Saturday, March 21, 2009

ACC BLACK FRIDAY

No. 13 CLEVELAND STATE 84, No. 4 WAKE FOREST 69 - All three ACC teams lost in the first round yesterday, and all were upsets – at least on paper.

While a case could be made by bracketeers that surging USC (10) would knock –off higher seeded BC (7) and Bo Ryan’s Badgers might pull the 12/5 upset on the one-dimensional Seminoles, precious few saw Cleveland State (13) shocking Wake Forest.

But that’s exactly what they did.

The Vikings (26-10) raced to an early 17-point lead and withstood a second-half rally by the Demon Deacons in a manner reminiscent of Cleveland State’s only other tournament appearance in 1986, when they upset Indiana and Bob Knight in the opening round.

It was Wake Forest’s (24-7) first tournament game since 2005. "It's very disappointing," Demon Deacons scoring-leader Jeff Teague said. "We expected to do damage in this tournament. To lose in the first round is hard to take."

In a disconcerting imitation of their neighbor to the south, Clemson, the Deacs won their first 16 games and was No. 1 for a week in January, but sputtered late losing its final two games of the season.

Sputtering offense again plagued Wake – that and 18 turnovers as Cleveland State held the Deacons well below its scoring average of 81 points per game.

Jeff Teague was shut out for the first 13 minutes, totaled two points in the first half and finished with 10, half of his average. James Johnson's trio of 3-pointers kept Wake Forest in the game in the first half, and he finished with 22 points. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 17.

"We have an incredibly disappointed locker room right now," coach Dino Gaudio said. "Hopefully we learned from this experience."

J'Nathan Bullock scored 21 points for Cleveland State, and Cedric Jackson had 19 points and eight assists.

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

ONE LESS WIN TO TAKE AWAY FROM FLORIDA STATE

No. 12 WISCONSIN 61, No. 5 FLORIDA STATE 59 – It hasn’t been a great week for the Noles as it started with a loss in the ACC Championship. Mid-week brought about more focus on their NCAA woes, and now this.

Unfortunately, the game played out as many have for the Seminoles – Toney Douglas scored a game-high 26 points, but the rest of the Noles struggled, especially in the second half and OT going just 9-for-24 from the field.

Wisconsin’s Trevor Hughes, aside from having the unenviable job of guarding Douglas, had the ball in his hand at the end of the game. What did he do with it? He somehow made a crazy, spinning, highlight reel bank shot that won the game for the Badgers (20-12).

Jason Bohannon led Wisconsin with 16 points, including a 3-pointer with the shot clock going off for 52-50 lead with 55 seconds left in regulation.

Keaton Nankivil had 14 and Hughes and Marcus Landry had 10 each for Wisconsin, which endured a six-game losing streak in January that put Bucky on the bubble for the last six weeks of the season.

Florida State (25-10), meanwhile, has an NCAA tournament resume you could fit on the back of a business card – a grand total of 11 appearances, but there should be no question that coach Leonard Hamilton has them going in the right direction.

"I think we got beat by a team tonight that stuck to their game plan," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "With the game on the line, they executed."

Wisconsin joined Western Kentucky and Arizona as the third vaunted No. 12 seed to pull an upset over a No. 5 seed.

Maybe the NCAA Selection Committee is on to something…

(Photos by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

BOSTON COLLEGE LOSES TO A FOOTBALL SCHOOL

No. 10 USC 72, No. 7 BOSTON COLLEGE 55 – Boston College had a four point lead at halftime, and then came back out and scored a whopping 21 points in the second half. How Big 10 of them. Game over.

To complicate things for the Eagles, the Trojans Taj Gibson had a perfect night from the field, going 10-for-10. He chipped in six rebounds, three blocks and four assists and finished with 24 points.

Meanwhile, BC was shooting 23.1 percent in the second half while Tyrese Rice finished with only nine points.

Dwight Lewis scored 20 points and shut down Rice, and DeMar DeRozan added 18 points and nine rebounds. USC (22-12), which went 1-6 in February, maintained the momentum from last week's Pac-10 tournament title and advanced to Sunday's second round against Michigan State.
Gibson’s perfect shooting was the second-best performance in NCAA tournament history with a minimum 10 attempts, behind Kenny Walker's 11-for-11 for Kentucky 1986. Gibson matched Marvin Barnes of Providence and Christian Laettner of Duke, who were 10-for-10 in 1973 and 1992, respectively.

