Reggie Bush Would Have Gone Faster

Wanna know how a #1 NFL draft pick (deserved or not) rolls? In a burnt orange Lamborghini at about 130 mph on I-40 here in Raleigh, that’s how. Evidently Super Mario doesn’t follow the news much and hasn’t heard about Kellen Winslow, Ben Roethlisberger or Bobby Hurley.
Oh, you might want to put the headphones on for this one.
BTW, burnt orange? Is he pretending to be a Texas alumnus now that he’s in Houston? Don’t they make those things in red anymore?

Tragedy In Blacksburg

I’m sure you’ve seen the story by now. A gunman went crazy at Virginia Tech today and killed over 30 people, including himself. It’s just mind boggling. It’s hard to understand how one person could do so much damage.
From what I’ve read, he went first to a dorm, looking for his girlfriend. When he couldn’t find her, he shot her roommate and maybe the RA. At least one person was killed in the dorm. He got away from there and as police were investigating, he showed up in another building. The rumor is that he was still looking for his girlfriend, this time in a classroom. In that room, and maybe in several, he started shooting and that’s where he killed most of his victims.
Terrible.
My thoughts are with those in Blacksburg and the families of all of those affected. We make fun around here sometimes, but it’s just that – fun. My family lived in Blacksburg when I was born and later in Radford, where the shooter was evidently from. No place deserves this sort of tragedy, but sometimes it feels even more real when you have a tie, no matter how tenuous.

Bad ACC Year? Not For The Accountants!

Expansion was supposed to help the ACC by making it more competitive in football and as a result, more profitable. Well, one out of two ain’t too bad! Expansion has NOT produced much in the way of fantastic football (or basketball, for that matter), but as Bill Maloney (Eagle In Atlanta to you and me) points out, but the ACC is still raking it in.

According the latest financial numbers, the ACC pulled in nearly $20 million more in 2006 than 2005. Boston College and Virginia Tech aren’t yet earning full shares, but they still pulled $1.4 million and $2.5 million respecively more than they got in their final Big East year. Only Miami lost out, because they had a good football team in their last year in the Big East.

So, maybe the ACC put Wake Forest in the BCS, had only one team in the Sweet Sixteen and none in the Final Four this year, but at least the athletic departments are making more money! That’s all that really matters, right?

Gopher Tubby

This is just crazy. Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith is apparently leaving to become the coach at the University of Minnesota.
Wow!
Talking about shrinking from the light. I thought it was a bit of a stretch to think that he might take the Virginia job a couple of years ago (although by all accounts, he seriously considered it), but Minnesota?
Every AD in the country with a successful coach better start working on a new contract for your guy, because there’s a good chance that Kentucky’s going to be sending some Emery trucks full of cash his way soon.

Another Look At Race And Basketball

In my column reviewing the weekend NCAA Tournament games, I wrote a short piece about Tyler Hansbrough’s athleticism and included a final line wondering if he would be viewed differently if he were black. Obviously, that’s the sort of topic that’s not best handled by a single throwaway line, but I didn’t have time to go into it more.
Fortunately, Chad Orzel of the Uncertain Principles blog read what I wrote and expanded on it nicely.
As most anyone who watches much sports knows, there tends to be a bias in how white and black athletes are described. Let’s ignore the “truth” about how athletic various players really are or aren’t – white athletes tend to get credit for hustle, hard work, attitude and smart play while black athletes are noted for their sheer athleticism and skill. In many cases, these descriptions are appropriate and in many cases they are not. This kind of analysis is laziness in the form of easy stereotyping. You see the same thing when an athlete reminds the announcer of some similar athlete who is invariably of the same race.
As for Hansbrough, I’ll admit that I haven’t always thought of him as athletic. Sure, he’s no Will Bowers, but I wouldn’t compare him to Sean Williams or even Josh McRoberts either. That’s partly why I was surprised to realize that his brother and father both have accomplished things that do require supreme athleticism. Maybe Hansbrough isn’t just a hard worker or “the toughest basketball player in America” but is also a superior athlete. I mean, Jason Cain plays pretty hard and he’s fairly athletic as well, but he’s nowhere near the player Hansbrough is.
I think Tyler actually is a superior athlete, but he’s just one of those guys who’s not very fluid. He’s jerky and angular, but surprisingly athletic. We’ve probably all had friends like that or at least played against that guy at the gym. He looks goofy and runs funny, but damn if he doesn’t keep scoring on you or hitting jumpers from 20 feet. I ran track with a guy like that in college. He looked and acted like a big dork. He kind of loped when he walked and looked like he was trying too hard when he ran. But the dude could long jump 23 feet (you try that some time) and was a hell of a dunker at just about 6 feet tall. And yes, he was white.
It just goes to show – you never really know until you watch what someone can and can’t do. The color of their skin or the smoothness of their gait doesn’t tell you the whole story.

ACC History To Salve Our Wounds

The ACC’s reputation wasn’t built in a year, five years or even a decade. The ACC has been the most dominant conference by far over a long period of time. One bad year (and this hasn’t been that bad yet) doesn’t change that.
So, I give you David Glenn’s piece from last week detailing just how dominant the ACC has been in the NCAA Tournament.
My favorite paragraph:

Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the ACC has had 111 teams in the NCAA Tournament, about the same as the Big East (116). Yet the ACC has 221 wins in that span — 35 more than the Big East. The Big Ten has had 124 participants since 1985 yet has 42 fewer wins. The SEC, with 110 participants, has 61 fewer wins. The Pac-10 has less than half as many NCAA wins as the ACC in the modern era. Since the Big 12 formed in 1996, it trails the ACC 96-72.

