Saturday, March 23, 2013

Big Dance: Three ACC Teams Advance, One Disappoints (Again)

(Elsa/Getty Images)
DUKE 73, Albany 61 - Duke had been hearing about Lehigh for a year.

The second-seeded Blue Devils used the perimeter shooting of Seth Curry and the inside dominance of Mason Plumlee to put last season's NCAA tournament upset to rest, beating Albany on Friday in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

It was in the same round - and with the same seeding - that Duke was shocked by Lehigh last March.
"Doesn't really matter to us what people are talking about,'' Plumlee said. "We're very confident. I thought it was a good win today, and we're just focused on us.''

To read more, click here.  

MIAMI 78, Pacific 49 - Shane Larkin is sharing a special season with all those Miami seniors.
Larkin, the sophomore who is the only non-senior starter for the Hurricanes and the ACC player of the year, had 10 points and matched his career high with nine assists as No. 2 seed Miami beat Pacific in the East Regional on Friday.

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Playing their first NCAA tourney game in five years, the Hurricanes (28-6) took control with a 14-0 run midway through the first half. They went on to their most-lopsided victory ever in the tournament.

Durand Scott had 21 points with five 3-pointers for the Hurricanes, who already have four wins more than they ever had before. Reggie Johnson had seven points and 10 rebounds.

To read more, click here.

NORTH CAROLINA 78, Villanova 71 - The NCAA wanted a Kansas v. Ol’ Roy rematch, and they got it. We’re sure Tar Heel Nation is delighted that the game Sunday will be played in the Jayhawks back yard.

P.J. Hairston scored 23 points, James Michael McAdoo added 17 and North Carolina unleashed a flurry of 3-pointers to subdue gritty Villanova  in the NCAA tournament Friday night, giving coach Roy Williams his 700th career victory.

The never-say-die Wildcats (20-14) erased a 20-point deficit that North Carolina built in the first half and then nearly climbed out of a nine-point hole in the final minutes after the Tar Heels hit three consecutive 3s and once again appeared to take control.

The victory set up a possible dream matchup in the third round for Kansas fans, who have been jamming the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, about 30 minutes from the Jayhawks' campus. The eighth-seeded Tar Heels (25-10) take on the winner between Western Kentucky and No. 1 seed Kansas, where Williams coached for 15 years and rang up more than 400 wins.

(Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Picking on a season-long weakness for the ninth-seeded Wildcats, North Carolina shot 11 of 21 from 3-point range while getting outrebounded 37-28.

To read more, click here.  Jamie Squire

Temple 76, N.C. STATE 72 - The season of underachieving ended when the Wolfpack lost to  Temple.  Juniors Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie combined to scored 42 of NC State's 72 points, and senior Richard Howell recorded his 18th double-double of the year, but the Pack's lack luster season that stared with great expectations concluded with a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Brown finished the day with 22 points and nine assists, while Leslie had 20 points and five rebounds. Howell had a solid performance with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

NC State (24-11), the No. 8 seed, trailed most of the game, but senior Scott Wood began a Wolfpack rally when he hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut the Temple lead to 63-60 with 3:10 left in the game.

The Pack's rally was held off as Temple hit its free throws down the stretch.

To read more, click here.  

Ol’ Roy: Win # 700

(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The win was Williams' 700th of his career.

Maryland Knocks Off Denver In Round 2 Of NIT

WELLS (Gail Burton/AP Photo)

Maryland used a small lineup to mount a big comeback in a 62-52 victory over Denver on Thursday night in the second round of the NIT.

Dez Wells scored 19 points for the Terrapins, who closed with a 23-4 run after trailing 48-39 with 9:15 left.

Wells fueled the surge with nine points. It was the sixth game in 12 days for the Terrapins (24-12), who won't play again until next week against either Alabama or Stanford.

Chris Udofia scored 24 for the Pioneers (22-10), including 19 during a first half that featured three ties and 12 lead changes. But he got his third foul with 17:55 left and fourth with 8:37 to go.

Seeking its 12th win in 13 games, Denver appeared poised for an upset as the second half wore on. It was 33-all before Marcus Byrd drilled a 3-pointer to spark a 15-6 spree that included a three-point play and a 3-pointer by Brett Olsen.

And then Maryland began its comeback with 7-foot-1 Alex Len and 6-8 James Padgett on the bench.