Corey Raji led No. 7 seed Boston College (22-12) with 15 points. The Eagles made only one field goal in a dreadful stretch of nearly 13 minutes that ultimately sent them back to Beantown.

(Photos by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

STUFF WE HAVE IGNORED DUE TO OTHER NOW SEEMINGLY IRRELEVANT REAL LIFE COMPLICATIONS LIKE WORK, FAMILY AND THE NCAA TOURNAMENT

WOMEN'S BASTKETBALL: The Big Sadie Hawkins Dance - OK, we will acknowledge that the girls are also having an NCAA basketball tournament and the ACC is, as usual, well represented. Also, as usual, the NCAA looks to make this as confusing as possible when it comes to brackets. So, here goes - In the Raleigh bracket Maryland is the No. 1 seed. In the Oklahoma City bracket UNC is No. 3 and Georgia Tech in the No. 9 seed. In Trenton, Florida State is the No. 3 and Virginia is the No. 5. Duke is the No. 1 seed in the Berkley bracket. The first round games will be played on Saturday and Sunday.

MEN'S LACROSSE: Dancing With The Sticks - The Big East may think it's dominant in basketball where at one point they had seven teams in the poll. However, when it comes to domination the ACC lacrosse schools are head and shoulders above as 100% of the ACC lacrosse programs are nationally ranked. OK, there's only four, but they're all good. The Wahoos top the poll and have a big matchup with No. 7 and perennial power Johns Hopkins this weekend. Duke (6-2) is No. 8, Maryland (5-2) is No. 10 and the 11th spot belongs to UNC (7-2).

WOMEN'S LACROSSE: The Big Girls With Sticks Dance - Four ACC women's teams are also nationally ranked: Maryland (2),Duke (5), Virginia (7) and North Carolina (8).

WRESTLING: The Big Slam Dance - The NCAA wrestling tournament is going on and the ACC is fairing quite well. The following guys are still in the tourney: Chris Henrich (Virginia), Nick Nelson (Virginia), Thomas Scotton (UNC), Keegan Mueller (UNC), Justin Dobies (UNC), Chris Diaz (VT), David Marone (VT), Jarrod Garnett (VT), Tommy Spellman (VT), Darrion Caldwell (N.C.S.U.), Joe Caramanica (N.C.S.U.), and Konrad Dudziak (Duke).

BASEBALL: The Everywhere But (Bull) Durham Dance - The Rivals.com Top 25 Baseball Poll is starting to look like an AP or ESPN basketball poll with six ACC teams in the top 25. The Tar Heels hold down the top spot in spite of two losses. The other ACC squads come in at No. 8 Miami, No. 10 Georgia Tech, No. 19 Clemson, No. 23 Virginia and No 25 Florida State.

WAHOOS TARGET ANOTHER "ACC" COACH

The University of Virginia is in hot pursuit of another new head coach for the men's basketball team sources close to the program tell T.A.H after University officials realized that playing legend Ralph Sampson's coaching resume consisted of being Lefty Driesell's assistant at JayMadU and the head coach of a minor league women's team in Richmond.

In addition, Sampson, who always fancied himself a very tall point guard, was indicted on federal perjury charges relating to $300,000 in child support payments he had not paid to two women with which he had fathered children. To top that off, he pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the U.S. District Court in Richmond and received a two month prison sentence.

We don't care what Jeff Jones was rumored to have done, we don't think the bar is low enough for Ralph.

Undaunted the Cavs brass are now negotiating with another veteran coach with ACC experience. The negotiations are so secret, that we aren't allowed to reveal the identity of the candidate on the T.A.H. pages.

To see the latest top secret candidate click here.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

FIVE WHITE GUYS NOT FROM BYU. That would be North Dakota State. They lost yesterday to Kansas, but true to their pasty pigment, they were scrappy!

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Friday, March 20, 2009

JUST ANOTHER REASON WHY IT SUCKS TO BE THE PRESIDENT

President Barack Obama made history once again last night when he appeared on the Jay Leno show. There were quite a few lighter moments where the new Prez displayed his sense of humor. At one point, he said Washington, D.C. was like American Idol where everybody was Simon Cowell.

When Jay brought up the subject of the bowling alley, the Bowler In Chief announced that he had actually been practicing and had recently carded a 129…During the laughs and guffaws from Leno and the audience about the leader of the free worlds inability to knock down wooden pins with a ball, Obama let slip a self-derogatory comment which included the words “Special Olympics.”


