Tobacco Road Hegemony

Barry Jacobs has a great table up at the DBR listing Duke and Carolina’s Final Four appearances. It really is remarkable to see it displayed like that. In the past 20 years, or since the tournament expanded to 64 teams, there have been only four years that neither team made the Final Four. The longest span without either team was two years – 2002 and 2003.
And Maryland won the title in 2002.

Rumor Mongering

Since I’m not a responsible member of any sort of media institution, I have the ability – nay, the obligation – to spread rumors.
An intrepid reader (and power-blogger himself) sent me two juicy rumors last night. I figured I’d share them, because that’s what the Internets are for, right?
The first is the highly improbably rumor that Herb Sendek had agreed in principal to walk away from NC State at the end of the season. After advancing to the Sweet Sixteen however, he had a change of heart and decided to stay. I can’t see Herbie The Love Buddha making such a deal, but I love the idea of Lee Fowler thinking he had things under control and then having the tables turned on him. He would have been the big strong AD, letting a coach go and making all the fans happy. And then the coach reversed on him, giving him no choice but to acquiesce. There’s no way Fowler could fire Sendek after advancing to the second week of the tourney!
The other rumor is one that actually has some legs, but I haven’t yet seen any confirmation. This one is that promising Indiana freshman Patrick Ewing Jr. is set to transfer. The rumor goes on to suppose that he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps at Georgetown, playing for John Thompson’s son. Does the Ewing Theory run in the family? If so, look for a banner year in Hoosierland.
Lastly is the rumor that actually may be fact. Coaching searches are so full of twists and turns and misinformation though, that really anything you hear before an official press conference can be considered at best a half-fact. In this case, the news is that Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has declared that he is going nowhere. According to that espn.com link (written by Andy Katz), Rick Barnes has made a similar decision, meaning Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage has some more shopping to do.
Any other juicy stories out there that any birdies want to whisper in my ear?

Weekend Update

Yeah, the weekend games are long over now and have been rehashed to death by everyone with a keyboard … but I’m gonna have a quick go at them too. Better late than never, right?
First of all, I think I’ll point out the obvious – that was a quality collection of regional finals! Incredible. That was the best group I can ever remember watching. If there’s been a better set ever, I haven’t heard about it.
In the first game on Saturday, West Virginia did their best Villanova (’85 edition) impersonation, but without the cocaine (I’m guessing this is more of an OxyContin group, ya know?). Actually, the Mountaineers were shooting way more often and from farther out than those Wildcats did. With no shot clock or three-point line in those days, Nova attempted just ten shots in the second half (making nine) and most were from close in. In the first half alone, WVU hit 10 of 14 three pointers. That’s nuts!

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Gray Friday

Man, what a great long weekend of basketball! We had it all – upsets, heartbreakers, buzzer-beaters, great individual performances, comebacks, etc. Basically, last weekend served as an example of everything that is great about college basketball.
The thing is, there was so much goodness, that I couldn’t find time to write about it. I’ll try to catch up now.
Gray Friday
Back before last weekend, I wrote about the doom I felt for the Sunday’s slate of four ACC games. I was genuinely worried that one or no ACC teams would survive. I was pleasantly surprised when three made it through.

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Conference Performance Update

So long Big 12. It was nice playing with you, but I believe you need to run along home now. You have no teams left in the Big Dance (or the little one either).
There have only been four NCAA games since my last update, but there have been a handful of NIT games on their weird schedule. Bottom line – the ACC still leads in NCAA performance, but has been passed by the Big 10 in overall postseason winning percentage. The weird thing? The ACC has bested the Midwestern boys in both NCAA and NIT performance, but the overall percentages favor the Big 10. Odd, huh?
Of course this will all be moot in about eight hours. There are two ACC-Big 10 matchups tonight, along with ACC-Big East and SEC-Whatever Conference Utah Is In tilts. Should be lot of fun!

 

NCAA NIT Total Postseason

Conference

Bids W-L Win % Bids W-L Win % Bids W-L Win %

ACC

5 8-2 .800 4 3-3 .500 9 11-5 .688

Conference USA

4 5-3 .625 5 6-3 .667 9 11-6 .647

Big East

6 7-4 .636 2 2-2 .500 8 9-6 .600

Big Ten

5 7-2 .778 1 0-1 .000 6 7-3 .700

Big Twelve

6 6-6 .500 2 2-2 .500 8 8-8 .500

Pac 10

4 5-3 .625 2 0-2 .000 6 5-5 .500

SEC

5 4-4 .500 2 5-1 .833 7 9-5 .643

Link Overload

With three area teams playing on the same day in the NCAA Tournament, it’s a bit pointless to try to point out links where you can read about the game. It’s kind of like pointing out a fat person at Ryans – they’re everywhere so why single any out?
Instead of surfing all over for interesting links, I’ll just send you to the News & Observer. As the primary newspaper (I’m discounting the Durham Herald-Sun) for all three teams, you’d expect they would put together some pretty good stories. You’d be right. The N&O did a fine job producing
this series of stories on every ACC game tonight.
As for my picks, I’m going with UNC, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Duke. I’m not comfortable with either of those last two. I think NC State could certainly win, but I’m just impressed with the way Wisconsin has played the last couple of years. They look really well coached and just don’t beat themselves.
The Michigan State-Duke game smells a bit like an upset to me for reasons I can’t fully explain. It’s just a gut feeling. I hope my gut is wrong.
I kind of hope I’m wrong about the Wildcats too, so that UVA can move ahead with their pursuit of Tubby Smith. Wouldn’t that be something if they could land him? What a coup for them and the ACC that would be.

NBA Blog

Sorry for the NBA post on a day when all three Triangle ACC teams play in the Sweet Sixteen, but this is too good to pass on. NBA scrub Paul Shirley (never heard of him) has a little blog over on NBA.com. Now, not too many NBA players would be capable of writing a grammatically correct sentence, much less an interesting one.
Shirley is surely (get it? Ha!) an exception.
Check this excerpt from his first entry:

The poker games started way back in the preseason. I think I had the idea while Casey Jacobson had the chips. I probably got to play in about six games (poker, not basketball) before I was sent packing, released just days into the regular season. The fact that I am here and available for poker games on the Phoenix Suns’ charter plane (along with being theoretically available to play in basketball games) is a little remarkable. All it took was my return from a two-month hiatus in Russia, a trade by the Suns that sent away Casey and two others, and the Suns’ subsequent need for a warm body to keep the bench from tipping toward the coaches. Without those events, I would be a lot less happy with my life right now. On the other hand, had all of this not happened, I would be $40 richer right now. But I think we can all agree that it was a small price to pay.

Read it for yourself here.

ACC In The NCAAs

I had plans earlier this week to do some combing through Charlie Board’s fantastic site along with the official ACC site to get some good, interesting stats about the ACC’s performance in the NCAA tournament. Then, when I looked at the ACC’s weekly release, I realized that they’d already done a great job! So, instead, I’ll do just one table showing performance by the major conferences since 1985.
You hear all year long from various whiners about how the ACC gets too much media attention and love. The argument is that the other conferences get screwed because all the national media outlets are in infatuated with and blinded by the ACC. If that were completely true, you’d expect that bias to result in extra bids for ACC teams. Bids are one are where subjective measures come in to play. If everyone loves the ACC, it should have the most teams in the field, right? Well, it hasn’t worked out that way. Since 1985, the ACC has had 102 bids, the same number as the Big East, but nine fewer than the Big Ten.

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