Saturday, March 12, 2011

#1 North Carolina v. #2 Duke In ACC Final

Duke Too Much For Weary, Short-Handed Hokies

#5 DUKE 77, VIRGINIA TECH 63 – Apparently not-so-injured Nolan Smith scored 27 points and No. 5  claimed a spot in the ACC against championship game arch rival North Carolina by beating Virginia Tech in the semifinals Saturday.

The big question now, is did the Hokies do enough to get off the bubble and into the Big Dance?
Kyle Singler added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Seth Curry had 10 points for the second-seeded Blue Devils (29-4).

The two-time defending league tournament champions and 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions shot 47 percent and kept the Hokies at arm’s length throughout the second half to avenge a late-season loss and set up a third meeting with bitter rival North Carolina in the title game Sunday.

Delaney, who’s second to Smith in the ACC scoring race, finished with 19 points on 4-of-14 shooting for the sixth-seeded Hokies (21-11). They were just 2 of 12 from 3-point range and couldn’t get closer than 10 in the final 14 minutes. Erick Green added 17 points for the Hokies. 

Virginia Tech’s Jeff Allen had his punk flag flying instead of his talented senior basketball player flag, and the end result was dumb fouls, glaring looks and an early exit with just two points and seven rebounds.

Without question, the main story line focused on Smith, the ACC player of the year. His status was in question until a few minutes before tipoff because he injured the second toe on his left foot late in Duke’s victory the night before against Maryland.

After X-rays showed no broken bones, Smith tested his toe during warmups and took his familiar place in the starting lineup. He scored 16 points in the first half and finished 8 of 16 from the field in the highest-scoring ACC tournament game of his career. The senior captain keyed an early run that gave the Blue Devils some breathing room, then essentially put the game away with consecutive alley-oops to Mason Plumlee in the final 8 minutes.

Singler matched a school record by playing in his 144th consecutive game while Curry, the son of former Virginia Tech sharpshooter Dell Curry, atoned for a five-foul, no-point night in Duke’s 64-60 loss in Blacksburg, Va.

Victor Davila had 11 points for Virginia Tech, which has endured a topsy-turvy past two weeks since knocking the Blue Devils from No. 1 with that memorable upset.

Back-to-back losses to bubble teams to close the regular season added to the Hokies’ desperation entering the league tournament, but they picked up two wins to reach the semifinals for the third time and seemingly played their way to their first NCAA berth since 2007. Playing roughly 16 hours after an emotionally draining quarterfinal win over Florida State, they were denied their first trip to the ACC title game.

Georgia Tech Fires Paul Hewitt

The mounting losses and declining attendance finally caught up with Paul Hewitt.

Saturday the Yellow Jackets answered the long-running question about the coach’s future when they fired him only two days after another disappointing season.

Hewitt, who took the Yellow Jackets to the national championship game in 2004, muddled through his fourth losing season in the last six years.

“At the end of the day we just didn’t win enough games,” Hewitt told The Associated Press on Saturday. “It’s part of the business.”

In the end, the financial impact of a half-filled arena for Georgia Tech’s home games overwhelmed the $7.2 million buyout Hewitt will be paid over five years.

Athletic director Dan Radakovich said at a press conference Saturday that he hopes to hire a coach before the Final Four, which begins on April 2 in Houston.

Hewitt was not bitter about being let go, which was not unexpected.

“I had 11 years there,” Hewitt said. “I’ve got nothing but appreciation for how they dealt with me in my 11 years. It’s a great place and I know they’re going to get a great coach.”

When asked his plans, Hewitt, 47, said “I don’t know. For better or for worse, a lot of family time.”
The Final Four season was the only year Hewitt managed a winning record in the ACC.

As the losing seasons piled up, attendance dipped dramatically at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The 13-18 
Yellow Jackets failed to sell out any games this season at the 9,100-seat arena.

The Yellow Jackets’ were 11th in the ACC this season at 5-11. Their season ended with Thursday night’s first-round loss to Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Hewitt’s overall record in 11 years was 190-162, including a poor conference record of 72-104.

Hewitt led Georgia Tech to five NCAA tournament appearances. The highlight came in 2004, when the Yellow Jackets lost to Connecticut in the championship game.

Georgia Tech had made the NCAAs only once in the last four seasons, a one-and-done appearance in 2010 with a team that included future NBA players Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal.

Two starters returned from last year’s NCAA tournament team. But Georgia Tech lost sophomore forward Brian Oliver with a broken thumb, and freshman Kammeon Holsey was limited as he recovered from knee surgery.

After the Final Four season, former athletic director Dave Braine signed Hewitt to a six-year contract at about $1.3 million per year that includes an automatic rollover clause.

