Monday, February 07, 2005

America must know

NOTE: I did not originate this and I have not confirmed its accuracy. But some things you just can't keep to yourself.

JJ Redick, the world reknowned hand checker, shirt tugger, and bear hugger, leads the entire nation in the least fouls committed per minute category. And folks, its not even close...

Redick, who has been called for an amazing 16 fouls THIS YEAR, clocks in at an incredible 1 foul for every 41 minutes played. Amazing in that Duke doesn't play a zone AT ALL, and in fact is known for their aggressive man-to-man defense.

Thats 1 foul per 41 minutes.

Folks, you can't even find another starter in the ACC that even comes close to 1 foul per 20 minutes.

Taking a quick glance at our 2/3's you will find:

McCants : 1 per 9 minutes
Manuel: 1 per 9 minutes

Took a quick glance at Wake:

Gray: 1 per 12 minutes
Levy: 1 per 9 minutes

Sunday, January 23, 2005

14-3 Eagles

The Eagles just completed a long pass to the west side of the field and got a touchdown out of it. They might have benefitted from a call during the drive, but all the same Atlanta just can't have that happen. That puts way too much pressure on Atlanta to score immediately.

Atlanta's strategy in the game has got to be to keep it close and let Vick make a huge play or two to make the difference. If they're forced into constant passing mode early, they're doomed.

Something has to happen for the Falcons fast, because the body language on the field tells you that the Eagles expect to win and the Falcons are nervous.

Full-service sports blogging

I'm gonna blog some NFL today. I'll throw in what few thoughts I have on Miami here and there.

But let's begin with dumb commentatory mockery on the Fox coverage:

"If the Eagles don't score in this quarter, that's a big win for the Atlanta defense."

What would we do without these guys?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Dumb color commentary alert

Mike Gminski (who I generally like just fine) just announced that Clemson is "very much in this game."

Clemson is ahead, 27-24. Thanks for the news flash there, sparky.

My favorite Clemson joke

What do the "o" and the "n" in Clemson stand for?

Honor and knowledge.

(OK, so phonetic jokes are funnier when spoken).

Uh-oh . . . . Klempson

As I write this, it's 19-17 with 3:30 left in the first half. Check that, Clemson just tied it up.

Now, a road game in the ACC is never easy (see NCSU-VT, FSU over Wake), but this is a game that for the first 12 minutes or so looked like amateurs versus professionals, yet the Heels couldn't put any distance between them. That's a bad sign. We could easily have run up a 20 point or so lead, but we just couldn't get anything going offensively.
We need to hammer teams when they offer their heads up on a platter.

The offense has lost its "flow." McCants doesn't fit in seamlessly all of a sudden, and Felton is banged up.

Egad. They just flashed up that we've turned it over 16 times in the first half. And that's without Adam Boone on the team.

Monday, January 17, 2005

OK, so we can still lose . . . a few thoughts on Wake

I'll give it to you straight: yes, I'm a little surprised. Probably more than I should be. I confess to having given in to the temptation to believe we were head and shoulders above the rest of the country, including other top 10 teams. In hindsight, that's in part because I think I read more into the GT and Maryland games than I should have (both have since lost again and looked questionable doing it), and in part because the Wake defeat at Illinois impacted me more than it probably should have.

I'm not prepared to concede the conference to Wake Forest on the basis of that one game, because I simply don't think Wake can play any better than they did Saturday. Contrary to the complaints from some, I don't think that the Heels were all that bad. I think we played OK and just plain got beaten by a very good team. There were some horrid calls, and freakish free throw shooting (32-32 by Wake, which anyone reading this already knows), but I still think we would've lost had neither of those things been true.

Also in the "Gosh, I'm stupid" category . . . once upon a time I thought there had never been a better match between coach and school than Dave Odom and Wake Forest. I thought they were crazy to get rid of him, given the challenges of making it big-time at Wake Forest (no offense to Prosser intended). Whoa, was I wrong.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Georgia Tech

Before you start in on how Georgia Tech was missing B.J. Elder and Ra'Sean Dickey, let me remind you of this: prior to the Carolina game, the average field goal percentage against GT was under 35%. That is ridiculous. This is not a Bobby Cremins Tech team, by which I mean it's not constructed of one or two great players plus 3-4 spare parts to throw in. That kind of team is dead when one of the stars goes down. But you can't play the kind of defense this year's Yellow Jacket do unless you do it as a team.