Oops.

Now, here at T.A.H. we can post a video of paraplegic ice hockey guys getting in a rather comical scrum/boxing match. We guess, those very same hockey players laughed at the video over some beers…’cause their hockey players and probably not too very thin skinned.

Special Olympics? Hmm…not so much.

Before Air Force One had left the ground the First Offender had issued a statement. Before the plane left California, Obama reportedly called the Chairman of the Special Olympics and apologized, and the same report on NBC suggested that the organization would be hosted at a White House event sometime in the near future.

Jeez, it was a joke…did the stimulus plan and bailout packages make self-depreciating humor illegal?

Political correctness running amok yet again – Coach K yesterday, the Special Olympics today…Is there a pattern here?

Uh-oh, does T.A.H. need to release a statement of apology…?

NORTH CAROLINA MAKES EMERGENCY CHANGE TO LOGO


HEELS ADVANCE, HANSBROUGH SETS ACC SCORING RECORD

No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 101, No. 16 RADFORD 58 - Ty Lawson sat while the rest of the Tar Heels ran circles around the overmatched Highlanders.

Tyler Hansbrough had 22 points and passed J.J. Redick as the ACC all-time leading scorer. Appropriately, he set the record with a free throw.

Hansbrough heard the roar of the crowd when the record was set, but he was typically somewhat unfazed.

"I thought about waving," he said, "but I just wanted to stay focused on the game."

Wayne Ellington had 25 points for the Tar Heels (29-4), and Danny Green emerged from his shooting slump with 15 points. Green, however, still managed to miss several point blank shots.

Playing about an hour drive from its Chapel Hill campus, North Carolina enjoyed a huge home-crowd advantage and built a 19-point halftime lead against Radford (21-12). The Tar Heels steadily increased the margin from there, cracking the 100-point mark in their NCAA opener for the second straight season.

Hansbrough shot just 5-for-16 on the day, but went 12-for-12 from the foul line -- where he holds the NCAA record for most made free throws -- to go with five rebounds in 20 minutes.

Amir Johnson and Joey Lynch-Flohr each scored 12 points to lead the Highlanders, the Big South Conference champion making just its second NCAA appearance and first since 1998.

Lawson has said he is feeling better and battling more stiffness than pain, adding he thinks he'll play Saturday. He dressed for the game and went through pregame warmups, but it was clear that Ol’ Roy wasn’t going to play unless UNC was staring at a historic upset.

(Photos by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

MARYLAND MOVES AHEAD WITH WIN OVER CAL

No. 10 MARYLAND 84, No. 7 CALIFORNIA 71 – It wasn’t that long ago that the Washington Post and the assistant A.D. at Maryland were taking pot shots at Terps Nation’s favorite alum. Now with two quality wins in the ACC tournament and a mild upset in the opening round of the Big Dance, all is well in College Park.
For now.

The Terps defense did the job on the Bears and Greivis Vasquez provided the offense with 27 points. Maryland (21-13) went on a 23-8 run when the score was tied at 51. Game over.

Cal (22-11) was the nation's best-shooting team from 3-point range during the regular season, hitting 43 percent. When the Bears won, it was because they shot well from the perimeter. When they lost, it was because the opponent had kept their shooters from getting hot.

Using its press to disrupt Cal's offensive flow, the Terps rarely gave the Bears a good look from the perimeter and shored up some early interior defensive breakdowns to win a battle of guard-oriented teams.

The Terps Dave Neal added 15 points and Eric Hayes had 14 to help Maryland advance past the first round in its ninth straight NCAA appearance.

The Terps will face No. 2 seed Memphis on Saturday.

(AP Photos/Orlin Wagner)

DUKE OFF AND RUNNING AGAINST BINGHAMPTON

No. 2 DUKE 86, No. 15 BINGHAMPTON 62 - Jon "Crazy Face" Scheyer led the way with 15 points, Lance Thomas added 14 and Gerald Henderson and Nolan Smith had 13 apiece for the Blue Devils (29-6) as they shot 49 percent for the game.

The Blue Devils used a huge run to open the second half to easily advance to a second-round matchup with seventh-seeded Texas on Saturday.

D.J. Rivera scored 20 points for Binghamton (23-9). The program from upstate New York that jumped to Division I in 2001 and won the America East tournament ultimately was no match for Coach K's boys.