UNC Beats Clemson (Again), Barnes Carries Tar Heels To ACC Final

Harrison Barnes
NORTH CAROLINA 92, CLEMSON 87 – It’s never easy to beat a team three times, and harder still when the match up is against a twenty-win team headed to the NCAA tournament.  The first two Clemson v. North Carolina games were dogfights and this one was no different.

This time North Carolina overcame another slow start to rally and win in overtime on the back of a 40 point performance by freshman Harrison Barnes.

The Tigers played spectacularly for the first 35 minutes only to blink in the final five allowing UNC to ultimately control the overtime period and earn a place in tomorrow’s final against the winner of Duke v. Virginia Tech.

Clemson jumped out to a big lead as UNC duplicated the slow start that haunted them against Maimi.  The Tigers were six of eight from behind the arc and carried a ten point lead into the halftime break at 38-28.  Turnovers, missed free throws and unconverted transition opportunities plagued the regular season champions in the opening stanza. 

But, Clemson who made all the right moves for the first 35 minutes, couldn’t sustain their efforts the final five of regulation and the overtime.  North Carolina made a sustained rally in the second half and Tyler Zeller sunk a jump hook to tie the game and force overtime.   A day after rallying from 19 down in the second half to beat Miami, the Tar Heels trailed the Tigers (21-11) by 14 in the first half and rallied from seven down in the final 4 minutes of regulation to force overtime. North Carolina held Clemson scoreless for the final 3:53 of regulation.

Demontez Stitt (we're diggin' the shoes)
Barnes hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:13 left as part of a 9-0 spurt to open the extra period, which helped the Tar Heels (26-6) win their third straight against Clemson.  After the slow start, North Carolina scored 64 points in the second half and overtime period.

Barnes capped the run with a three-point play, then added his sixth 3-pointer to beat the shot clock with 1:14 left. He finished with the most points by any player in the ACC tournament in 16 years and the most by a UNC player in more than four decades.

His effort is tied for the third most points by an Tar Heel in an ACC tournament game and most ever by a freshmen in the tournament.  The 40-point effort in a tournament game was the first for UNC since first time a Tar Heels player scored 40 since Charles Scott had 41 in the 1970 quarterfinals.  Wake Forest’s Randolph Childress was the last player to score 40 in an ACC tourney game, doing it in the 1995 championship win here against the Heels.

John Henson scored 13 of his 18 points after halftime for North Carolina.

Demontez Stitt scored a career-high 25 points to lead the fourth-seeded Tigers.

Screenshot Of The Day

NICE SHOT, HARRISON.  T.A.H. aficionado, UNC grad and father of one Tar Heel graduate and one freshman, John Allen of Ramseur, NC (the handsome guy on the far left) applauds a Harrison Barnes three-pointer during the ACC semifinal.  Allen is the cousin of T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T., the next-door-neighbor of Southern Conference record setting quarterback Scott Riddle and a damn good golfer.  Allen's seat was in the second row behind the UNC bench.  Nice, John, NICE!  (Photo by T.A.H. Worldwide Media via Raycom Sports)

Where We Stand

Hokies Rally For Improbable Last-Second Win Over Florida State

Erick Green #11, Malcolm Delaney #23 and Paul Debnam.
The bookends for today’s ACC Tournament quarternfinals were last second game-winning shots – North Carolina’s final shot with 1/10 of a second left beat the buzzer while Derwin Kithcen’s potential game winner lingered on the last few cells of his fingerprints just long enough to help the Hokies get one step further away from the dreaded Big Dance bubble.

Erick Green hit the go-ahead jumper with 4.7 seconds left, while Derwin Kitchen’s desperation shot at the buzzer was waved off as Virginia Tech edged Florida State 52-51 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Friday night.

Derwin Kitchen
Green was just 1 for 12 from the field for the sixth-seeded Hokies (21-10) before taking a feed from Malcolm Delaney and calmly sinking a jumper near the 3-point arc. The third-seeded Seminoles (21-10) called timeout and inbounded to Kitchen, who dribbled into the right corner before launching a fadeaway over a defender at the horn.

The ball dropped through the net and the officials initially called it good, sending the Seminoles spilling oncourt to mob Kitchen. Meanwhile, Delaney and Green walked to midcourt with their hands on their heads in disbelief.

But officials soon reviewed the replays and reversed the call.

The Hokies managed just 19 points in the first half and shot free throws like Stevie Wonder, but they came out for the second frame with a different mindset and ground out an important win.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Duke Wears Down Maryland, Smith Hurt

Hook 'em Horns...?

Kyle Singler scored 29 points and No. 5 Duke, after star guard Nolan Smith went down with an injury, pulled away late to beat Maryland on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the ACC  tournament.

Mason Plumlee added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the second-seeded Blue Devils (28-4), but league player of the year Smith sustained an apparent toe injury with under 7 minutes left.