Pictures Of The Day

If you play a World Cup qualifier in Colorado in March, it might snow. It did. A lot. The U.S. beat Costa Rica 1-0. (Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)
Christophe Varidel #5 (R) and Chase Fieler #20 of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles celebrate their 78-68 win as Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Georgetown Hoyas walks off of the court dejected during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 22, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Albany Great Danes fans cheer on their team in the first half while taking on the Duke Blue Devils during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 22, 2013 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Friday, March 22, 2013

It' Aint Braggin' If It's True: TAH 14-2 On Thursday

WHAT?!?!? (Harry How/Getty Images)
T.A.H. filled out two official brackets for the 2013 Big Dance.  GP1 picked according to the Vegas line and finished the day 13-3.  GP2 followed the great wisdom that is T.A.H. and went 14-2.

The two losses?  Missouri which we picked out of loyalty to the ACC figuring former Miami coach Frank Haith had caught enough flak for a while.  In retrospect, that was dumb knowing that the Tigers upchucked in last year's tournament when they went out early to Norfolk State.

The other loss?  Harvard over New Mexico.

Don't even try to tell us you saw that coming.

Props to former Dookie Tommy Amaker who outcoached his contemporary, Steve Alford, exacting revenge of sorts for the time Alford's Indiana team beat Amaker and Duke back in the 1987 regional semifinals.

The President went to Harvard, and he didn't pick them.  Hell, Phil's mom didn't pick the Crimson, so don't start.

The third loss in GP1 was Vegas' pick of Pittsburgh over the Shockers. We reversed their call in GP2.

That said, one year not too long ago T.A.H. went 16-0 on the first day of the Dance only to finish far up the track.

Have a great day, and good luck!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The T.A.H. Brackets

Bracket #1 was done using Las Vegas odds for each of the Round of 32 games. The boys in Vegas picked a few upsets – Creighton, Colorado and Minnesota.  Then we went ahead and picked who we thought might win as opposed to our usual tendency to pick against the teams we don’t like.

For total points we averaged the total for the past 11 (no reason, random choice) Finals.

Bracket #2 was simply our best SWAG – scientific, wild ass guess.

We took Louisville in both, but we really WANT Miami to win, just couldn't put our money where our mouths are...

Good luck and may YOUR team win....

...unless YOUR team is Duke, Wisconsin, Georgetown, Florida, get the point.

ACC Wannabe JMU Crushes LIU, Poised For First Ever 16 Seed Over 1 Seed Upset

DAVIS (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
By G. Petty, (with an assist from the AP), soon-to-be retired Editor/Publisher T.A.H. (JMU '79)

All hail JMU, all hail JMU Nation.

JMU Nation celebrated last night when the beloved Dukes, absent from the big Dance since 1994, crafted a brilliant 68 to 55 win over tough, crafty, underrated and no doubt future national champion Long Island University Brooklyn in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  

(No pushovers, the Blackbirds are two-time men's basketball national champions based on winning the  National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 1939 and 1941. The 1935-36 team went 25‑0 and was the overwhelming favorite to represent the United States at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, with basketball a medal sport for the first time. However, the Blackbirds decided as a team to boycott the Games as a protest of Nazi Germany and its anti-Jewish policies. 

That said, on the downside, in 1951,  some Blackbirds went all Black Sox and were involved in the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal that resulted in five players receiving a suspended sentence and one player visiting the big house. The school suspended its athletic program from 1951 to 1957 due to the scandal.)

The Dukes’ faithful were a little worried when a bird - literally a black bird - appeared and flew around the arena. Alas, it was not a tell-tale omen of doom, just the LIU mascot who escaped his cage wearing his version of a technicolor dream coat. 

(The bird’s keeper, a sophomore team manager from Flatbush Avenue B, will not be suspended for the first half of LIU’s opener next season, but he will not be allowed a bagel until a month that ends in “y” according to sources close to the bird and retired FSU coach Bobby Bowden who now servers as the “Suspension Consultant” for the NCAA.)

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Duke’s A.J. Davis, who stepped in as a starter after JMU’s leading scorer was suspended for the first half, led the way with 20 points.  Said leading scorer, Rayshawn Goins, drew a short suspension for over consumption and failure to treat his elders with the proper respect.  (Critics of the program will say he was drunk and disorderly yelling obscenities at the local constables (allegedly), but they would be wrong, or so one hopes.)

Immediately after this stunning victory, the Dukes thoughts turned to top-seeded Indiana (27-6), who they'll play on the same University of Dayton Arena court on Friday night.

"They're Indiana," defiant defensive stalwart Andre Nation (5 blocks) said. "We know about them. We see them on the TV all the time. It's not nothing new."

He's not the only Duke who was undaunted.

"We have some older guys. They're typically pretty unafraid of any of the challenges we face," coach Matt Brady said.

