April 09, 2008

Hansbrough Racking Up Postseason Awards

Whether Tyler Hansbrough decides to return to North Carolina for his senior season is still uncertain, but for the time being, he's certainly enjoying his slew of postseason awards these days.

But the biggest came on Sunday, when the All-American junior was handed this year's Naismith Trophy by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Hansbrough beat out a great field of ball players, which included Memphis junior Chris Douglas-Roberts, Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley and UCLA freshman Kevin Love, in becoming the 16th player from the ACC to receive the prestigious award.

Continue reading "Hansbrough Racking Up Postseason Awards" »

March 31, 2008

King Leaving Duke After One Season

When Mike Krzyzewski recruited Taylor King last year to come to Duke, Blue Devil fans thought they were getting another McDonald's All-American to go along with a stellar freshmen class that already included Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.

But the 6-foot-6 guard-forward won't be sticking around Durham, N.C., much longer after announcing Monday that he's decided to leave the university.

Continue reading "King Leaving Duke After One Season" »

February 18, 2008

Lawson Still Not Ready Yet

If Roy Williams was hoping to finally get his starting point guard back for Wednesday night's ACC showdown at rival N.C. State, he'll have to wait a little bit longer.

The North Carolina coach told reporters during Monday's weekly ACC media teleconference that Ty Lawson will miss his fifth straight game with a sprained left ankle that he suffered back on Feb. 3 in an overtime win at Florida State.

Continue reading "Lawson Still Not Ready Yet" »

February 11, 2008

Lawson's Return Still Up In The Air

Losing Ty Lawson hasn't been an easy obstacle for No. 5 North Carolina to overcome.

But after losing to dreaded arch-rival Duke last Wednesday in Chapel Hill, the Lawson-less Tar Heels scrapped and clawed their way back against Clemson Sunday to outlast the Tigers, 103-93, in double overtime.

And while North Carolina fans eagerly await Lawson's return from a sprained ankle suffered in an overtime win at Florida State, head coach Roy Williams just wants his players to forget about the injuries and focus on what's to come next.

Continue reading "Lawson's Return Still Up In The Air" »

January 31, 2008

Tigers Will Miss Stitt During Recovery

After watching his team suffer a tough three-point loss to Miami last weekend in Coral Gables, Fla., Oliver Purnell is hoping that his team can get back to its winning ways liked it showed during the first 10 games of the season.

But the Clemson coach won't have his point guard to do it with. In fact, he won't have his freshman floor leader for more than just Saturday's game at Littlejohn Coliseum against Boston College.

After tearing cartilage in his knee during practice Wednesday, Demontez Stitt will now miss at least two weeks in undergoing arthroscopic surgery today.

Continue reading "Tigers Will Miss Stitt During Recovery" »

January 13, 2008

Blue Devils Bully Virginia To Open ACC Slate

DURHAM, N.C. -- If there's anyone who realizes how important ACC openers are, it's DeMarcus Nelson.

After all, with the way Duke finished its non-conference slate at 12-1, the senior guard knew there was no time for his team to have a letdown.

So with Virginia and standout guard Sean Singletary coming into a packed house at Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday night, Nelson made sure to make the most of his opportunity at both ends of the floor, knocking down eight of his 12 shots from the field to lead Duke with a game-high 20 points in a dominating 87-65 victory.

Continue reading "Blue Devils Bully Virginia To Open ACC Slate" »

January 12, 2008

Undefeated Talk Inevitable For Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Roy Williams doesn't want to hear about it.

In fact, he doesn't even want to think about it.

But the North Carolina coach knows that if things continue the way they have so far this season, it's inevitable that talk of an undefeated season will materialize with each win that his team acquires.

So how does Williams and his players deal with that sort of pressure hovering over their heads?

"We don't deal with it at all," he said after No. 1 North Carolina dominated in-state rival N.C. State, 93-62, Saturday at the Dean Dome.

Continue reading "Undefeated Talk Inevitable For Carolina" »

January 08, 2008

Another Blue Devil Goes Down

Mike Krzyzewski knew coming into this season that he wouldn't have a lot of depth when it came to his frontcourt.

But on Monday, the legendary Duke coach found out that his bench got even thinner when sophomore Brian Zoubek suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture in his left foot during practice.

Continue reading "Another Blue Devil Goes Down" »

January 03, 2008

Please, Don't Be So Nice

Well, it looks like I won't be welcomed down on Beale Street at any point this season, but I want to thank all of you for your warm and kind comments the other night. Please keep them coming, as they're keeping me rather nice and toasty on some of these cold and windy nights in the Big Apple.

Of course, don't forget also that I did say at the end of my last entry that I do believe that Memphis will be No. 1 in the polls once North Carolina loses in the next few weeks during ACC play, but please don't consider that when you're thinking of your next heart-warming compliment for me.

But to answer your questions, concerns and lovely insults, of course...

Continue reading "Please, Don't Be So Nice" »

December 23, 2007

Having Some Faith In Haith

No one likes to admit that they're wrong. No one wants to take the blame when are there consequences to suffer.

It's especially true when you're actually getting paid to write about a particular sport that you're supposed to know something about.