The two-time reigning ACC tournament champions held Maryland without a field goal for 6 minutes down the stretch to reach the conference semifinals for the fourth straight year.

Jordan Williams had 16 points and 16 rebounds to lead the seventh-seeded Terrapins (19-14). They kept things tight for much of the second half, pulling to 63-60 on Dino Gregory’s layup with 10:15 remaining.

Singler hit a driving layup with just under 9 minutes left to start the decisive 24-9 run.

Clemson Throttles Bsston College

CLEMSON 70, BOSTON COLLEGE 47 -- Demontez Stitt scored 20 points to lead Clemson past Boston College on Friday in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.

Jerai Grant added 12 points and Milton Jennings had 10 for the fourth-seeded Tigers (21-10). They shot 45 percent on 23-of-51 shooting and clamped down on one of the ACC’s best 3-point shooting teams to win a game both teams desperately needed to polish their NCAA tournament profiles and possibly move themselves off the bubble.

After winning its first ACC tournament game since 2008, Clemson advances to face No. 6 North Carolina, the top seed, on Saturday in one semifinal.

Joe Trapani scored 20 points to lead fifth-seeded BC (20-12). All-ACC guard Reggie Jackson was pestered all day by Stitt and finished with 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting.

Stitt scored at least 14 points for the ninth straight game and Grant had three of his four blocked shots in a 3 1/2 -minute window early in the second half in which Clemson began to pull away. The Tigers made Brad Brownell the winningest first-year coach in school history and won just their fifth ACC tournament game since 1998.

More importantly, they picked up a victory over a team that appeared to be joining them on the NCAA tournament bubble. According to one unofficial replication of the RPI formula, Clemson entered at No. 60 against a schedule that ranked 73rd. The Eagles, meanwhile, were 44th with a schedule-strength rating of No. 27.

Clemson never trailed and in the second half had a double-digit lead for all but about 2 minutes, going up by double figures to stay when Stitt beat the Eagles downcourt for a layup that made it 38-27 with 17:45 left. Stitt pushed the lead into the 20s about 10 minutes later when he finger-rolled a layup that made it 56-35.

The Tigers and their relentless defense wouldn’t let BC keep up. Clemson, which allows a league-fewest 60 points per game, continually frustrated the Eagles on the perimeter.

Where We Stand

Quote Of The Day (So Far)

"We were as lucky as we possibly could be."

-- North Carolina head coach Roy Williams on the outcome of his Tar Heels' last fraction-of-a-second victory over Miami.

Williams pulled his entire starting lineup and inserted the five walk-ons known internally as "Blue Steel" in an effort to sharpen his team's focus. worked.

Picture Of The Day (So Far)

ARE YOU FEELIN' ME? Brian McLaughlin and his son Izayah, 4, cheer in the second half of the North Carolina v. Miami game at the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Friday, March 11, 2011. Oh...and the hat?  Nice, Brian, NICE! (AP Photo)

Tar Heels Cruise To Easy Opening Round Win

Zeller just after making the winning bucket.

After being down 19 points in the first half, top-seeded UNC staged a furious comeback that almost rivaled Miami’s amazing comeback yesterday from 10 points down with under a minute to play.  This time, Tar Heel point guard Kendall Marshall penetrated into the lane and found Tyler Zeller for a layup at the buzzer that lifted North Carolina over the Hurricanes in Friday’s quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.

Zeller, who earlier in the day had been acknowledged with the 2011 Skip Prosser award, celebrated with 13 points for the Tar Heels (25-6), who escaped the upset with a frantic comeback in the final eight minutes. North Carolina struggled with turnovers all day against Miami’s zone defense and didn’t get much going inside. The team rallied with a flurry of three-point shots before Zeller gave the Tar Heels their only lead on the final play.

The ninth-seeded Hurricanes (19-14) were stunned when officials immediately ruled Zeller’s basket beat the horn, denying Miami another last-second victory. North Carolina went on a 27-6 run that included 11-of-17 shooting, five 3-pointers and eight consecutive points by Zeller to cap the game.

It was North Carolina’s biggest comeback in a game in five years, dating to when the Tar Heels rallied from 20 down in the first half to beat Georgia Tech in 2006.

Harrison Barnes had 18 points and hit four of the Tar Heels’ 10 three-pointers, seven coming in the second half. Leslie McDonald added 11 points and hit three threes as part of a smaller lineup that finally got the Tar Heels going after a sluggish first 30 minutes.

The Tar Heels advanced to Saturday’s semifinals to face the Boston College-Clemson winner.

Hey! Look what we found - the winning basket!
North Carolina shot 56 percent and had just five turnovers following the break after committing 15 in the first half. The Hurricanes capitalized on those miscues all day, but the Tar Heels—who had struggled with their outside shooting for much of February—finally built some momentum with a series of four 3s in a 2-minute span to cut a 16-point deficit to 55-51 with 5:13 left.