That is why last night's win looked so good. We didn't shoot the lights out (41%), but the game was never really in question. We scored 91 points against that defense, in large part by making up with rebounds what we lacked in great shooting. When McCants got into foul trouble, you barely noticed. In short, we overran last year's national finalist as if they were just another UNC-W.

Well, people are starting to notice. Bring on Wake Forest. What a show that's going to be.


Got a nice email today from the crew who runs the College Basketball Blog, which has a bit of a broader scope than our Tar Heel/ACC basketball focus and appears to be really well done.

Anyway, as of today, the collegeball blog will be in our permalinks.

Blogging on the Georgia Tech game to come; this frickin' job of mine is a constant interference with timely blogs . . .

Sunday, January 09, 2005

A basketball addict's story

I, uh . . . had tickets to the Maryland game, but I couldn't go. There was the matter of an unavoidable family conflict (someone turned 80 and had a party, and trust me, there was going to be no spousal relief from that obligation).

I came to find out that the location of this event would not have a television. This called for desperate measures. So I dig through my stuff and come up with my AM/FM Walkman. This will get me through. Now, I've been married long enough that this is an issue about which my wife and I have a understanding that goes undiscussed. She hates that I do this but knows that it is the only way for me to be remotely sociable at one of these events.

So, in I walk, headphones on. And that is when every male in the joint sells me out. You know, the tsk-tsk looks, and the "hey, honey, at least I'm not in here wearing headphones" kind of deal. But every damn one of them knows what I'm listening to, and every one of them chases me down when they think their wife isn't looking to ask for the score. By the time the second half is halfway over, the pretense has dropped altogether and people 3 tables over are shouting for score updates, followed finally by the 80 year old honoree herself asking for the count. I may be the insane relative, but by the end of that party, I was the well-loved insane relative.

Every real fan knows that in life, as in basketball, there come days when you're put into a crucial situation, and lots of people would rather pass than shoot, but somebody has to step up. Saturday was one of those days. When it comes to the Heels, well, just give me the damn ball.


Sometime in the late '90's, a pretty good Maryland team got absolutely throttled by UCLA in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament. This gave birth to one of the great lines of unintentional comedy from college basketball, when one of the Maryland players was asked to describe the defeat (which featured, among other things, at least one alley-oop pass thrown from halfcourt) and responded: "I felt like we were in a video game." Ever since then, my brother and I have referred to an obscene sports beating as "getting video gamed."

Well, Maryland got video gamed again Saturday afternoon. Now, I don't think this year's Maryland team is going to be anything special -- my guess is the lowest 5th of the top 25 at best, bubble team at worst. So I don't want to read too much into this W. But at some point we have to look reality in the face here: the 2004-2005 Tar Heels are a national championship caliber basketball team.

Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are up this week. Neither of those wins is likely to come nearly so easily. But my gut feel is that we're going to win both of those games, and if we do that, I think we bring into play a real possibility that we could run the table in the ACC (not least because we only have to play Wake once).

I tend towards superstition, and so perhaps this is just an attempt at pulling the reverse-reverse jinx, but at some point pretending you don't think we're all that good can't be taken seriously. Now is that time.

Looking at the NCAA as a whole, you can usually narrow the field down to about 5 teams that have a real chance to win the whole thing. I haven't seen every one of these teams play, but in eyeballing it, right now I'd name North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Wake Forest.

No, I don't think Duke can win it. Yes, I know they're undefeated.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Start of the real season

OK, here we go . . . it feels like rising from the dead. Football's over, and so is out-of-conference hoops (Virginia Tech doesn't count).

Maryland comes in ranked 21st, with a Sagarin rating of 29th. Carolina is 4th and 7th, respectively, but by my eyes looks to be the best team in the country.

Maryland is 9-2, with losses to George Washington and Wisconsin. Their best quality win is over Memphis -- ho-hum.

Maryland's key player is John Gilchrist -- a guy who by many accounts was Carolina's for the asking, only they didn't ask. Not that I'd complain about having Raymond, but sheesh, that's a killer miss.

Anyway, the line on the game is UNC -11.5. I'm a little surprised it's that high (I think most people don't realize how soft Maryland's schedule has been to this point), but I still say the Tar Heels cover it easily. Prediction: UNC 96, Maryland 77.