Fly Away Owls

Time for a little break from college hoops. The SportsProf wrote a great piece on Temple football.
How is it possible to write anything interesting about Temple football, you ask? Well, it’s not easy, but the Prof did it. In this essay, he argues for Temple to drop the sport, but the interesting stuff is his stories of going to games with his dad. Maybe I’m just sentimental, but I love this stuff. It reminds me about what sports is really about. It’s not about national TV and cheerleaders (well maybe a little about cheerleaders) and pregame shows. It’s about watching games with friends and family and just enjoying the sport.

State Satire

This is nice. StateFansNation.com has come up with an exclusive story – evidently Herb Sendek and Lee Fowler each issued public statements of support for other. The statements came within minutes of each other but were apparently completely unrelated. You can read the story here.
Well done, JPS.

Time To Panic

FailureI’ve written several times in the past couple of weeks about how fans of Virginia and NC State have been prematurely panicking about their teams’ chances. It’s too early for that, I argued. There’s plenty of season left.
Well, now it’s time.
Last night’s losses, Virginia at Maryland and NC State at Virginia Tech, left them each in deep holes. Deep. Let’s get a flashlight and peer down there and see just how far down they are. Is there a chance that hey can scratch and claw back up to the sunlight? Or does Lassie need to go get help?
The Cavaliers are now 0-5 in the ACC. They didn’t play a very good non-conference schedule, but did manage one impressive win with an 18 point whipping of Arizona. That big win probably means that the Cavs could garner a bid with a 7-9 record in the brutal ACC. Given that they have already lost five times, a little basic math says that they need to go 7-4 the rest of the way. Here are their eleven remaining games (with f for favorite and ‘u’ for underdog according to Pomeroy’s Ratings):
Home against Clemson (f)
Home and away against Virginia Tech (f, f)
Home and away against UNC (u, u)
Home and away against State (f, u)
Home and away against FSU (f, u)
Home against Maryland (u)
At Wake Forest (u)
There are three scheduled losses in there – the two Carolina games and at Wake. That means UVA must go 7-1 in the rest of those games, even though they’ll be favored in only five of them. Looks pretty unlikely, huh? While Virginia might be able to land the two upsets it needs, odds are they won’t hold serve in all the games in which they are favored. It doesn’t help that starting forward Jason Clark is academically ineligible for the rest of the year (and his career).
Now how about State? State has no good non-conference wins, so I think they need to go 8-8 to get a bid. They are 1-3 now, so that means they need to finish 7-5. Let’s look at their schedule:
Home and away against Maryland (u, u)
Home against Florida State (f)
At Clemson (u)
Home and away against UNC (u, u)
Home and away against UVA (f, u)
Home and away against Wake (u, u)
At Georgia Tech (u)
Home against Virginia Tech (f)
That looks even bleaker than Virginia’s road. State has only three games left where they will be favored, but yet need to win seven. Time to get in line for those NIT tickets, Wolfpackers! Oh, and since you aren’t gonna make the tourney, would it be too much to ask to go ahead and tank those Virginia games? It’d be good for the conference, you know! ๐Ÿ˜‰
BTW, looking at Pomeroy’s predictions, outside of the big four (Duke, Wake, Carolina and Wake), only Maryland is predicted to go 8-8 or better. Miami is looking at 7-9, which put them on the lower half of the bubble, I think. One thing’s for sure – all that talk of seven bids looks pretty foolish now. The conference may get only five (don’t believe those who would say it will be just four).
ps. Little tip to Herb Sendek and the boys. You might want to work a little on those end-of-game situations. You’ve put forth of the most horrendous attempts I’ve seen in the last two losses.

Killing The Sports Guy

You’ve probably noticed that I link to a fair number of Bill Simmons’ articles. I like the guy. He’s a great writer and I’ve been reading his stuff since before he joined ESPN.com.
But.
Man, has the success of the Red Sox and Patriots made him insufferable. If you didn’t read his article earlier this week about how the Patriots don’t get enough respect, be thankful. I’m not even going to link to it. It was awful. Trite. The worst thing he’s ever written, by far.
Fortunately, ESPN had the guts to print a ton of the hate mail he got as a result. Taken as a whole, these sum up my feelings pretty nicely.

Ignore The RPI … For Now

For the past several days, I’ve been having a debate with JB34 in the Sports Shack over the RPI and what it means for NC State at this point in the season. It turns out that JB34 is also a writer at StateFansNation.com and today he wrote an article further expounding on his opinions on the matter. Basically, his point is that State’s RPI (100) is bad and that is a cause of alarm.