Zeller tied the game on a hook shot in the lane with 45.3 seconds left, then Miami gave it back to the Tar Heels when Adrian Thomas couldn’t handle a pass from Malcolm Grant and fumbled the ball out of bounds with 18.6 seconds remaining.

The Hurricanes had committed just four team fouls to that point, so they fouled twice to take North Carolina out of rhythm in the waning seconds. Finally, Marshall took an inbound pass with 5.6 seconds left and drove by Julian Gamble in the lane before sending a short pass over to Zeller on the other side of the block.

Grant scored 16 points to lead the Hurricanes.

UNC’s Zeller Named 2011 Skip Prosser Award Recipient

North Carolina junior forward Tyler Zeller has been named the recipient of the 2011 "Skip" Prosser Award, emblematic of the top scholar-athlete in men's basketball, ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced today.

Wake Forest head basketball coach George Edward "Skip" Prosser passed away on July 26, 2007. Prosser compiled a 291-146 career record in 14 seasons as a head coach, including a 126-68 mark in his six years with the Demon Deacons. The 2003 ACC Coach of the Year, Prosser won 20-plus games and led Wake Forest to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first four seasons in Winston-Salem and brought the school its first outright ACC regular season title in 2003. Every Wake Forest senior he coached graduated, and the Deacons placed nine players on the annual All-ACC Academic Basketball Team during his tenure.

In order to be nominated for the award, a student-athlete must be an upperclassman with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better - both in his career and in the previous two semesters. Sixty percent of the award is based on academic achievement and 40 percent on athletic accomplishments.

In addition to being a three-time honoree on the All-ACC Academic Basketball team and a two-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll, Zeller was named UNC's 2010-11 Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Men's Basketball. The business administration major from Washington, Ind., is also a 2011 Capital One Academic All-American and was a Capital One Academic All-District First Team selection. Zeller has earned Dean's List honors three times at UNC and is a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative.

A second-team All-ACC selection this season, Zeller played integral part in the sixth-ranked Tar Heels' finish atop the ACC regular-season standings. Zeller enters the 2011 ACC Tournament leading the conference in field goal percentage (.541) while ranking eighth in scoring (14.6 ppg) and in rebounding (7.1 rpg).

Zeller has earned UNC's defensive player of the game honor nine times this season and has scored 24 points-or-more on three occasions, including a career-high 27-point effort in a win over Kentucky on Dec. 4.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ACC Tournament: Where We Stand After Day 1

Hokies Win "Engineer Bowl For Hoopsters"

VIRGINIA TECH 59, GEORGIA TECH 43 – Malcolm Delaney scored 15 points and Virginia Tech beat Georgia Tech on Thursday night in the first round of the ACC tournament.

Jeff Allen added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Hokies (20-10), who never trailed.

They shot nearly 47 percent on 22-of-47 shooting, raced out to an early 19-point lead and made it stand, snapping the irksome two-game losing streak that brought their NCAA tournament candidacy into question.

Virginia Tech gets another chance to make a case for a spot in the field of 68 on Friday night against third-seeded Florida State in the quarterfinals.

Glen Rice Jr. scored 14 points to lead 11th-seeded Georgia Tech (13-18). The Yellow Jackets hit a few late shots to avoid their season-low shooting percentage—they finished 17 of 53 (32 percent)—but their two-game winning streak was halted.

Terps Top Wolfpack, Lowe’s Future Uncertain

MARYLAND 75, N.C. STATE 67 – Jordan had another double-double – 16 points and 13 rebounds –  to help Maryland beat North Carolina State on Thursday night in the first round of the ACC tournament.

Dino Gregory added 11 points for the seventh-seeded Terrapins (19-13), who snapped a three-game losing streak and led the entire night. Maryland led by 17 points in the first half and never let the 10th-seeded Wolfpack (15-16) get closer than six in the second half, earning a matchup with fifth-ranked Duke in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Tracy Smith had 14 points to lead N.C. State, which had a miserable shooting performance in what could be the final game for fifth-year Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe. N.C. State shot 34 percent, including 2-for-17 from 3-point range, and couldn’t pull off the same kind of magic they had in a pair of deep ACC tournament runs under Lowe.

The Terrapins needed this win considering how they had likely fumbled away their NCAA tournament at-large chances by closing the regular season with three straight losses, two of which coming to lower-seeded Miami and Virginia. But the Terrapins shot 45 percent while playing from ahead all night against the Wolfpack.

Lowe entered with an 86-77 overall record while going just 25-55 in ACC play. He also hasn’t made the NCAA tournament after inheriting a program coming off five straight NCAA trips. There have been a handful of exciting moments, including a surprise run to the ACC tournament final in his first season and a trip to the ACC semifinals last year.