Elliot Williams had 11 points and Kyle Singler added 10 as Duke solved the Bearcats' high-pressure defense in plenty of time to cruise to their most lopsided NCAA tournament victory since a 28-point rout of Seton Hall in the second round in 2004.

The win was an emphatic reversal of results for a decorated program that entered having lost three of its last four NCAA tournament games - and needed some dramatic play to secure its only victory in that period, a down-to-the-wire escape against 15th-seeded Belmont in the last year's first round.

The efficient Duke offense that lit up Florida State for a season-high 12 three-pointers in the ACC tournament championship game re-emerged against the Bearcats' high-pressure defense.

Duke scored 24 points off Binghamton's 18 turnovers, was 21-of-25 from the stripe and established a 38-20 rebounding advantage. Meanwhile, the Bearcats spent much of the night in foul trouble and were just 1-of-5 from the line.

Tiki Mayben scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half and Reggie Fuller added 12 points for the Bearcats, whose 11-game winning streak was snapped in spite of shooting 53 percent from the field.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CLEMSON LOSES UGLY GAME TO FOOTBALL SCHOOL

No. 10 MICHIGAN 62, No. 7 CLEMSON 59 - Oliver Purnell and his Clemson (23-9) squad can't catch a break. In only their second Big Dance trip after a 10 year hiatus, the fly-out-of-the gate-but-fade-in-the-stretch Tigers were stymied by the Wolverines' zone defense shooting 32 percent from the field and 22 percent from behind the arc.

The Clemson guards had a particularly rough game solving the Michigan zone going 5 of 27 from the field. Demonstrative of the shooting woes was Terrence Oglesby who was 1 of 7 from the field. Oglesby was averaging 13 points coming into the game. Ultimately, he would throw an elbow and get tossed from the game. That pretty much sums up Clemson's night.

Showing little sign of nerves in their first NCAA game since a booster scandal rocked the program in the 1990s, the Wolverines (21-13) handled (mostly) Clemson's frenetic press and held one of the nation's highest-scoring teams 20 points below its average. Manny Harris had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Stu Douglass added 12 points for the Wolverines.

After facing mostly man coverage during the ACC season, the seventh-seeded Tigers had to dust off their zone offense and struggled early. Jumpers, 3-pointers, layups - didn't matter. Clemson couldn't seem to get the hang of Michigan's defense and clanged shot after shot.

Even with their offensive woes, the Tigers still managed to make it interesting.

Sparked by consecutive 3-pointers by Andre Young and another by K.C. Rivers, the Tigers started finding holes in Michigan's defense and went on a 14-0 run to make it 58-57 with just under a minute left. Clemson still had a shot after Michigan's Zack Novak hit just 1 of 2 free throws with 13 seconds left, but Rivers' contested 3-pointer at the buzzer was well short.

Trevor Booker led the Tigers with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rivers added 13 points.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

WAHOOS TARGET ANOTHER “PERFECT” HOOPS COACH

The University of Virginia is in hot pursuit of another new head coach for the men’s basketball team sources close to the program tell T.A.H after University officials realized that John Paul Jones (pictured yesterday) had, in fact, been dead for some 217 years.

Undaunted the Cavs brass are now negotiating with another basketball legend. The negotiations are so secret, that we aren’t allowed to reveal the identity of the candidate on the T.A.H. pages.

To see the latest top secret candidate click here.

FSU'S BOWDEN UPSET WITH DADBURN NCAA

To no one’s surprise in Tallahassee, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is supporting the university's appeal of an NCAA sanction stripping wins from Seminoles sports teams whose athletes were involved in an academic fraud scandal.

Under the NCAA penalties, 10 of the school's sports teams are being forced to vacate wins involving athletes who cheated -- including as many as 14 wins by the football team. The school accepted the loss of scholarships in 10 sports and a four-year probation the NCAA announced March 6, but is appealing the loss of victories.

Bowden called the sanctions ''too stiff'' and said he was glad that Florida State is appealing.

''There are different degrees of doing something wrong,'' Bowden said, according to media reports in Florida. "You can go five miles over the speed limit. That's one thing. Or you can go 50 miles over the speed limit, and that's dangerous. ... It just seems like they're killing a flea with a hammer.''

