Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pictures Of The Day

Valentino Rossi of team Team Kessel Racing - Ferrari 458 Italia in action during the Blancpain GT Endurance test day one at Autodromo di Monza on April 13, 2012 in Monza, Italy.
(Getty Images Europe)
Soccer...it’s such a simple game and everything about it always makes sense. For example, here Liverpool supporters hold posters critical of The Sun newspaper wjhile singing before the FA Cup semi-final football match between Everton and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London, England on April 14, 2012. (Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

Speaking of soccer, we are quick to criticize uniforms, but this one is first class. We love the Chang beer logo. Everton's Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic celebrates scoring the opening goal of the FA Cup semi-final football match between Everton and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London, England on April 14, 2012.  (Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)
It’s Grand National day in Liverpool.  England’s most famous/infamous (depending on your point of view) steeplechase race is today at Aintree.  The race is over 4.5 miles and bunch of big scary jumps.  
(Andrew Yates/Getty Images)
We told you the jumps were big and scary.  (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

 And, yes, this is where they recycle their Christmas trees...(Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images)
Holy cow, the Nats are in first place AND Jayson Werth got a hit.  Here, Werth is mobbed by teammates after driving in the game winning run in the 13th inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on April 13, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Nationals won the game 2-1. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Well, That’s One Way To Do It...

Nerlens Noel, one of the most sought-after young high school basketball players in the nation, committed to the University of Kentucky on Wednesday evening.

As you would expect these days, he said “I’ll be taking my talents to play at the University of...”
Then he turned his back to the camera...

Pictures Of The Day

Break up the Nats!  The 5-2 Washtington Nationals are so good right now, they’re out of focus...Here, Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals stands on second base as catcher Devin Mesoraco #talks with starting pitcher Mat Latos of the Cincinnati Reds during the fifth inning of opening day at Nationals Park on April 12, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Opening day in the Nation’s Capitol. The Cincinnati Reds bat against the Washington Nationals during the fourth inning of opening day at Nationals Park on April 12, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Chris Kelly #23 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his game winning goal in overtime with Brian Rolston #12 as Dennis Wideman of the Washington Capitals skates off in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 12, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals 1-0 in overtime. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Players of Ecuador’s Emelec, celebrate after scoring one of their three goals against Paraguay's Olimpia, during a Libertadores Cup match held at the Defensores de Chaco stadium in Asuncion, Paraguay, on April 12, 2012. (Noberto Duarte/AFP/Getty Images)
Unowaitimeen and Samantha Drake (C) jump over the water jump during teh Fox Hunters Steeplechase duirng the first day of the Grand National meet at Aintree.  (Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images)
The Italian team competes during a fleet race (right side up, this time) of the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Italy. (Carlo Hermann/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wolfpack Smaller By Two

PAINTER
North Carolina State's DeShawn Painter and Jaqawn Raymond are transferring.

Team spokesman Dwayne Harrison said Wednesday night that the school has granted requested releases for both players.

Painter is a 6-foot-9 junior who averaged about six points and four rebounds in 37 games, with 30 games as a reserve. The Norfolk, Va., native is transferring to move closer to a family member who is ill.

Raymond was a freshman guard who played in 11 games and scored nine points overal. Raymond, who was recruited by former coachSidney Lowe out of Statesboro, Ga., played 29 minutes all season.

The Wolfpack (24-13) returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years and reached the round of 16 in the first season under coach Mark Gottfried.

Pictures Of The Day

Just chillin'...One of the Budweiser clydesdales hangs out in his trailer before the game between the Colorado Rockies and the Houston Astros on Opening Day at Minute Maid Park on April 6, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images)
British couple Georgina (L) and Adam Kirk smile, as Georgina holds the crab that won her first place in the international crab race, during the annual Buccoo Goat and Crab Race Festival at Buccoo Integrated Facility in Bucco, Tobago April 10, 2012. The event held at Buccoo Integrated Facility is largely held for goat racing but also includes crab races as part of the entertainment. (Getty Images)
Jordyn Holzberger of Australia (R) and Claire Laubach of the USA (L) compete for the ball during the Four Nations tournament between Australia and the United States of America at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium on April 12, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)
UNC quarterback Bryn Renner looks for a receiver during the Tar Heels' Spring football practice on Wednesday April 11, 2012 at Navy Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.  (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
Sailors for Team Artemis Racing get back on board after they capsized during their first fleet race of the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Italy.  (Mario Laporta/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two Plumlees, No Waiting

MASON (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke junior Mason Plumlee will return to Durham for his senior season with the Blue Devils.  The third-team all ACC forward made the announcement yesterday after a “heart-to-heart” discussion with coach Mike Krzyrb6ski.