N.C. State athletics director Debbie Yow has said there would be no decisions on Lowe’s future until after the season is complete. Now, barring an unexpected invitation to the NIT on Sunday night, that’s exactly where things stand.

In some ways, this game was a metaphor for N.C. State’s entire season. Picked to finish fourth in the ACC, N.C. State closed with four losses in five games to fall to the No. 10 seed here, then couldn’t take advantage of repeated opportunities to get back in the game when Maryland wavered.

Boston College Defeats Wake Forest In ACC Tourney Opener

Reggie Jackson
BOSTON COLLEGE 81, WAKE FOREST 67 – Reggie  Jackson was one of three Boston College players with at least 20 points in the Eagles’ victory against Wake Forest on Thursday in the first round of the ACC tournament.

Jackson scored 27, Joe Trapani added 22 points and Biko Paris had 21 for the fifth-seeded Eagles (20-11).

They shot nearly 54 percent on 29-of-54 shooting, made 10 3-pointers and used a huge first-half run to boost their NCAA tournament chances and blow out Wake Forest for the second time this week.

The Eagles will face fourth-seeded Clemson on Friday in a quarterfinal matchup of NCAA bubble teams.

Travis McKie had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the 12th-seeded Demon Deacons (8-24), who haven’t won an ACC tournament game since 2007. They never led and capped the losingest season in school history with their 11th straight defeat.

ACC Tournament Update

Pictures Of The Day (So Far)

GAME WINNER. Kemba Walker #15 of the #21 Connecticut Huskies shoots the game winning basket against the #3 Pittsburgh Panthers during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Miami Starts The Madness

Durand Scott
MIAMI 69, VIRGINIA 62 OT – Well, it is March, so let the madness begin.

This time, it’s Cav coach Tony Bennett who might be considering going mad after his squad blew a ten point lead with 42 seconds remaining.  Missed free throws and turnovers plagued Virginia late.

The game has "Instant Classic" potential for Miami fans, but for Wahoo Nation it was an unmitigated disaster.

Malcolm Grant scored 16 points as Miami rallied to oust Virginia from Thursday’s first round of the ACC tournament.

Garrius Adams added 10 points for the ninth-seeded Hurricanes (19-13), who spent most of the second half struggling to make a shot before their frantic comeback forced the extra period. Once there, Grant hit three free throws while Adams had a crucial 3-pointer and Reggie Johnson added a pair of baskets to put Miami in control.

Mustapha Farrakhan
The Hurricanes advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals to play sixth-ranked and top-seeded North Carolina as they try to repeat last year’s surprising semifinal run as a No. 12 seed.

Mustapha Farrakhan had 14 points to lead the eighth-seeded Cavaliers (16-15), whose 20-2 run gave them a 50-39 lead with 2:12 left.

But Miami staged a rally as improbable as it was wild, particularly considering how poorly the Hurricanes had shot the ball through the second half.

Miami missed 17 of its first 19 shots in the second half and had just 12 points through the first 19 minutes before scoring the final 10 points in regulation. The Hurricanes then hit all five of their shots in the overtime.

In Case You May Have Forgotten

2011 ACC Tournament Schedule

Thursday, March 10 - First Round

#8 seed VIRGINIA vs. #9 seed MIAMI noon ACC Network

#5 seed BOSTON COLLEGE vs. #12 seed WAKE FOREST Approx 2:00 p.m. ACC Network

#7 seed MARYLAND vs. #10 seed N.C. STATE 7:00 p.m. ESPN2

#6 seed VIRGINIA TECH vs. #11 seed GEORGIA TECH Approx 9:00 p.m. ACC Network

For pictures of yesterday's practice sessions, click here

St. John’s Victory Over Rutgers In Big East Tourney Ends In Chaos

Before the ACC tournament gets underway and the annual whinefest about bad officiating gets underway, take a quick look at this.

Yesterday’s St. Johns v. Rugers games is being described by many as an instant classic with as bizarre an ending as you may have ever seen.

After a series of controversial calls, down two points Rutgers inbounds the ball with 4.9 seconds remaining.  St. John’s steals the ball and Justin Brownlee dribbles toward the sideline.  This is where it gets interesting…

Brownlee stopped dribbling two steps before the sideline. With his third step he goes out of bounds.  Then to really mix it up, he threw the ball into the stands.  Problem was there was 1.7 seconds left on the clock when he stepped out of bounds (never mind the previous uncalled traveling violation). Oh yeah, and the technical foul for throwing the ball into the crowd...

“I just let my emotions get to me. I was just trying to throw it up so the time would expire,” Brownlee said. “Unfortunately I threw it too early. Fortunately time did expire and we came up with the win.”

Yes, fortunately for the Johnnies, time did expire, but clearly it should not have…

Forty minutes after the game, the Big East Commissioner issued a statement saying that two officiating errors had occurred. 