The Dukes started fast and built a large first half lead, but the Blackbirds (20-14) battled back.  LIU took a brief lead early in the second stanza, tbut he Dukes surged again to win going away closing the game on a 10-2 run.

Davis opened the game with an emphatic three-pointer as if to say this was his time. And he didn't let up.

Charles Cooke, who hadn't scored in three of his last four games, added 15 points and Nation added 14 for the Dukes, who were winless in the NCAA tournament since 1983 and hadn't played in the big dance in 19 years.

Jamal Olasewere had 20 points and 10 rebounds and C.J. Garner 16 points for the Blackbirds, who have lost in their first game in each of their six trips to the tournament, including the last three years.

After falling behind by as many as 12 points early, E.J. Reed's two foul shots with 15:02 left gave the Blackbirds their first lead of the game. But after falling behind, JMU found another gear.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Devon Moore, who had six assists, scored in transition right through the heart of the lane, Nation hit a follow and Davis took a long pass and popped in the shot off glass for a 45-40 advantage.
Now, the Dukes have are poised for the first ever 16 over 1 upset and a return to NCAA glory.

Once upon a time, Lou Campanelli coached the Dukes to mammoth NCAA upsets over Georgetown in 1981, Ohio State in 1982 and West Virginia in 1983. The 1982 team lost to eventual national champion North Carolina -- led by Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins -- 52-50 in the final minute.

But James Madison's last appearance came with Lefty Driesell prowling the sideline in 1994.

As recently as 2007, officials at the Harrisonburg, VA university were advocating inclusion in the Atlantic Coast (Northeast, Midwest, Central PA, Shenandoah Valley) Conference (see below).

Brady figured his Dukes have one huge advantage over Indiana since they've already played on the court. And they're already in Dayton.

"I'm hoping they haven't arrived in town just yet and they get here right before the game starts," he said with a laugh.

In the words of Craig “Mr.” Anderson an esteemed alum from sometime in the 1980’s, “Fear the bulldog with a chain around his neck.”

Nice, DUKES w/bling, NICE!

2007 & 2010: JMU Seeks Inclusion In Ever-Expanding ACC

(Editor's note: We thought today was a good day to republish this story which originally ran in 2007 and again in 2010.)

According to sources close to TAH, James Madison University, home of the Dukes, has petitioned the Atlantic Coast Conference for admission into the venerable sports conference. JMU’s slogans supporting the cause are “Two Dukes Are Better Than One” and “If You Love That Duke, You’re Gonna Really Love These Dukes (And You Don’t Have To Suck Up to Us)!”

According to JMU President Dr. Linwood Rose, “Our history is completely intertwined with all the ACC schools. We were founded in 1908, which makes us 17 years older than Miami and a mere 119 years younger than UNC. We would be the second newest school in the conference, practically modern since all the others were founded in 1800s by people long since dead and now culturally insignificant.”

According to JMU President Emeritus, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, “The similarities between Madison and the other ACC schools are quite compelling. We have 16,900 students which makes us the same size as Georgia Tech, half as big as Maryland and two and one-half times bigger than the other Duke. Oh, by the way, I never really trusted that Petty kid or Anderson, Reeves, Keyser or Chipman now that I think of it.”

According to Athletics Director Jeffrey Bourne, “Let’s be frank. We promise to be a doormat. Those other schools you brought in they’re messing with you. Look at Virginia Tech – they kick your ass in football and now they have the audacity to have a good hoop squad as well. We would never do that…Hell, we couldn’t do that. Our basketball team is currently 7-21 overall and 4-13 in conference. You want bad losses? We’ve lost to Towson, Northeastern, Drexel, UNC – Wilmington, Eastern Kentucky, Mt. St. Mary’s and perennial powerhouse Texas Pan Am. Oh, I almost forgot Sienna. They kicked our butts. We’ve got an RPI of 473.”

According to Associate Athletics Director for Sports Programs Kevin Whit, “Our stadium is small, much smaller than Wallace Wade Stadium and our basketball house is really non-descript and only seats 7,612. I think it’s 7,613, but we can argue about that later. The $130 million John Paul Jones arena could, as Dudley Moore said in that Arthur movie, kick the s&%# out of us in an arena war! We just can’t compete. Also, we don’t have any traditions or rivalries, and our kids, the “Convocation Center Lazies,” can’t/don’t/won’t come up with clever cheers at games. They just simply don’t have it in them.”

