “swipe" at Tyler Hansbrough. The Cane defender hits Hansbrough on his left shoulder, elbow, forearm, left hand, right forearm and right hand as he takes a shot. No call. Hansbrough misses. UNC's Deon Thompson gets the rebound and is “brushed” ever so slightly by a Hurricane. Whistle. Foul. Huh?

Look, we know it’s a tough job -- take a look at the photo at right from the Duke/Boston College game. We've seen less contact in a rugby scrum! Every player in the shot looks to be fouling somebody.

Obviously, it's difficult to establish who had position and who is the worst offender, but is the solution to simply look the other way or to whistle a hand check on the guard who's headed up court with the ball after this group wrestling match subsides?

We’re not suggesting Hansbrough was fouled every time he took a shot (and he only took 8 shots the whole game) and, yes, he tends to wind up on the floor on a lot of plays foul or nay, but it seems impossible that UNC would take more than two dozen shots in the paint and only be fouled twice.

The same was true on the other end of the court – Miami went to the free throw line exactly ONCE. Again, that's not a misprint, that's ONCE.

Now mind you the Canes were livin’ and dyin’ by the jump shot, but it still seems impossible that such a fast-paced, and, at time, down right ugly game, would be played so “perfectly” and almost foul-free in the paint. The first half of this game was a playground, run and shoot slug fest and only eight fouls were called (four in the paint).

It didn’t appear that the officiating had any impact on the final outcome of the game. Neither team complained, and it certainly appeared to be even, but clearly ACC officials have stopped blowing the whistle when big guy clobbers big guy unless they just barely touch and that’s a foul…

Jeez, a little consistency for cryin' out loud.

If the ACC graded their refs as the NFL does, we can’t imagine what the reports would look like…

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, Elsa/Getty Images)

BOSTON COLLEGE BEATS DUKE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE REO SPEEDWAGON HAD A NUMBER ONE HIT SONG

BOSTON COLLEGE 80, No. 6 DUKE 74 – Reggie Jackson broke the game's final tie with a drive with 47.2 seconds left and the Eagles scored the final six points in an 80-74 victory over on Sunday. It was their first win over the Blue Devils in 24 years (March 17, 1985 – Can’t Fight This Feeling - REO Speedwagon topped the charts…ugh.)

As the game ended, hundreds of BC kids stormed the court in a manner that can only be described as a) ridiculous and b) dangerous.

Call us cranky, but something needs to be done. For starters, the Eagles just beat Duke. Duke is not the No. 1 team in the country. They are ranked sixth. Boston College already beat the then-ranked No. 1 team when they knocked-off North Carolina earlier this year. Enough already.

How about a simple “guideline?” If you suck, and Boston College doesn’t – in the ACC only Virginia and Georgia Tech can claim that, and you upset a ranked team at home, you can rush the court. But only if the ranked team is No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 MAX. No court rushing when your NCAA tournament-bound team beats the No. 6 team in the country – even if it is a not-so-popular team like, say…um…Duke.

OK?

Back to the game – Tyrese Rice led B.C. with 21 points and became the seventh player in school history to score 2,000 career points. Joe Trapani added 20 for the Eagles (19-8, 7-5 ACC)

Kyle Singler had 25 points for the Blue Devils (20-5, 7-4), who have lost three of four, while Gerald Henderson added 20.

Rice also grabbed a key rebound on a Duke miss before hitting two free throws that made it 78-74.

"This is a big stage," Skinner said. "He showed the type of player he is. I'm not sure I'd certainly take some of those shots, but you've just got to let him."

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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