The specifics of what the two talked about remain confined to Krzylj8wski’s office. Yet it’s not hard to guess some of the substance.

“Strictly from a business standpoint, Mason’s walking away from a very attractive business opportunity,” said Perky Plumlee, Mason’s father. “We were naturally very curious to hear Coach K’s vision for Mason’s senior year and for the team.”

And while Perky Plumlee stressed that his son wants his opportunities to remain in the context of the team, Krzyzewski illuminated part of his vision for Mason’s senior season in Duke’s press release announcing Tuesday that Mason would forgo the opportunity to enter the NBA draft and return for his senior season.

“Mason has the ability to contend for ACC player of the year and All-America honors next season,” Krzyqym9ski said.

MASHALL (Wikipedia)
Plumlee flashed that potential at different points of a junior year when he averaged 11.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. A third-team All-ACC selection, he made 57.2 percent of his field-goal attempts, and his free-throw shooting – long a source of frustration – improved dramatically toward the end of last season. Over Plumlee’s last eight games, he made 74.1 percent of his shots from the line.

“Mason recognizes there are aspects of his game that need to be developed, but he wants to do it at Duke. He’s not coming to back to Duke to stay the same,” said the senior Plumlee.  

“Now, he’s going to have to make it happen, but the coaches have pledged to us that they support his goals.” 

(Editor’s note: If you ever wondered why old school coaches like Gary Williams walk away from coaching, just read the quote above. Never mind that Plumlee’s father, a grown man, is named Perky, but he would actually be quoted saying his son was only going to come back to Duke if this coaches pledged to him that they supported his individual goal to become a millionaire.  Nice, Perky, NICE! That said, we aren’t picking on Duke or the Plumlees as this happens all the time, everywhere.)

Quote Of The Day

BROWN (Nick Krug/LJWorld.com)
“I think he’s coming back. He’s trying to say little things to trick us, but I think he’s coming back.”

Wolfpack guard Lorenzo Brown, who shared the team’s MVP award with C.J. Leslie, on Monday at the team’s awards banquet regarding the likelihood of his teammate’s return.

BCS Busters

PRESBYTERIAN
Somebody over at Yahoo! Sports took the time to compile a list of the 12 worst FBS v. FCS matchups coming up in the 2012 college football season.

Guess what?

The ACC is involved in four of them.  Shocking, we know. We point this out simply because if any (or all) of these teams are undefeated when the first BCS ratings come out next fall, their fan base will wonder “why aren’t we in the top two.”

Here’s why -- the 12 most cringe-worthy games this season involving Big Six schools and FCS programs.  Congrats to Clemson for not making the list...

12. Presbyterian at GEORGIA TECH on Sept. 8: Presbyterian was 4-7 last season and has won 10 games in the past four seasons as it transitioned from Division II to the FCS ranks. The Blue Hose have played three games against FBS teams in the past two seasons and lost by a combined 174-46 (average score: 58-15).

11. Nicholls State at Oregon, 10. Tennessee Tech at Oregon, 9. Fordham at Cincinnati, 

AUSTIN PEAY
8. The Citadel at N.C. STATE on Sept. 22: The Citadel was 4-7 last season, its 16th losing record in the past 19 seasons. The Bulldogs are 0-17 against FBS opponents since the beginning of the 2000 season and have been outscored 732-175 (average score: 43-10) in those games.

7. Charleston Southern at Illinois, 6. Northern Colorado at  Utah,

5. Austin Peay at VIRGINIA TECH on Sept. 8: Austin Peay was 3-8 last season and has had just five winning records since 1980; just two of those have come since 1985. The Governors have won a combined 11 games in the past four seasons. The Hokies will be Austin Peay's sixth FBS opponent since 2002; the Governors have been outscored 266-55 (average score: 53-11) in the other five.