MY MASCOT CAN KICK YOUR MASCOT'S BUTT

T.A.H. reader and fan Tom Johnson alerted us to this story about picking your bracket based on the school’s mascot. Utter and complete nonsense – and right up T.A.H.’s alley.

Pictured here is the mascot for the Sweet Briar College Vixens, and while they aren’t playing in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (primarily due to a lack of men), we thought it was somewhat humorous in that private-girls-school-in-Virginia-sort of way.

Look, we couldn’t find a picture of the Fighting Squirrels, so we had to roll with it...

Nice pearls!

GREAT SHOTS FROM DAY ONE

The best photographers come out for the Big Dance, and when the light, the composition and the focus is just right, they take some amazing photos. Here’s a sample of some outstanding shots from yesterday’s games.

Marcus Thornton #5 of the Louisiana State University Tigers drives through the defense of the Butler Bulldogs. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Jamal Boykin #10 of the California Golden Bears and Eric Hayes #5 of the Maryland Terrapins vie for the ball as Greivis Vasquez #21 of the Maryland Terrapins and Theo Robertson #24 of the California Golden. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Noah Hartsock #34 of the Brigham Young Cougars shoots against Bryan Davis #0 of the Texas A&M Aggies. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Jeff Adrien #4 of the Connecticut Huskies drives against Zach Ferrell #10 and Kevin Goffney #33 of the Chattanooga Mocs. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)


Head Coach Gary Williams and Adrian Bowie #22 of the Maryland Terrapins hug after their 84-71 victory over the California Golden Bears. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)









Bobby Frasor #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels lays in a basket past Kenny Thomas #24 and Eric Hall #33 of the Radford Highlanders. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Taylor Griffin #32 of the Oklahoma Sooners jumps to the basket for the slam dunk in the second half against the Morgan State Golden Bears. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Eric Maynor #3 of the VCU Rams drives against Darren Collison #2 of the UCLA Bruins. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

CAUGHT IN THE ACT. Photographer Streeter Lecka catches Gerald Henderson executing his favorite play – the push off drive gainst D.J. Rivera #2 of the Binghamton Bearcats.

So you know we aren't making it up, the photo caption at Yahoo! said Henderson was "driving to the basket."




(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

WE TOLD YOU SO: COACH K IS NOT HAPPY WITH THE PREZ

Duke coach Mike Krzyghb8ski who once got in the doghouse when he hosted a Republican party fundraiser and who, as recently as this season, complains about the lack of coverage in the triangle area for his boys, is not all that pleased with the Commander in Hoop’s pick to win the national title.

After President Obama was featured yesterday on ESPN picking the Tar Heels to win it all (see below), this quote turned up in a story from Fox News:

"Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets," Krzyzdk5ski said from the Blue Devils' first-round site in Greensboro, N.C.

Neither the President nor any member of his White House staff have replied to T.A.H.’s request for a response to Coach K’s snarkiness.

Go figure.

(Reuters Photo)

CAN AN ACC TEAM WIN IT ALL?

Readers' Digest version:

No. 1 South NORTH CAROLINA
WHY THEY CAN:
Five offensive players capable of scoring in double figures creates tough matchups for any team. Lots of tournament experience.
WHY THEY CAN’T: Ty Lawson’s toe, Danny Green’s slump (the two are interconnected) and horrific lapses in defense.

No. 2 East DUKE
WHY THEY CAN:
Good defensive team with three solid scorers.
WHY THEY CAN’T: One cold shooting night or one game against No. 1 Pittsburgh.

No. 4 Midwest WAKE FOREST
WHY THEY CAN: Big, talented team that might actually match up with Pitt. Jeff Teague and James Johnson.
WHY THEY CAN’T: Young and inconsistent. Poor three-point shooting team, and that will be a factor before all is said and done.

No. 5 East FLORIDA STATE
WHY THEY CAN:
Leonard Hamilton and Toney Douglas.
WHY THEY CAN’T: Everybody else.

No. 7 South CLEMSON
WHY THEY CAN:
Three scorers and great full court defense. Senior led team.
WHY THEY CAN’T: They’re Clemson. Limited tournament experience and very inconsistent (one night the kill Duke, and another night they lose to Georgia Tech).

No. 7 Midwest BOSTON COLLEGE
WHY THEY CAN:
The Big Dance is frequently about guard play, and the Eagles have two good ones in Tyrese Rice and Rakim Sanders.
WHY THEY CAN’T: Everybody else.