According to Assistant Athletics Director for Development Nick Langridge, ”JMU and ACC teams that have won National Championships in basketball are practically attached at the hip. When Carolina won in 1982, the Dukes beat Ohio State in the first round only to fall 52-50 to the eventual Champs -- the Tar Heels. The next year, we whipped the Mountaineers only to lose in the next round to eventual National Champion N.C. State. I mean, we are literally a good luck charm for the ACC. In 2005, when the Heels won again, we lost in the first round of CAA tourney and were at home where we belonged watching it all on television, but we pulled for the ACC.”

According to Associate Athletics Director for Development and Marketing: Geoff Polglase, “The coach of our only good NCAA basketball teams was a fellow named Lou Campanelli, and, let me tell you, Coach Lou could cuss with the best of them. Coack K -- wait at the bar! After he left here and went out to California where basketball coaches are wimps, Campanelli got in trouble for ‘verbally assaulting his players’ – another tradition at that other Duke, if you know what I mean.”

According to Associate Athletics Director for Student Athlete Services: Casey Carter, “Just like that other Duke, our school mascot is named after a man named Duke – Samuel P. Duke who was the prez from 1919 to 1949. He became president when our first top dog, a guy named Burrus, left Harrisonburg to go to some school called Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPISU?). They tell me it’s in Southwest Virginia somewhere, but I’ve never heard of it. Somebody in the Sports Information Department told me they changed their name, but I never got the memo. Rumor has it that their mascot is a turkey, which, quite frankly, is ‘effed up.’ Well at least our Duke guy didn’t make cigarettes and kill millions of people like that other Duke family did.”

According to Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing & Promotions: Brad Edmondson, “We have some very famous alums which is important in this day and age. Look at all the famous people who have graduated from JMU including G. Petty (Editor, TAH), C. Anderson (Insane Cubs/Bear Fan), M. Reeves (MENSA, 3 VP Kup Wins), B. Chipman (Real Estate Mogul, future President Reevesman Country Club, 4 VP Kup Wins), J. Keyser (Financial Mogul, Horseplayer Par Exellence) and Dr. Marcia Angell (Editor, New England Journal of Medicine) -- who can say no to a one-six punch like that? And how about Steve Buckhantz (Sports announcer Wizards, etc.), Gary Clark (Two Super Bowls), Tony Schiavone (Professional wrestling commentator), Charles Haley (Five Super Bowls), Scott Norwood (Super Bowl "wide right"), and Elliot Sadler – OK, he didn’t graduate -- but we’re talking NASCAR here…Duke, Boston College, Miami, UVA -- got any NASCAR drivers? Huh? HUH? Didn’t think so. So c’mon let us in…Pretty please. We promise we will SUCK. That New England Journal of Medicine lady? We will put a sock in her pie hole and shut her up pronto so our intellectuals like Reeves don’t show up any of your intellectuals! C’mon, let us in!”

Finally, according to JMU Head Football Coach Mickey Matthews, “We will kick Duke’s ass. We may lie down for everybody else, but Duke is going down. There is no hate like Dukes-on-Duke hate. No rivalry like Dukes-on-Duke brand new semi-rivalry. No crack-back block like a Dukes-on-Duke crack-back block. Hey, we won the Division 1-AA Championship in an actual playoff. To accomplish that, my mighty Dukes had to defeat Lock Haven, Villanova, Hofstra, Massachusetts, Maine, Richmond, VMI, Delaware, Towson, Lehigh, Furman, William & Mary and Montana…Hey, the Blue Hens, The Tribe! They’re powerhouses! We beat Maine for heaven’s sake. Let us in. Besides, you need at least one team in the league with purple in its uniform that’s worth half-a-crap.

Look, you let Virginia Tech in which made sense. You let Boston College in for who knows what reason. You let Criminal U. at Coconut Grove in for football, nice winter weather and just plain old good entertainment value, so why not us? Please.


When reached for a comment on JMU’s petition to enter the league, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, “Gusentiet.”

Picture Of The Day

President Obama’s 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket. (ESPN)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pop Culture: Tiger And Lindsey Sitting In A Tree (Privately)

Tuesday Night ACC N.I.T. Basketball

FAUST (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
MARYLAND 86, Niagara 70 - Nick Faust had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Maryland used a strong second half to defeat Niagara in the opening round of the NIT.

Tied at halftime, the Terrapins (23-12) used a 21-2 run to take a 56-38 lead before coasting to the finish. Second-seed Maryland next hosts the winner of the Ohio-Denver game, held late Tuesday.

The Terrapins would have preferred their first postseason appearance since 2010 be in the NCAA tournament, but that doesn't mean they're not motivated to win the NIT.