"The Big East Conference acknowledges that two separate officiating errors occurred at the conclusion of the St. John's vs. Rutgers game," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement. "Both missed violations that should have caused the game clock to stop and a change of possession to occur prior to the end of the game. Neither error is reviewable or correctable under NCAA rules."

There was no sign of the statement on the Big East website nor was there any mention of the ending of the game in the recap which was the first five paragraphs of the AP wire story. 

To read more, click here

Here’s the video…advance it to the 1:24 mark to see the final play and the chaos that ensued.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scientist Discover What Is Going On Inside Larry Drew II’s Brain

Well it was a matter of time before the Inception crew gave up on digging around in Charlie Sheen’s
dreams and set up camp instead in LDII’s mind in an attempt to figure out exactly what is going on with the former Tar Heel point guard.

Since the Inception movie confused a lot of folks, this time the mad scientist dream weavers decided to approach the problem mathematically.  This diagram is Drew’s version of the events that transpired last month…

We checked the math and ran all the calculations through T.A.H. Worldwide Media's new mega-computer "Sheen."  Other than the "11.0" on the far right being incorrect (it should be 13.0), the rest of the math is tight!


Drew II Calls Out UNC In Birthday Rap

What is this, a crazy contest?
Yo Charlie, Drew 2 on line one…

Former Tar Heel Larry Drew II was the guest of honor at a lavish party, held at the Conga Room in Los Angeles in honor of his 21st birthday and from the looks of things, it drew a decent sized crowd – including entertainer Jamie Foxx.

Here’s the scoop courtesy of Rob Dauster at MSNBC and the blog Ballin’ Is A Habit.  We can’t really improve on it, so here you go:  

Ok, before I even get into the absurdity of this, click here to go watch the video.

That, folks, is Larry Drew II, the former North Carolina point guard that quit the team after Kendall Marshall was given the starting role. Ignoring the fact that Drew II is rapping on a stage at what is apparently his 21st birthday party (who does that?), his “disses” end up proving why he was never able to fully catch on at Carolina.

Drew rappin'.
Here’s a snippet of what he had to say about the Tar Heels:

Everything that I’m hearing is untrue. The media? They talking but they never confront you.
I mean the last three years I can’t undo, but now I’m making all the moves I want to.
Pick & rolls, I’m crossing [expletive]. Just felt like I got more game than my height showed.
They tried to tell me just to play my role, but who’s really trying to stick to a script that’s filled with typos?
Like a horror flick, they made me out to be a monster. [expletive] [expletive], I should have won an Oscar.
It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sing, right? I brought the whole opera.
It’s like Biggie, ‘who shot ya?’ But who who shot them? I’m so not them, but in the end I think that’s what really shocked them.
I refuse to be another robot, slim.*

The points to ponder:

1. Does Drew realize that he was the typo for the Heels? UNC went from a team that was in danger of going to their second straight NIT with Drew at the point to the ACC champion and a potential No. 1 seed. With Drew, they were a First Four contender. Without Drew, they are a Final Four contender. Who is the typo?

Kendall Marshall cutting down ACC Championship nets.
2. Drew does realize that, if he wants his basketball career to continue, he is going to need to find another college to transfer to, doesn’t he? What college coach is going to bring this kid in? Calling out former teammates and coaches is bad, but being completely oblivious to your faults as a player is a bigger issue. Will anything change at his new school?

3. Can someone please give this kid some guidance? He has essentially 18 months until he can play basketball again.

4. He should learn from Kendall Marshall. Not just how to play, but how to act. When made aware of the video, Marshall’s reaction was simply “cute.“

Birthday over, rap over, game over, career OVER?

*Items in italics are unfortunately true.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Smith Player Of The Year, Williams Coach Of The Year

Duke’s Nolan Smith is the ACC player of the year, and three of the league’s other individual awards belong to regular season champion North Carolina.

The Tar Heels’ Roy Williams is the coach of the year, Harrison Barnes is the league’s top freshman and John Henson is its defensive player of the year.

The individual award winners were announced Tuesday following a vote of 75 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

Smith, a unanimous all-ACC pick, received 73 votes for the individual honor. He leads the league with an average of 21.6 points and is the ACC-record 14th Blue Devil to win the award and first since J.J. Redick in 2006.

Williams received 52 votes to win the coaching award for the second time in the ACC.

He guided the Tar Heels to the outright regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament, which begins Thursday in Greensboro. After losing 17 games last season, North Carolina became the first team in league history to win the ACC’s regular-season title outright a year after finishing below .500 in league play.
Two first-year coaches who have teams on the NCAA tournament bubble— Clemson’s Brad Brownell and Boston College’s Steve Donahue—received eight and six votes respectively.