No. 10 East MARYLAND
WHY THEY CAN: Gary Williams, Gary Williams, Gary Williams and a side dish of Greivis Vasquez.
WHY THEY CAN’T: Everybody else including all of Dave Neal’s immediate family.

GROUP W ROUND 1 RESULTS

VIRGINIA TECH 116, DUQUESNE 108 2OT – A.D. Vassallo scored 33 points and the Hokies (19-14) scored on their first five possessions in the second overtime to overcome a huge night from Duquesne's Aaron Jackson who scored a career-high 46 points.

Duquesne (21-13), making its first postseason appearance since the 1994 NIT, closed out its best season since the 1971 team went 21-4.

Jeff Allen added 23 points for Virginia Tech, which led by six with under a minute to go in the first overtime. But the Dukes rallied and tied the game at 94 on Jackson's layup with less than 2 seconds left.

In the second overtime, Vassallo scored 10 points and the Hokies made all 10 of their free throws to put the game away.

Jackson hit 15-of-25 from the floor, including 8-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also hit 8-of-9 from the free-throw line and had four assists.

The Hokies led by 13 with seven minutes to go in regulation, but the Dukes used a 17-4 run to tie the game.

MIAMI 78, PROVIDENCE 66 – Jack Jack McClinton made seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points lead Miami to a 78-66 victory over Providence in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday.

Dwayne Collins had 12 rebounds and Lance Hurdle added 12 points for the Hurricanes (19-12), who outrebounded the Friars 44-35.

WHY TY LAWSON WON’T PLAY TODAY V. RADFORD

…a follow-up to Tuesday’s post: WHY TY LAWSON WILL PRACTICE AND PLAY ON THURSDAY.

Why won’t Ty Lawson play today against Radford in the opening round of the NCAA tournament?

Because his damn toe still hurts.

Now, that’s good journalism.

PRESIDENT PICKS UNC TO WIN TOURNAMENT

QUOTE OF THE WEEK EXCLUDING ANYTHING BOBBY KNIGHT MIGHT HAVE SAID

After it was revealed yesterday that President Obama, a onetime practice participant with UNC last April, had filled out his bracket with the Tar Heels as his predicted national champs, a television reporter asked senior teammate Danny Green if, perhaps, Obama had any inside information or direct contact with Lawson.

"I don't know, possibly...Maybe they have a secret bromance that I don't know about. "


Bromance - ouch.

Everybody laughed except Mike Krzydfgv5ski who’s pissed because Obama picking UNC and Lawson’s toe are (in the words of the Joker in the first Batman movie) “stealing all my press.”

WAHOOS WOOING “PERFECT” HOOPS COACH

The University of Virginia is in hot pursuit of a new head coach for the men’s basketball team sources close to the program tell T.A.H. The negotiations are so secret and the candidate so shocking, that we aren’t allowed to reveal the identity of the candidate on the T.A.H. pages.

To see the top secret candidate click here.

EXPANDING THE BIG DANCE INTO A BIG CUMBERSOME FANCY BALL

Every year there is much whining and complaining about who doesn’t get into the 65 team field for the NCAA championship. If it isn’t my guy got fouled and it wasn’t called, so we couldn’t inbound the ball, and score (which we hadn’t done hardly any of in the last three minutes preceding), we would have won that conference tournament game and made it to the Big Dance (you know who you are!), it’s just a simple case of some other unranked team winning a conference tournament (USC, Mississippi State or Temple) which takes away a bid for a deserving at-large team (such as St. Mary’s).

Once the arguing stops – and the boys on ESPN were arguing on Sunday night complete with raised voices and red faces – the ever popular “cooler heads” start suggesting alternatives.

Bobby Knight has consistently suggested adding 63 more teams and making it a 128 team tournament, with opening round being played on the home court of the higher seeded teams. We aren’t too keen on this option unless the NCAA tournament simply added another game to the neutral site. No reason for Morehead State to have to play "at" Louisville. The NCAA can afford one more game on the Tuesday before the Thursday games. Give all the teams the “tournament experience.”

Last year, we suggested merging the Group W Tournament (N.I.T.) (which is already owned by the NCAA) into the Big Dance to create a Bigger Dance. The top 32 teams would get a by, and the other 64 would have a first round at the current first round venues on Tuesday.

