The Week To Be – 1/30 – 2/5/2006

After this week’s games, all of the ACC teams will be at or just the middle of their conference schedule. Things are still a bit murky in the middle, but a few clear strata are developing. Duke is by itself in the top-tier. NC State, UNC and BC form the second tier. Maryland might have been in that group, but I need to see how they play without Chris McCray. The middle is filled with Miami, FSU, Clemson, Maryland and Virginia. Wake, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are in that bottom group, but all have shown the ability to rise up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the basement team wins four games this year.
01/31/06 Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Va. RSN/ XM 191 7:00 PM
Can the Hokies capitalize on their shocking win at Wake Forest on Saturday? I honestly don’t know. It will depend in part on whether Coleman Collins is back. One thing is for certain – given the way these two teams play, this one won’t be pretty.

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The Week That Was – 1/23 – 1/29/2006

All in all, it wasn’t a very good week for the ACC. After Duke’s loss to Georgetown, the conference’s three intraconference tilts seemed like great opportunities to shore up the overall conference rating. Unfortunately, that advantage was not taken, as the ACC went just 1-2 in those three games. And one of the losses was bad. You know which one I’m talking about. More below.
01/24/06 Florida State 75, Wake Forest 68 Winston-Salem, NC
Florida State wins road ACC games about as often Nigel Dixon missed a meal – rarely. Fortunately for the Seminoles, Wake Forest is in a giving mood this season. Despite having two players who should be first team all-conference performers, the Deacons are now officially the worst team in the ACC. The numbers may not show it just yet, but it’s true. I’ll piss on them some more below, as this was actually Wake’s best game of the week.

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Shelden The Friendly Landlord

You know Shelden Williams’ reputation. He’s the best interior defender in the country. He is Duke’s all-time blocked shots leader. He was the national Defensive Player of the Year last season. He is The Landlord.
It’s just a fact – the man is a great defensive player.
Or is it a fact? It’s been said so many times by so many different people, that everyone just accepts it now. The problem is, I’ve had a nagging feeling since last year that it just isn’t true. Sure, he blocks a lot of shots and he grabs a lot of rebounds. He certainly is a good defensive player, but why is it that so many players seem to have good games against him?

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Tough Time For Coleman Collins

If you watched the Duke-Virginia Tech basketball game last night, you probably heard the story. Hokie center Coleman Collins’ dad is very suffering from lung cancer and has become very ill. Evidently he is not expected to make it through the weekend. Collins’ brother was at the game and the two of them were going to drive down to Atlanta afterward to be with their father. Seth Greenberg has said that Collins can stay down there as long as he needs to. Basketball can wait.
The Duke Basketball Report has a nice piece on this story, along with a good idea – send an email to Collins via the Virginia Tech athletic department. I don’t know how much help a bunch of emails from strangers can be when you lose a parent, but it certainly can’t hurt. Everyone likes to know that others support them.

Turkey Stomp

Hokie cheerleader?Clogging, a old dancing style where you rhythmically stomp your feet, is a revered Appalachian tradition. At Virginia Tech, a school nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, it seems that the tradition is alive and well.
Just last month, Hokie quarterback Marcus Vick made national news with his stomp of Louisville All-American Elvis Dumerville. While Vick’s stomp wasn’t terribly rhythmic, it did manage to excite quite a few people in and out of the greater Blacksburg area. Sadly for folk dance aficionados, Vick was kicked out of school shortly after his clogging routine, so we’ll have to wait until he surfaces in the NFL or on CNN to see what new moves he’s added to his repertoire.
But don’t fret! The stomping tradition isn’t dead yet. Marcus Vick may be gone, but his memory lingers, thanks in no small part to Virginia Tech basketball player Deron Washington. In tonight’s nationally televised game against Duke, Washington performed a mini-jig on the ugly mug of Duke forward Lee Melchionni while Melchionni was threateningly lying prone with his arms held outstretched. Unlike young Ron New Mexico, Washington made some effort to make his stomp seem accidental, but alas, no one fell for it. Washington was ejected by the refs who apparently are unaware or unappreciative of the region’s grand folk history.