"Our approach has been great. If we didn't show up tonight we would have lost," coach Mark Turgeon said. "Our play in the second half shows you that we're pretty determined to get better and move on." 

To read more, click here. 

 Louisiana Tech 71, FLORIDA STATE - The FSU The men's basketball team's 2012-13 season came to an end Tuesday night with a loss to Louisiana Tech at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Playing in what turned out to be the final game of his unforgettable FSU career, Michael Snaer scored a team-high 24 points for Seminoles (18-16).

But Snaer's offensive heroics -- the California native made five of his 10 3-point attempts while playing 40 minutes -- weren't enough to overcome the 'Noles' inability to protect the basketball and halt the Bulldogs (27-6) in the second half.

Florida State committed 18 turnovers on its home floor and Lousiana Tech scored 24 points off those miscues. The Bulldogs also used a 11-0 run early in the second half to bounce back from a 28-24 halftime deficit and shot 65.5 percent in the final 20 minutes.

To read more, click here

No, that’s not a mistake, that is the link to the Florida State football webpage. It is what it is. Time to move on.

HARRIS (C) (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
VIRGINIA 67, Norfolk State 56 - Justin Anderson scored 15 points, including four key free throws in the final minutes, and Virginia overcame a sloppy offensive performance to beat Norfolk State.
Akil Mitchell also had 15 for the Cavaliers (22-11), who won despite missing 15 free throws and 18 turnovers.

Rob Johnson scored 19 and Pendarvis Williams had 14 for the Spartans (21-12), who lost their second straight. Norfolk State had gone unbeaten in 16 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games before losing is first MEAC tournament game.

The Spartans managed only five points in the last 11 1/2 minutes of the first half and trailed 26-16 at the break.

They closed to within 47-44 with 5:41 left before two free throws by Evan Nolte, four free throws and a jumper by Anderson and then a 15-foot jumper by Anderson gave them some breathing room at 55-47. 

To read more, click here.  

Pictures Of The Day - Let Their Be Madness

Neiko Hunter #1 of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders drives for a shot attempt against Beau Levesque #15 of the St. Mary's Gaels in the first half during the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at University of Dayton Arena on March 19, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio.  St. Mary’s won the game. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
John Caleb Sanders #33 of the Liberty Flames misses the last shot attempt of the game against Austin Witter #31 of the North Carolina A&T Aggies during the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at University of Dayton Arena on March 19, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio. North Carolina A&T Aggies won 73-72. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ACC N.I.T. Basketball

Tuesday, Mar 19

Niagara (Purple Eagles, 4,200 students, Lewiston, NY) @ MARYLAND, (NIT First Round), 7:00 PM, TV: ESPN2

Norfolk State (Spartans, 6,200 students, Norfolk, VA) @ VIRGINIA, (NIT First Round), 9:00 PM, TV: ESPNU

Louisiana Tech (Bulldogs, 11,581 students, Ruston, LA) @ FLORIDA STATE, (NIT First Round), 9:15 PM, TV: ESPN3

Friday ACC NCAA Schedule

Friday, Mar 22

DUKE vs. Albany (Great Danes, 12,950 students, Albany, NY), Philadelphia, Pa., 12:15 PM, TV: CBS

N.C. STATE vs. Temple (Owles, 27,725 students, Philadelphia, PA), Dayton, Ohio, 1:40 PM, TV: TBS

MIAMI vs. Pacific (Boxers, 3,200 students, Forest Grove, OR), Austin, Texas, 2:10 PM, TV: TNT

NORTH CAROLINA vs. Villanova (Wildcats, 6,394 students, Villanova, PA), Kansas City, Mo., 7:20 PM, TV: TNT

Inaugural Coaches’ All-ACC Basketball Team

HARRIS (Lance King/Getty Images)
Miami's Shane Larkin, who led Miami to the 2013 ACC title, and national scoring leader Erick Green of Virginia Tech join top vote getters Joe Harris and Mason Plumlee as are first-team honorees (along with that Curry kid from Duke) on the inaugural Coaches All-ACC Basketball Team announced on Monday.

The first-, second- and third-team selections were made by a vote of the league's 12 head coaches. Balloting was conducted prior to last weekend's ACC Tournament and was based on regular season performance.