None of these is likely to happen, but ESPN’s Mike Tericho made a rather simple suggestion regarding the current play-in game. Let Alabama State and Morehead State play the first round in the tournament – they won their conferences, they deserve it. Make the play in game between the two lowest seeded at-large teams – two teams like Arizona and Minnesota.

There, problem solved.

(AP Photos/Carolyn Kaster and Charlie Riedel)

THE ACC OPENING ROUND LINES

…not that anybody cares.

DUKE (-21.5) v. Binghamton
NORTH CAROLINA (-26) v. Radford
California (-1) v. MARYLAND
CLEMSON (-5) v. Michigan
WAKE FOREST (-7.5) v. Cleveland State
BOSTON COLLEGE v. USC (-2.5)
FLORIDA STATE (-2.5) v. Wisconsin

PICTURE OF THE DAY

MINOR TRAGEDY. Self-explanatory. Charges should be filed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

150,000

150,000 visits and counting...

Ridiculous...

Thank you, we love you.

ONE STATE IN, ANOTHER STATE OUT


MOREHEAD STATE 58, ALABAMA STATE 43 - Kenneth Faried got the better of his bigger and more syllabic counterpart (Chief Kickingstallionsims) Tuesday night with 14 points and 21 rebounds as the Eagles ended a quarter-century of futility for Morehead State.

Morehead (20-15) played its way into a first-round rematch on Friday with top-seeded Louisville, another Kentucky team that it knows well -- maybe a little too well for a good night's sleep the next few days.

The Eagles hadn't made the tournament since 1984, when quarterback Phil Simms' alma mater became a footnote to NCAA basketball history. The Eagles beat North Carolina A&T in an opening game that featured the first television replay used to settle a tournament dispute. They lost their next game to Louisville by 13 points.

Twenty-five years later, they're on a parallel course. Up next: a Louisville team that beat them by 38 last November.

Alabama State (22-10) hoped to set the tone defensively behind shot blocker Grlenntys Chief Kickingstallionsims Jr., a 7-foot-1 center whose reach is as long as his name. He swatted away three shots, but wasn't much help where he was needed most -- on the boards.

Morehead State center Kenneth Faried (35) blocks a shot by Alabama State center Chief Kickingstallionsims (42) during the opening round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, in Dayton, Ohio. Faried had 21 rebounds and two blocked shots in the game won by Morehead State 58-43.

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

T.A.H. GOOD CAUSE FOR MARCH AND APRIL

We’re pretty sure the fund-raising folks would tell you that when the economy sucks charitable giving sucks even worse. While there is probably some economic sense in that, it seems a bit ironic.

So, why not dig a little deeper, and try a little harder to make the world a better place during hard times when it’s difficult? Oh, and especially if it involves golf!

WestRash Charities started as a casual gathering of family and friends to play golf. It evolved from merely playing golf into playing golf to support our shared goal of helping provide the children of our community with a safe place in which to live, play, and grow.

They hold a annual golf event to benefit various groups. This year’s event is Saturday, April 25 at Bristow Manor Golf Club in Prince William Country. This year the tournament will benefit the American Cancer Society, as well as Prince Williams’ "Relay for Life," "Reach for Recovery," "Look Good…Feel Better" and "Road to Recovery" programs.

The tournament will be a 4-person Captains Choice scramble with two flights. Tee time is 8:30 a.m. and the cost is $120 per player.

There are also sponsorship opportunities still available. Last year the tournament raised $10,000 for the Prince William branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

So, don’t be shy or Craig Littlepage will run you out of town.

To register on line or for more information click here. Or contact Chris Rash (703) 794-8051 or Deena Westenhofer (571) 236-5505.

BAGGY SHORTS OR SHORT SHORTS

Short shorts or links to stories about ACC schools in post season tournaments.

Andy Katz on HANSBROUGH, Calhoun, Gonzaga and more…

NORTH CAROLINA’s Lawson must practice to play

CLEMSON is almost there, they only have to fix FIVE things

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FSU LOOKING TO EXTEND HAMILTON

After guiding Florida State to its best season in 16 years, Leonard Hamilton will be offered a contract extension that school officials said Tuesday would make him a “happy camper.”

Florida State president T.K. Wetherell and athletic director Randy Spetman acknowledged that they were working on an extension for Hamilton they hope to get signed after the season.

“I’m convinced Leonard will be back at Florida State and be a happy, happy, happy camper,” Wetherell said. “I don’t see Leonard going anywhere. I can see a number of people probably want him, but why would you want to leave what we’ve got here?”