Barnes, the preseason pick to win the rookie of the year award, leads all league freshmen with a 14-point average and hit two game-winning shots in the final 10 seconds of ACC road games. He received 64 votes to outdistance teammate Kendall Marshall, who had seven, and Wake Forest’s Travis McKie, who had two. He’s the ninth North Carolina freshman to win the award and first since Brandan Wright in 2007.

Henson, a sophomore who averaged nearly four blocked shots in conference games, became the Tar Heels’ fifth defensive player of the year and first since Danny Green in 2009. He was voted first on 49 ballots to finish ahead of Florida State’s Chris Singleton (16) and Georgia Tech’s Iman Shumpert (2).

Q: Is Charlie Sheen Still Alive?

A: Yes, as far as we know.

The ACC tournament doesn’t start until Thursday, so how about some quality Charlie Sheen?  Yesterday, he was fired from his hit sitcom for behavior unbecoming for even him.  Then he delivered some late night rants that either confirm he’s gone all the way back off the deep end for back on the crack pipe...

Here are the two best related items the Pop Culture Department at T.A.H. Worldwide Media have come across so far today…

All-ACC Basketball Team

Duke guard and NCAA player of the year candidate Nolan Smith is the only unanimous selection to the All-ACC Basketball first team.

The All-ACC teams were announced Monday following a vote of 75 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

For the first time in league history, the outright ACC regular-season champion failed to place any players on the first team. North Carolina did have three players make the second team and another on the third team.

Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes were on the second team and Kendall Marshall was a third-team selection, making the Tar Heels the first team to place four players across the three teams since they did it in 2005, when they won the national championship.

Delaney, the ACC's second-leading scorer at 18.8 points per game, and Singler were repeat first-team selections.

The voting for the 2010-11 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball teams, as determined by 75 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.  (Oddly, T.A.H. still has not been invited to join…)

All-ACC First Team
Nolan Smith, Duke (225)+
Jordan Williams, Maryland (210)
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech (202)
Kyle Singler, Duke (199)
Reggie Jackson, Boston College (190)

All-ACC Second Team
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina (161)
John Henson, North Carolina (148)
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (145)
Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech (132)
Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech (131)

All-ACC Third Team
Chris Singleton, Florida State (126)
Demontez Stitt, Clemson (81)
Joe Trapani, Boston College (63)
Malcolm Grant, Miami (62)
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (45)

ACC All-Freshman Team
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (75)+
Travis McKie, Wake Forest (74)
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (71)
Terrell Stoglin, Maryland (62)
C.J. Leslie, NC State (46)

ACC All-Defensive Team
John Henson, North Carolina (75)+
Chris Singleton, Florida State (64)
Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech (60)
Nolan Smith, Duke (26)
Jerai Grant, Clemson (20)

+ unanimous selection for applicable team

ACC Players Of The Week

Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert has been selected as the ACC Player of the Week, while North Carolina's Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall share ACC Rookie of the Week honors presented by Chevrolet following their outstanding performances this past week.

Shumpert averaged 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 steals and 3.5 assists as Georgia Tech closed out the regular season with a pair of ACC wins. The Oak Park, Ill., junior opened the week with a 24-point, eight-rebound, six-steal and three-assist effort in an 80-54 win at Wake Forest. He followed that with 19 points, three rebounds, four assists and five steals as Tech rallied past Miami, 66-57, in its final home game Sunday.

Barnes averaged 18.0 points and 4.5 rebounds as North Carolina captured the league's regular-season championship with wins over Florida State and Duke. The Ames, Iowa, native hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds to play in the Tar Heels' 72-70 win at Florida State. In Saturday's 81-67 win over the fourth-ranked Blue Devils, he had a team-high 18 points and five rebounds.

Marshall averaged 11.0 points, 9.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in wins over Florida State and Duke. Against the fourth-ranked Blue Devils, the Dumfries, Va., freshman had 15 points and 11 assists while committing just two turnovers in 36 minutes. Earlier in the week, he had seven points and eight assists in a two-point win at Florida State.

Picture Of The Day

NEVER FORGET.  The Fennville High School basketball team stands for a moment of silence for Wes Leonard before the MHSA Boys Class C Basketball tournament game against Lawrence High School in Holland, Michigan.  Leonard, 16, collapsed on the court moments after making the winning shot in overtime to get his team to the playoffs. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Monday, March 7, 2011

North Carolina Joins Duke In AP Top 10

North Carolina returned to the AP top 10 for the first time since the end of November on Monday after wrapping up the ACC regular-season title.

The Tar Heels are No. 6 in the latest AP poll, one slot behind Duke, who it defeated on Saturday to finish the ACC season with a 14-2 record.
UNC (24-6) started the season ranked eighth but dropped to No. 25 after two losses in Puerto Rico in the third week of November. The Heels moved up from No. 13 in last week's poll with Saturday's 81-67 win over Duke at the Smith Center.
No. 5 Duke (27-4) dropped from one spot from last week .
Both teams have a first-round bye in the ACC tournament.