Joe Harris, Jr., Virginia (33)
Mason Plumlee, Sr., Duke (33)
Shane Larkin, So., Miami (32)
Erick Green, Sr., Virginia Tech (31)
Seth Curry, Sr., Duke (31)

Reggie Bullock, Jr., North Carolina (23)
Kenny Kadji, Sr., Miami (23)
James Michael McAdoo, So., North Carolina (23)
Lorenzo Brown, Jr., NC State (21)
Richard Howell, Sr., NC State (19)

C.J. Leslie, Jr., NC State (15)
Michael Snaer, Sr., Florida State (14)
Ryan Anderson, So., Boston College (9)
Durand Scott, Sr., Miami (9)
C.J. Harris, Sr., Wake Forest (8)
Akil Mitchell, Jr., Virginia (8)

2013 Coaches ACC All-ACC Freshmen Team
Olivier Hanlan, Boston College 11
Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke 10
T.J. Warren, NC State 10
Devin Thomas, Wake Forest 10
Marcus Paige, North Carolina 7
Robert Carter, Jr., Georgia Tech 7

2013 Coaches All-ACC Defensive Team
Durand Scott, Sr., Miami 7
Jontel Evans, Sr., Virginia 6
Shane Larkin, So., Miami 6
Julian Gamble, Sr., Miami 5
Mason Plumlee, Sr., Duke 5

Five ACC Women’s Teams Dancing

Five ACC teams are among the 64-team field for the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship announced Monday evening.

ACC Champion Duke (29-2, 17-1 ACC) was selected as a No. 2 seed, North Carolina (28-6, 14-4) was tabbed a No. 3 seed and Maryland (24-7, 14-4) earned a No. 4 seed, while Florida State (22-9, 11-7) and Miami (21-10, 11-7) each received a No. 8 seed, which marks the 19th consecutive year that at least four ACC teams have been selected to the NCAA Championship field.

Duke, which will be appearing in the NCAA postseason field for an ACC-best 19th consecutive year, drew the No. 2 seed in the Norfolk Region. Cameron Indoor Stadium will serve as host for the first and second rounds as the Blue Devils will play No. 15 seed Hampton (28-5) on Sunday, March 24.

Maryland returns to the NCAA Tournament for the program’s 21st all-time appearance and is seeded No. 4 in the Bridgeport Region. The Terrapins own a 31-19 NCAA Tournament record and captured the national championship in 2006. Maryland, which posted a 24-7 mark in regular season play, will play host to 13th-seeded Quinnipiac (30-2).
North Carolina earned a No. 3 seed and will participate in the Big Dance for a league-best 24th time in program history. The Tar Heels, which finished the regular season with a 28-6 mark, including run to the 2013 ACC Tournament final, are led by All-ACC First Team honoree Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 14.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, and ACC Rookie of the Year Xylina McDaniel (12.2 points, 7.2 rebounds). Entering the postseason with a 41-22 all-time NCAA Tournament record, UNC will face No. 14 seed, Albany (27-3).
In the Oklahoma City region, Florida State makes its 12th NCAA Championship appearance under head coach Sue Semrau.  As a No. 8 seed, FSU will travel to Waco, Texas, to take on No. 9 seed Princeton (22-6), the Ivy League automatic qualifier. 

Earning its third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth is Miami, which grabbed a No. 8 seed and will face No. 9 seed Iowa (24-7), on March 24 in Iowa City, Iowa, in the Norfolk Region.  The Hurricanes have compiled a 4-8 record in eight previous tournament appearances.

First- and second-round games will be played at 16 sites Saturday, March 23 through Tuesday, March 26. The 16 second-round winners will compete at the four regional sites. The Spokane Regional and the Bridgeport Regional will be played Saturday, March 30 and Monday, April 1, while the Norfolk Regional and the Oklahoma City Regional will be held Sunday, March 31 and Tuesday, April 2. The four regional winners will advance to the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four, April 7 and 9, at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La.

Pictures Of The Day

Oye Como Va! Carlos Santana #41 of the Dominican Republic celebrates with teammates Jose Reyes #7 and Alejandro De Aza #30 after scoring in the fifth inning agianst the Netherlands during the semifinal of the World Baseball Classic at AT&T Park on March 18, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)
Twenty-three in a row... LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat scores by Avery Bradley #0 of the Boston Celtics in the first quarter on March 18, 2013 at theTD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Heat won their 23rd game in a row, the second longest winning streak in NBA history.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
Barry Geraghty on board Bobs Worth celebrates victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup during Gold Cup day at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 15, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. (Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe)
Super golfer and world class ladies man Tiger Woods and ski champ and gold medalist Lindsey Vonn announced they were dating by posting this spontaneous photo (clearly taken with an old cell phone or a Kodak Instamatic) on Facebook or Twitter, we aren’t sure which. One word: Yech. (Photo courtesy of one or the other’s press agent who should be fired.)
Ruslan Provodnikov, of Russia, (R) lands a punch into the head of WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley during the third ninth of the WBO welterweight title boxing match at The Home Depot Center on March 16, 2013 in Carson, California. Bradley won in a narrow unanimous decision over Provodnikov to defend his WBO welterweight belt. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America)