They did not discuss specifics.

Although the Seminoles will lose star guard Toney Douglas and three-year starter Uche Echefu to graduation, Hamilton has three starters returning along with several key substitutes from the school’s most successful team since 1992-93.

The Seminoles have a 25-9 record going into NCAA tournament play Friday against Wisconsin in a first-round game at Boise, Idaho.

(Reuters Photo)

TWO WORDS: MESSED UP

PICTURE OF THE DAY

WHO'S WHO? Michael Moore, Abe Lincoln, Richard Simmons...

Weber State's Darin Mahoney (32) shoots a free throw against San Diego State as fans hold up giant photos during a first-round men's NIT Tuesday, March 17, 2009, in San Diego. San Diego State won 65-49.




(AP Photo/K.C. Alfred)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HE'S BACK. Stephen Curry's Davidson squad didn't make the Big Dance, but they are in the Group W Dance (N.I.T.). Last night Davidson beat 70, South Carolina 63 in Columbia, S.C.

Not surprisingly, Curry scored 32 points.

(AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WHY TY LAWSON WILL PRACTICE AND PLAY ON THURSDAY

First off, Roy Williams has said that Ty Lawson has to practice part of Tuesday and all of Wednesday in order to play in the Tar Heels opener against Radford on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

In addition, a spokesman for the program said there would not be an update on Lawson’s status after practice on Tuesday. So, unless we snuck in the gym…and, we didn’t, we don’t know what Lawson did today, and nor does Radford coach Brad Greenberg.

We predict, he practiced some today and will practice tomorrow. We also predict he will play only 10 to 15 minutes against Radford, but he may play more if the sputtering turbo jet that is North Carolina’s high-powered offense needs a few more test laps to get the things going again.

The No. 1 Tar Heels proved over the weekend that they are a very different team without Lawson. Obviously, any team without the current ACC Player of the Year is both different, and simply not as good.

Do the math. Never mind the intangibles – we will address that later – Lawson contributes 16 points per game and 6.5 assists. Using old math, that’s 29 points per game. No team is good enough to take 29 points of out its lineup and still win games convincingly and easily. This Carolina team is no exception as they were barely able to beat Virginia Tech and loss a close game to NCAA tournament-bound Florida State. Proof right there that UNC doesn’t want to go too far in the Big Dance without the pilot’s hand on the stick.

Furthermore, the Tar Heels need to get their mojo back, and the guy who keeps Carolina in its groove is Lawson.

For example, Tar Heel Nation is worried about Danny Green’s slump. He looked lost and lacking confidence against both the Hokies and the Seminoles. In previous meetings against those two teams, Green scored 20 against the Seminoles and 10 against the Hokies. Simply put, ten is about all UNC needs.

Danny Green is a tough kid. He’s played in 139 games for North Carolina including three NCAA tournaments. He has overcome personal adversity, so he’s unlikely to buckle under the pressure of a two game slump.

All Green needs to get his game back to normal is Lawson. Green’s three-point shooting and slashing attacks both require a fast paced transition game at which Lawson’s excels.

If you want Green to sink a three, hit him with a sharp pass in transition. If you want a three-pointer in the half-court set look to Wayne Ellington, he’s much better at creating his own shot. Green needs a fast paced game and a quick move either inside or out.

With Lawson out of the lineup, Green hasn’t gotten the same number of transition opportunities. Those opportunities have been few and far apart without the multi-talented Lawson distributing the ball and terrifying defenses with his speed and dribble-drive scoring potential. Get Lawson back running the show, and Green will snap out of his slump.

Teams that want to go far in the post season need multiple scorers. Teams with one scorer like Miami, Florida State, and Maryland are in trouble in post season play. Teams with two scores are surely better off – Virginia Tech (Vasallo, Delaney) and Boston College (Rice, Sanders) – but, ultimately, it’s the team with three or four scorers that have a clear advantage in a one-and-done tournament.

North Carolina, like Duke, has a handful of players who can score. That offensive firepower makes the Tar Heels capable of surviving their lapses in defense, but they need Ty Lawson to keep the fabulous machine running smoothly.

So look for Lawson to find his way back on the court sooner than later. North Carolina needs him to get their 90-points-per-game offense back up to speed.

If we know that, you can bet Ol’ Roy does too.

(AP Photos and Getty Images)

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