Continue reading “Ignore The RPI … For Now”

Strawberry Out

Maryland sophomore DJ Strawberry tore his ACL in practice this week and is out for the season.
That’s tough news for the Terrapins, as Strawberry is one of those glue guys – he does a little of everything. He’s probably their best defender and, as the sixth man, brings a ton of energy off of the bench. You wonder if this Maryland team has what it takes to handle all of this adversity (the recent losses plus this). The thing is, I think Gary Williams thrives under difficult circumstances, which is why he goes out of his way to point out problems even when they don’t exist.

Scalped!

Let’s see here – huge win over rival in most hyped game of the season on Saturday. The next Saturday, another big out-of-conference game that sure to get a ton of national attention. And in between, some little conference road game against a lower-tier team. Nothing to worry about right? Wrong.
Seemingly in an attempt to make my Rest Week post look dumb mere hours after I posted it (which actually isn’t too bad for me), Wake went down to Tallahassee tonight and lost to a team that previously failed to beat Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and Florida International.
It was actually a very entertaining game. In the first half, Von Wafer did his best Tim Pickett impersonation, lighting the Deacons up for a career high-tying 25 points. (aside: did you know that Von’s first name is actually Vakeaton? It’s a Swahili name meaning roughly “Yeah, boy! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”) Behind Wafer’s hot hand, FSU broke out to a 19 point lead before settling down to a 14 advantage at the break. After taking 13 shots and hitting 9 for his 25 in the first half, Wafer evidently grew a mustache at half-time, because his teammates could no longer find him. He took only 3 second half shots and finished with 30 points.
Wake slowly whittled the lead down in until they finally tied it at 65 just after Adam Waleskowski fouled out by committing a charge and then screaming “bull shit” at the ref for a technical and his fifth foul. It seemed at that point that Wake had the momentum and would take over the game, but they never could.
Al Thornton took over where Wafer left off, scoring most of his career high 26 points late to fend off the Deacons.
The game seemed set for an incredible conclusion when Taron Downey was fouled while attempting a game-tying three pointer from 25 feet with just four seconds left. Downey swished the three, giving him a free throw for the win. Now, I should mention here one of the incredible sub-plots of this game. You might recall that Wake went 32-32 from the line against Carolina on Saturday? Well, to this point in tonight’s game, they were 18-18 from the line, for 50 consecutive free throws, an NCAA record. 50 in a row! As a point of comparison, JJ Redick, who is now officially the best free throw shooter in college basketball history, set the ACC record with 54 in a row a couple of years ago. So Wake as a team, had nearly matched the efforts of the best shooter ever. Incredible.
Back to the game – Downey at the line for the win. 50 free throws in a row. Downey missed it. Overtime.
In overtime, it became the Todd Galloway show. Galloway, the diminutive Seminole point guard, averages less than 6 points a game and hadn’t hit for double figures since November. Well, all he did was score nine straight points at a critical juncture in the overtime to give the Seminoles the win. Galloway finished with 21 points, a career high. If you’re keeping track, that’s three different Noles with career highs tonight.
All in all, it was a pretty damn fun game to watch. There were a ton of dumb plays down the stretch by both teams, but there were enough big shots to offset that.
I guess it’s not Rest Week after all. There are no rest weeks this year.

Myth Busting

I was minding my own bidness, eating my lunch and catching up on my reading for the day, when I came across this article in the Asheville Citizen-Times about Duke’s season. The storyline was nice, about how Duke was making due with less this season, when I read the following:

Early in the ACC season Duke (13-0, 3-0) is once again undefeated and ranked among the top teams in the country, albeit with a cast that includes more walk-on types than high school All-Americans.

(emphasis mine)
I almost choked on a french fry.
Are you kidding me? Let’s count the McDonald’s All-Americans on Duke’s roster – JJ Redick, Daniel Ewing, Sean Dockery, Shavlik Randolph and DeMarcus Nelson. Sheldon Williams was a shoo-in before he was kicked off his high school team for an alleged sexual assault (he was a top-ten recruit). So, that’s five McD’s All-Americans and one more virtual one.
That’s only one fewer than NC State (1), Virginia (0), Virginia Tech (0), Miami (0), Georgia Tech (0), Wake Forest (2), Clemson (0), Maryland (2) and Florida State (2) combined.
So, while Duke’s team is doing a great job this year, let’s not forget that they should be good with the players they have.