Monday, March 18, 2013

It Is What It Is: NCAA Snubs ACC

We knew the ACC was in trouble when we saw the fifth place team from the Mountain West (Boise State) make the tournament field. Then when Miami slid down to a #2 seed (becoming the first ACC regulars season and tourney champ to not receive a #1 seed in the history of dancing) and an advancing UNC got stuck with a third round game against #1 seed Kansas in Kansas City, it was pretty clear which way the plumbing was working...

By Luke DeCock - Staff Columnist  

If there was a way to snub the ACC, the NCAA committee found it. Miami isn’t happy. Duke isn’t happy. North Carolina isn’t happy. And all for good reason.

The selection committee chairman, Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski, is headed to Georgia Tech on April 1. He may get an icy reception from his new peers, because he didn’t make any friends in his news conference Sunday.

Miami made history, and not in a good way: The Hurricanes became the first regular-season and tournament ACC champion not to get a No. 1 seed. Not only that, they were slapped into a region featuring Indiana, probably the best and most consistent team in the country over the course of the season.

The team that snuck past them? Gonzaga, which has beaten only one NCAA tournament team – St. Mary’s, in the First Four – since December. Miami beat two in the past two days.

"Miami had a tremendous year they’re a great basketball team and the reality is we only had four spots on the 1 line," Bobinski said. “If we had five, I tell you, Miami would be there with us. No disrespect whatsoever. We had a great appreciation for the year Miami had. In the final analysis, we put Gonzaga just ahead of them based on all that we’ve seen and evaluated over the course of the year.”

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke not only fell out of a No. 1 seed but out of its preferred regional site of Washington, D.C., and got stuck in a regional with at least three, if not more, other Final Four candidates – Louisville, Michigan State and St. Louis, just to start. That’s a heavy price to pay for a quarterfinal loss to Maryland.

North Carolina was handed not only a surprisingly low No. 8 seed, but set up on a collision course with Kansas – again! again! – in Kansas City, of all places. The Tar Heels appeared to have the resume of a No. 7 seed, but there will be less concern about the seeding than Roy Williams’ comfort level.
It’s hard to argue too much with N.C. State as a No. 8, or Virginia being left out, but the committee certainly didn’t do either any favors.

Maybe you can explain away some of that with the technicalities of seeding, scheduling and bracketing, but not all of it. The message was clear: Whatever the ACC did this season, it wasn’t good enough for the committee.

The Hurricanes, who have been playing the no-respect card all season, probably won’t mind this too much. They start in Austin, Texas, and would move on to Washington, which given the odd geographics of the tournament sites this year, is about as soft as the travel could get for them.

The Hurricanes stole the slot in Washington that Duke appeared to have nailed down long ago with its 18-1 record with Ryan Kelly in the lineup and wins over Louisville, Ohio State and Miami. The NCAA has often been accused of giving Duke preferential treatment, but the Blue Devils have a legitimate grievance this time around.

So do the Tar Heels. Another potential North Carolina-Kansas matchup may make for great television, but it’s not fair to either team given the history involved – especially the Tar Heels, who would have to play them in Missouri for the second straight year.

It made for a colossal gap in emotions between the conclusion of a dramatic, compelling ACC championship game and the deflation following the unveiling of the brackets a few hours later. What was shaping up to be such a great Sunday for the conference went out the window. A difficult path lies ahead for the ACC.

Four ACC Teams Get Dance Cards

DUKE (#2 seed, Midwest Region) is making its 18th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 37th overall ... the Blue Devils are a No. 1 or No. 2 seed for the 21st time under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, including each of the past six seasons ... Duke is 96-32 (.750) all-time in the NCAA Tournament with national championships in 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2010 ... head coach Mike Krzyzewski is 79-24 (.767) in NCAA Tournament play.

MIAMI (#2 seed, East Region) is making its seventh NCAA tournament appearance and its first since 2008 ... the Hurricanes' No. 2 seed ties for the highest in program history ... Miami was a No. 2 seed in the East Region of the 1999 NCAA Championship ... the Canes are 4-6 (.400) in previous NCAA Tournament appearances ... head coach Jim Larranaga is 5-5 (.500) in NCAA Tournament play, including a Final Four appearance in 2006 while the head coach at George Mason.