4. Idaho State at Nebraska, 3. Western Carolina at Alabama,  

SAVANNAH STATE
2. Savannah State at FLORIDA STATE on Sept. 8: FSU had to scramble to add this game in February when West Virginia backed out of its scheduled matchup with the Seminoles. There obviously wasn't much to choose from: Savannah State hasn't had a winning record since 1998, when it was a Division II program. This will be just the second FBS opponent in history for the Tigers. The first? Keep reading.


1. Savannah State at Oklahoma State.

Video Of The Day

One can only hope this makes it to some official function at Augusta National...

Masters champ Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan have formed the PGA’s exclusive boy band the “Golf Boys.”  Farmers Insurance is donating $1,000 for every 100,000 views to various charities.  

So far, the video has been viewed more than 4.1 million times. 

Pictures Of The Day

A handout picture released by the Global Newsroom shows motocross biker Josh Sheehan of Australia performing a stunt on April 10, 2012, during a show jump in front of the world's tallest building, Burj al-Khalifa, prior to the first stop of the Red Bull X-Fighters world tour in Dubai. The freestyle motocross athletes will be competing for the championship title and one million dollars of prize money. (Global Newsroom/AFP/Getty Images)
Mechanics for the Caterham-Renault Formula One team check "tyres" in the "paddock" for the Chinese Grand Prix on April 11, 2012. Formula One looks set to come under fresh pressure to shelve Bahrain's grand prix this week in China, where preparations have been rocked by ongoing protests and a hunger strike in the desert state. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
Loul Deng (Duke) of the Chicago Bulls rebounds between Iman Shumpert #21 (Geoergia Tech) and J.R. Smith #8 (none) of the New York Knicks at the United Center on April 10, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Knicks 98-86. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Liverpool's English forward Andy Carroll (L) scores his team's third goal past Blackburn Rovers' English goalkeeper Paul Robinson during the English Premier League football match between Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool at Ewood Park in Blackburn, north-west England, on April 10, 2012. (Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images)
A pair of U.S. Navy F-18 jets fly over Dodger Stadium prior to the Dodgers’ opening day game against the Pirates.  (Mark Holtzman/Sports Illustrated)
Naldo of Bremen heads his team’s equalizing goal during their Bundesliga match against Borussia Moenchengladbac at Weser Stadium in Bremen, Germany. We swear we didn’t make any of that up.  (Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Fans have some fun with 300 cans of Silly String at halftime during the Utah Jazz v. San Antonio Spurs game. (Russ Isabella/US Presswire)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Rules: The Suits In Indianapolis (Formerly Kansas) Are At It Again

If you thought N.C. State star C.J. Leslie had until midnight tonight to declare if he was staying in school or leaving early for the NBA, like us, you’d be wrong.

The NBA’s early eligibility declaration deadline is April 28 -- almost three weeks after the NCAA’s deadline of April 10.

Huh?

Yesterday, Leslie said “I’m not stressing about it, whatever I decide to do is going to be whatever I decide to do,” and that he’d announce his decision in a "week or so." 

The April 10th NCAA deadline actually only applies to underclassmen who have already declared for the draft.  If those players - Austin Rivers, Kendall Marshall, et al - don’t remove their name by midnight, they forfeit their remaining college eligibility. 

Glad we cleared that up...


That said, there is nothing to keep an underclassman from remaining mute on the subject and then submitting his name on April 28 in compliance with the NBA’s rule.  Declaring their intentions prior to the NCAA’s April 10 deadline is nothing more than a courtesy we’re sure most fans appreciate.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS...(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
This may shock you, but the NCAA buggered this up assuming the NBA would conform to this new, earlier deadline. It really isn’t the NBA’s problem, and we wonder if the Suits In Indianapolis (Formerly Kansas) bothered to talk to them about the new earlier deadline?  

While it might be difficult to get the NBA’s player’s union to agree on more eligibility restrictions, this doesn’t seem like something they (or anyone else) would be opposed to even if it is only a luxury for college coaches (and fan bases) who don’t want to sit in limbo for a month or two wondering who’s going and who’s staying. 

Pictures Of The Day

President Barack Obama (L) helps a young participant roll an egg during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on April 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. The 134-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)
Throwbacks.  Robert Andino of the Baltimore Orioles warms up before the start of the Orioles game against the New York Yankees wearing a vintage O’s uniform. The Yankees won 6-2. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
That looks like it hurts...Miami relief pitcher Steve Cishek throws sidearmed against the Phillies.  The Marlins won 6-2.  (Alex Brandon/AP)
A C-130 does a flyover during the national anthem prior to the Marlins v. Phillies game yesterday in Philadelphia.  (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Deadline Looms For Leslie, Plumlee

LESLIE (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
April 10 is the deadline for declaring early NBA eligibility, so N.C. State and Duke are waiting to hear from two impact players.