ACC Sunday Night Basketball

Tracy Smith
FLORIDA STATE 72, N.C. STATE 62 – Derwin Kitchen had 17 points and matched a career high with 13 rebounds to help Florida State beat North Carolina State 72-62 on Sunday.

Bernard James added 14 points for the Seminoles (21-9, 11-5 ACC), who won three of five to close the regular season while top scorer and rebounder Chris Singleton sat out with a broken right foot. It marked only the third time in program history that Florida State has won 11 ACC games in a season and the first since winning 12 in 1993.

Freshman C.J. Leslie had 12 points to lead the Wolfpack (15-15, 5-11), who trailed most of the day and made a push to take a one-point lead with about 8 minutes left. But Kitchen scored a pair of baskets to put the Seminoles ahead for good, sealing a season sweep of N.C. State.

BOSTON COLLEGE 84, WAKE FOREST 68 – Three  seniors - Biko Paris, Corey Raji and Joe Trapani - led the way for Boston College on Senior Day. Raji registered 21 points, Paris posted 19 and Trapani totaled 17 to lead Boston College to an 84-68 ACC win over Wake Forest before a sellout crowd of 8,606 in Conte Forum.

Junior Reggie Jackson recorded 14 points and a game-high seven assists for the home team.

After Wake Forest, which entered on a nine-game losing streak, jumped out to a 21-15 lead six minutes into the contest, BC blitzed the visitors with an 18-2 run to gain a 33-23 advantage with 7:05 left in the half. Raji scored eight points and Paris sank two three-pointers to lead the rally.

BC (19-11, 9-7 ACC), which sank seven of its 12 treys in the first half, led 44-30 at the break.

The Eagles continued to surge in the second half, opening with a 17-7 run to claim its biggest lead of the game -- 24 points (61-37) - with 15:08 remaining. Raji notched five points and Jackson tallied four points in this stretch. Junior Dallas Elmore's three-pointer capped the rally.

Maurice Miller
Wake Forest (8-23, 1-15 ACC) never got closer than 14 points - in the final minute - the rest of the way.

GEORGIA TECH 66, MIAMI 57 – Iman   Iman Shumpert had 19 points, Lance Storrs led Georgia Tech's 3-point assault and the Yellow Jackets beat Miami 66-57 on Sunday in the final game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Storrs had five 3-pointers for 15 points and Shumpert and Jason Morris, who had 11 points, each added three long-range shots as Georgia Tech overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half. The Yellow Jackets had 12 3-pointers, one shy of their season high.

Georgia Tech (13-17 overall, 5-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) finished the season with its first two-game winning streak since January.

Adrian Thomas had 14 points and Durand Scott had 13 for Miami (18-13, 6-10 ACC), which was hurt by 21 turnovers.

ACC Tourney Pairings Set

North Carolina is the No. 1 seed in the upcoming 2011 ACC Tournament, which gets underway Thursday, March 10, at- the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum. The 13th-ranked Tar Heels clinched their 18th outright ACC regular-season title, and 28th overall, with Saturday’s 81-67 win over fourth-ranked Duke.

In addition to top-seeded North Carolina, Duke (No. 2), Florida State (No. 3) and Clemson (No. 4) all earned first-round byes from Thursday’s opening-round session.

The 2011 ACC Tournament is set to tip off at noon ET on Thursday, March 10, and will conclude with a 1 p.m. championship contest on Sunday, March 13.

2011 ACC Tournament Schedule

Thursday, March 10 - First Round
#8 seed Virginia vs. #9 seed Miami noon ACC Network
#5 seed Boston College vs. #12 seed Wake Forest 2:00 p.m.* ACC Network
#7 seed Maryland vs. #10 seed NC State 7:00 p.m. ESPN2
#6 seed Virginia Tech vs. #11 seed Georgia Tech 9:00 p.m.* ACC Network

Friday, March 11 - Quarterfinals
#1 seed North Carolina vs. Game 1 Winner noon ACC Network/ESPN2
#4 seed Clemson vs. Game 2 Winner 2:00 p.m.* ACC Network/ESPN2
#2 seed Duke vs. Game 3 Winner 7:00 p.m. ACC Network/ESPN2
#3 seed Florida State vs. Game 4 Winner 9:00 p.m.* ACC Network/ESPN2

Saturday, March 12 - Semifinals 
ACC Semifinal 1 1:00 p.m. ACC Network/ESPN
ACC Semifinal 2 3:00 p.m.* ACC Network/ESPN

Sunday, March 13 - Championship 
Championship Game 1:00 p.m. ACC Network/ESPN

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