NORTH CAROLINA (#8 seed, South Region) is making its third straight and ACC-best 44th NCAA Tournament appearance overall ... the Tar Heels have played in 149 NCAA Tournament games and won 108, both of which totals are second in NCAA history ... North Carolina is 108-41 (.725) all-time in NCAA Tournament play with national titles in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009 ... head coach Roy Williams is 61-20 (.753) in NCAA Tournament play, including a 27-6 (.828) mark with the Tar Heels.

N.C. STATE (#8 seed, East Region) is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 24th overall ... the Wolfpack are a No. 8 seed, its highest seed since being a No. 3 seed in 2004 ... NC State is 34-22 (.608) all-time in NCAA Tournament competition ... the Wolfpack won national titles in 1974 and 1983 ... following last year's run to the Sweet 16, NC State head coach Mark Gottfried is 7-8 (.466) in eight NCAA Tournament appearances.

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Miami Wins First Ever ACC Hoops Tourney

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Shane Larkin scored eight of his career-high 28 points in the final 2 1/2 minutes to help No. 9 Miami pull away and beat North Carolina 87-77 in Sunday's ACC tournament final.

Trey McKinney Jones added a career-high 20 points for the top-seeded Hurricanes (27-6), including the go-ahead three-pointer with 6:27 left that started Miami's final push toward its first tournament title.

It came one week after the Canes completed its surprising run to its first ACC regular-season title in program history. And just as Larkin had promised, the Hurricanes weren't satisfied.

"We want more," senior Julian Gamble said. "After we clinched the outright regular-season title at home and we (cut down the nets), we were like, `Wasn't that the funnest thing you've ever done?' We wanted to go to Greensboro and do it again."

Larkin was chosen the tournament's MVP after finishing as runner-up for league player of the year. But he was at his best when the Hurricanes needed him to complete their climb from being picked fifth in the preseason poll to ACC champion.

In a terrific back-and-forth game filled with big shots, the Hurricanes finally slowed P.J. Hairston and the third-seeded Tar Heels (24-10) enough down the stretch to secure what amounted to a road win in front of UNC's home-state crowd.

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Quote of the Day: Understatement (But It’s Early Yet)

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
“I am somewhat surprised and disappointed that only four ACC teams are in the field and that the league only received two No. 2 and two No. 8 seeds. I think the ACC deserved better than that.”

- UNC head coach Roy Williams on the overall placement of ACC teams.  He did not mention the potential matchup against his former Kansas Jayhawks in the round of 32.  

The Suits In Indianapolis (Formerly Kansas) will never come clean, but it seems fairly clear based on simple math that the Heels were a 7 seed, but that would have put them in the other end of the bracket and away from Kansas until the Sweet 16.

The NCAA will no doubt blame the “bracketing,” the new excuse for any vagaries. 

Three ACC Teams to NIT

(Click on graphic for a close up view that's easier to read)


Pictures Of The ACC Tournament Final

ACC Tournament MVP Shane Larkin #0 (C) of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after they won he final of the Men's ACC Tournament. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
Shane Larkin #0 of the Miami Hurricanes greets fans as he celebrates after they won 87-77 against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the final of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
P.J. Hairston #15 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles for a loose ball with Kenny Kadji #35 of the Miami Hurricanes during the finals of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
Julian Gamble #45 of Miami reacts during the final of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates after they won 87-77 against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the final of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
ACC Tournament MVP Shane Larkin of the Miami Hurricanes runs the offense in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the final of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
Ramses. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
A general view of the North Carolina Tar Heels playing against the Miami Hurricanes during the final of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

 Miami head coach Jim Larranaga swings the championship net as Miami defeated UNC 87-77 to win their first ACC Tournament Championship Sunday March 17, 2013 at the Greensboro Coliseum. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer)
Miami's Tonye Jekiri (23) and Rion Brown (15) celebrate their 87-77 victory over North Carolina in the ACC Championship game against Miami on Sunday March 17, 2013 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
Miami players react at game's end after they won their first ACC tournament championship game defeating the UNC Tar Heels 87-77 Sunday March 17, 2013 at the Greensboro Coliseum. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News Observer)
Miami guard Shane Larkin kicks the ball out to a teammate as UNC guard Dexter Strickland (1) defends. Miami defeated UNC 87-77 to win their first ACC Tournament Championship Sunday March 17, 2013 at the Greensboro Coliseum. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer)
UNC's P.J. Hairston (15) and James Michael McAdoo (43) leave the court following their 87-77 loss to Miami in the ACC Championship game on Sunday March 17, 2013 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. Hairston scored 28 points and McAdoo added 12. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)

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