Update: After the game, Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg and Washington waited outside the locker room for Melchionni and Mike Krzyzewski. They both apologized and Melchionni and Washington hugged. Now that’s the classy way to handle a situation like that. Way to go, coach Greenberg! You don’t say in the postgame press conference that you didn’t see it or that things happen in the heat of battle. You don’t have the player issue an apology written the next day by the sports information department. You man up, take responsibility and apologize directly to the people you wronged.
It should be mentioned also that during the game, after the incident happened, Greenberg had a very concerned look on his face. I don’t think he even paid attention to the last couple minutes of play. He looked very upset that his player had done something like that. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a coach make a face like that. I’m very impressed with Coach Greenberg’s compassion and integrity.

The Week To Be – 1/23 – 1/29/2006

First, a quick look at the standings to give the schedule some perspective:

N.C. State
Florida State
Ga. Tech
Wake Forest
Va. Tech

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The Real Reason Duke Lost

You want to know the real reason why Duke lost?
Georgetown wanted it more? Shelden Williams had a bad game? Poor point guard play? Sun spots?
Karma killed their perfect season.
“Karma,” you ask?
Yep. Karma turned it’s angry face toward Duke the second that Coach Mike Krzyzewski said this about the prospects of going undefeated, “Are they going to go undefeated? Are they going to do this? We’re starting Lee Melchionni and Sean Dockery.”
Ouch. Karma doesn’t let you insult your own players like that and get away unscathed.
p.s. Dockery was a McDonald’s All-American and Melchionni was an honorable mention selection.

Terrapin Trouble

I missed posting last week when Maryland’s Travis Garrison was arrested and charged with assault and a sex offense. It was a significant story, but I just didn’t get to it early enough, so I let it go. For the record, Garrison was suspended for one game for the assault. More on that in a moment.
Yesterday, Maryland’s leading scorer, Chris McCray was made academically inelligible for the rest of the year. McCray is a season so just like that, his career is over.
It’s interesting to me to contrast the handling of the two situations. Now, I understand that there are clear rules about academic standing and Garrison hasn’t been convicted of any crimes, but still. According to Gary Williams’ Garrison’s suspension was actually because he violated team rules by being out at a bar, not because he was charged with a sex crime. Oddly enough, McCray was also at that bar (instead of studying, obviously), but wasn’t suspended.
Back to McCray – what an idiot. It’s not like he didn’t know by now. I mean, he’s a senior! I give credit to Maryland for not bending the rules to make him just barely eligible. Sure, it would be great if all athletes were great students, but that’s not realistic. What is important is to not bend the rules for them. Help them as much as is ethical, but if they still fail, make them pay. I hope he learns his lesson.
It’s a big blow to the team though, as McCray is their most steady player.

The Week That Was 1/16 – 1/22/06

01/17/06 Boston College 63, Holy Cross 53 Worcester, Mass.
01/18/06 Duke 81, NC State 68 Durham, N.C.
Great effort by NC State in this one. It was really a fun game to watch as both teams really went at it. The final margin is not at all indicative of how close the game was. State’s Cedric Simmons really had a breakout game with 28 points, nine rebounds, seven blocks and three steals.
Notice how many big men are having huge games against Shelden Williams this year? I’ve actually been planning on article on this for a few weeks now, but haven’t gotten around to it. Meanwhile, the evidence mounts.

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Eleven – 6 – Extra Points And Field Goals

In what should be the final Eleven (this year), the Great Bobby P pulls the curtain back on one of the most common, but overlooked plays in football – the kick for points. Nowhere else will you read a technical football article that includes references to both Shakespeare and Hoosiers! Enjoy.
“A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
I open this second-to-last installment with a quote from Richard IIIfor several reasons. The first of these is that I have been much like the stooped, lustful, grasping regent over the last several weeks. Dave offered me a simple task, a periodic column on the X’s and O’s of football. It seemed simple enough, but I warned him early on that my schedule is often hectic, so that I had doubts about my reliability. Well-founded doubts, obviously. I’ve been about as reliable as coke-fiend. This was for no malicious intent, although from Dave’s angle, that doesn’t really matter. He was hoping for columns that he didn’t get. He even added a well timed prod or two to get me going, which alas, missed their mark. Sorry Dave. If we do this next season, assuming you would have me back, I promise a better effort. [Ed: Come on man, its a blog, not the New York Times. No worries.]

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