Friday Thoughts

  • I guess J.R. Reynolds’ hip is feeling better! Talk about lighting it up. It’s amazing how much better Virginia is when he’s hitting shots. Sean Singletary will always be dangerous with the ball – quickness doesn’t come and go – but his effectiveness is limited if the team has no other threat.
  • I mentioned before that all I really wanted from Virginia this year was one tourney win. Just one. Win one game and I’d be satisfied even if they bowed out in the second round. And now after they have won that one game … I still feel the same way. A win over Tennessee on Sunday would be suhweet, but I won’t be devastated if they lose. It’s a nice place for a fan to be!
  • And how about Tennessee and Virginia’s performances? I was extremely pleased that the Cavs went out and won by 27 points, their third-largest margin of victory on the season. And then the Vols went out and won by 35, scoring 121 points in the process! That makes Virginia’s win seem modest. But at the same time, I’m still hopeful because UVA played well and their defense will be a whole lot better than what UT saw yesterday.
  • I picked Illinois to upset Virginia Tech, largely because of their defense (and just gut feeling), but I still pulled for the Hokies. I was almost right and Illinois did play some of the best D I’ve seen in the tourney, but I was impressed by how the Hokies responded. Once they switched to the full-court press with about 5 minutes left, they completely dominated the game. It’s always interesting to see how a change in defensive philosophy to be more aggressive can change the complexion of a game on both ends of the floor.
  • I’m pissed at myself for not picking Winthrop. Before the field was even announced, I had planned on having them win at least one game. I was impressed with how they played against UNC earlier this year and they’ve been to the tourney so much lately that I knew they were ready to take the next step. But then I talked myself out of it. I heard everyone else picking them to upset Notre Dame and then I saw that the Domers actually had a good Pomeroy rating, so I caved. My bad.
  • Another mistake I made – not accounting for Georgia Tech’s horrendous play away from home. They should have won that game yesterday, but they simply don’t play well outside of Atlanta. It’s hard to explain. Obviously they have some youth, but they are more experienced than a lot of teams. Unfortunately for Paul Hewitt, he may not get a chance to mold all of that talent. I bet Thad Young skips out to the NBA, even though his stock has surely dropped since last year.
  • How sweet would it have been if Wisconsin had dropped that game? I don’t know why it is, but I just love watching the Big Ten fail in the NCAA Tournament. It’s not like I hate the schools in that league, but for some reason, I find it funny to see them struggle at the end of the year. I think it stems from those two consecutive seasons in the early 90s when the Big Ten failed to get a single team in the Sweet Sixteen.
  • Arizona may just be the worst team with four NBA-caliber players in the history of college basketball. Their season was a disgrace. Remember that when you see any list of great college coaches that includes Lute Olsen. He’s a great recruiter and a very good program manager, but he’s an average-at-best basketball coach.
  • The ACC went 5-2 in the first round. Not too bad. That’s about what I expected, although I certainly hoped for more. The real test comes now. Carolina, Maryland and Virginia are all seeded to win, but none have an easy game. Hell, the Hokies might actually have the easiest opponent in Southern Illinois, but the Salukis are pretty darn good.

Here A Dave, There A Dave

Calling on in transit
Calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe, radio …
I never knew what that song meant, and I still don’t. Makes no sense to me, but I like it.
Likewise, I can’t explain my recent radio frequency, but I like it. I had a great time on Grant Thompson’s Sports Pulse radio show last week and now I’m slated to do it again. I’ll be on tomorrow (Wednesday) at about 2:30. You can find the broadcast here.
And of course, I’m still slated to to be on CampusFans.com a bit later, at 5. If you miss me at 2:30, maybe you can catch me there.
As you might guess, I’ll be talking about the NCAA Tournament, mostly about the ACC squads.
Update:
Check out this snazzy banner they made me!

I should point out that as the banner implies, you can interact with my appearance or any part of the show. When you listen, it pops up a chat room and you can comment, ask questions, etc. It’s actually pretty cool.

Coach K’s Duke, Then And Now

This is another guest article from William Loeffler. Previously, he took a look at the most important game in ACC basketball history. This time he takes a look at Mike Krzyzewski’s career at Duke.
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A Comparison Between the Duke Teams of pre-1996 and post-1996.
Dave has linked to an Al Featherston article that touches on a sociological aspect of Duke’s success, that not only is overlooked, but that is actually often thought to be the reverse of the truth. Because Duke is such a prestigious school, with an elite student body, many of whom come from well-to-do backgrounds, people assume the same about Duke’s white players and its coach.

Continue reading “Coach K’s Duke, Then And Now”

ACC Video Of The Day

This one comes courtesy of StateFans Nation. They have a piece up about what they call “The worst call in NCAA Tournament history,” when Rick Hartzell whistled Chis Corchianni for a phantom traveling violation. The video they include is pretty damn conclusive – no travel. Not even close. It wasn’t even one of those times where a guy takes long, awkward strides that looks like a travel until you see the replay. No, this one looked legit the first time and everytime thereafter.

Of course, you already know my feelings about Rick Hartzell.

One sidenote about this game is that it marked Jim Valvano’s last NCAA Tournament game. The NCAA placed the Wolfpack on probation for the 1990 and 1991 seasons, barring them from postseason play. Valvano was fired in March of 1990, leading to a decade-long slump for NC State basketball.