Both C.J. Leslie and Mason Plumlee will have to declare by tomorrow if they plan on leaving school.  Both presumably got feedback from the NBA Draft’s advisory committee by the last Friday deadline.

Leslie likely improved his draft stock with his play in the NCAA tournament, and he’s still waiting for feedback from the NBA Draft’s advisory committee.

Leslie likely isn’t a guaranteed first round pick, and a return to Raleigh could not only mean further improvement of his draft prospects but also an ACC title and a potential Player Of The Year award as well.

Plumlee’s return to Durham would provide him an opportunity to perform at a higher level consistently while also getting to play a season with younger brother Marshall, who redshirted this year.

ACC Baseball Update

We don’t pay too much attention to ACC baseball until the tournament gets underway, but here’s an update on where things stand.

Eagles Win NCAA Hockey Championship

(J. Meric/Getty Images)
BOSTON COLLEGE 4, Ferris State (Bulldogs, 14,560 students, Grand Rapids, Michigan) 1 -- Top-seed Boston College scored twice in the first period and sealed the fifth national championship in program history.

Junior goaltender Parker Milner recorded 27 saves en route to being named the 2012 Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player on Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"I feel honored and privileged to be a part of the BC program, the university and specifically the hockey program," senior captain Tommy Cross said. "This was the best team I've ever been on. We just had something in our mind that the season was only going to end one way and that was our main focus."

Steven Whitney led the Eagles with two goals, scoring the first on a put-back at 3:18 in the first. Senior forward Barry Almeida won a loose puck near the crease and put a shot on net. The puck deflected off a Bulldog skate, landing in front of the Reading, Mass. native.

The Eagles went 1-for-3 on the power play and killed off all four of FSU's power plays to 23-for-23 on the penalty kill since March 16.

The shots were even at 22 after two periods, but the Eagles controlled the third, 15-6, to claim a 37-28 advantage after three.
WHITNEY (J. Meric/Getty Images)

Weekend ACC LAX


04/06/12
MARYLAND 13, Navy 6 - Recap

04/07/12
VIRGINIA 15, NORTH CAROLINA 10 - Recap

DUKE 11, Marist 10 - Recap

Pictures Of The Day

The shot...Bubba Watson plays at a shot from the rough on second sudden death playoff hole on the 10th during the final round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa reacts after a putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2012 Masters. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Bubba Watson of the United States (R) smiles after being awarded the green jacket by Charl Schwartzel of South Africa (L) during the green jacket presentation after his one-stroke playoff victory during the 2012 Masters. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Bubba Watson hist his approach to the tenth during the playoff en route to winning the Masters.  (Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated)
Matt Kuchar, by way of Georgia Tech, finished tied for third ($384,000) at the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Aaron Hill #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks safely slides in to score a run past catcher Buster Posey (Florida State) of the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 8, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 7-6. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Tom Learoyd-Lahrs of the Raiders is tackled during the round six NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the New Zealand Warriors at Canberra Stadium on April 8, 2012 in Canberra, Australia. (Stefan Postles/Getty Images AsiaPac)
The Oxford crew look on as a man swims in the water and disrupts the Xchanging University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge University on the River Thames on April 7, 2012 in London, England. It is the 158th running of the race which takes place on the River Thames between Putney and Mortlake. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Europe)
Argentina's tennis player Juan Martin Del Potro makes a butterfly get onto his racket to take it out of the court after it alighted on the ball just before he was to serve to Croatia's Marin Cilic during a 2012 Davis Cup quarterfinal match at Parque Roca stadium in Buenos Aires on April 8, 2012.  (Alejandro Pagni/AFP Photo)
France’s Wilfried Tsonga (bottom) hits a return to USA’s John Isner during their Davis Cup match in Monaco.  (Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images)
Winning Cubs relief pitcher Jeff Samardzija gets hit with a shaving cream pie (Mr. Anderson??) during a radio interview after defeating our beloved Nats 4-3. (Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)



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