Look, we all make mistakes, and anyone who can't admit to that is really fooling themselves. But while making mistakes is just a natural process of life, it's really those who can fess up to their own miscalculations that deserve to be forgiven, or at least, given some credit for admitting to their flaws.

That's what I'm hoping my friend and colleague Mr. Kroll will do after razzing me the last couple of weeks about picking his Miami Hurricanes to finish last in the conference in my ACC Preview before the season started.

Continue reading "Having Some Faith In Haith" »

December 20, 2007

Powerful Pitt Pulls Its Own Weight

NEW YORK -- Jamie Dixon didn't know whether to be happy or sad.

On the one hand, his team had just overcome a 12-point halftime deficit to beat the No. 6 team in the country.

And on the other, the Pittsburgh coach quite possibly saw his senior forward Mike Cook play his final game as a Panther after suffering what looked to be a torn ACL in his left knee.

But in the end, it was junior point guard Levance Fields who came to the rescue for No. 11 Pitt, stunning an unbeaten Duke team with a step-back three-pointer with five seconds remaining in overtime to propel the Panthers to a 65-64 victory in the Aeropostale Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Continue reading "Powerful Pitt Pulls Its Own Weight" »

November 09, 2007

Duke, Stanford Hit Century Mark

While the surprise of Gardner-Webb has got a lot of people anticipating next Thursday's semifinals of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic, Friday marked the start of the season for many teams.

Two teams in particular, No. 13 Duke and No. 23 Stanford, stood out from the rest, as the Blue Devils and Cardinal hit the 100-point mark in both their games.

Continue reading "Duke, Stanford Hit Century Mark" »

October 21, 2007

Feelin' Tar Heel Blue

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- We're wrapping up ACC Media Day here with the coaches and players leaving the Grandover Hotel -- quite a fine hotel I must say -- so I'll bid farewell with a few more notes about today's event.

North Carolina, which figures to be the No. 1 team in the nation when the preseason polls are released in a matter of days, was voted by the media as the preseason favorite to win the ACC. The Tar Heels earned 768 votes, including 65 first-place votes, while Duke followed with 653 votes.

Continue reading "Feelin' Tar Heel Blue" »

Hokies Looking Different

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- One of our friends at CSTV, Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, has done wonders over the course of his five years in Blacksburg.

Last season, though, the Hokies took it to a new level with a competitive run through ACC play, and better yet, a win over Illinois in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

But with the graduation of Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon, this isn't nearly the same Virginia Tech team that we saw a year ago.

"We're different," Greenberg admitted. "You can't lose players that we've lost and be the same. That doesn't mean we'll be bad, that doesn't mean we'll be good. It just means we'll be different."

Continue reading "Hokies Looking Different" »

Bench Decorum Frenzy

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- With off-the-court news often dominating most of the headlines this offseason, you don't always get to talk strictly basketball at media days.

Here at the Grandover Resort, that notion seemed to hold true with the NCAA announcing earlier this month that bench decorum will be looked at much more closely as a point of emphasis during the 2007-08 season.

The rule, which was put in place in order to crack down on coaches frequently running outside of the coaching box, has been a big hit among the media, as each coach was forced to give their thoughts on the ruling on multiple occasions.

Continue reading "Bench Decorum Frenzy" »

Fear These Turtles?

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Losing six seniors in one summer can be a lot to overcome.

For Gary Williams, it's just part of the game.

The Maryland coach seemed to be rather relaxed and calm -- something you don't get to see too often from Williams, especially during a game -- while meeting with the print media this afternoon, and part of that can probably be attributed to the fact that he has two potential all-conference players in senior James Gist and sophomore Greivis Vasquez coming back to College Park.

Continue reading "Fear These Turtles?" »

Blue-Blooded Devils

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After suffering a shocking upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to VCU last season, there was a lot of talk following the 2006-07 campaign about how Duke's run as one of the nation's elite programs had finally come to an end.

But one disappointing season shouldn't change the entire perception of a program, especially not the Blue Devils', and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has certainly learned that better than anyone else in his 33 years of coaching college basketball.

"We have good players," Krzyzewski assured. "I'm not saying we have great players, but we have really good players. And if we can keep them all healthy and get them to feel comfortable with our system, we have a chance to be a very good team."

Continue reading "Blue-Blooded Devils" »

Remembering Skip

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- With the passing of former Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser this past summer, much of the talk among the media and coaches turned to the legacy that the 56-year-old left on the game over his 14 years.

Dino Gaudio, Prosser's former assistant who has taken over the head job in Winston-Salem, was surrounded by reporters for much the day in hopes of hearing his thoughts on his mentor, but other coaches around the league had their own memories to share, including Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.

Continue reading "Remembering Skip" »

Players Talk Parity

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Select players from each conference school are meeting with the media before we get a crack at the coaches in a few minutes, and while the North Carolina table featuring Tyler Hansbrough and Marcus Ginyard seemed to be the popular choice, there's been plenty of talk about parity throughout the ACC.

And after last season saw seven ACC teams earn bids to the NCAA Tournament, there's reason to believe it could happen again with the veterans returning and the young talent coming in across the league.

Continue reading "Players Talk Parity" »

ACC Media Day Kicks Off

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- ACC Media Day has started here at the Grandover Resort, and ACC Commissioner John Swofford just finished meeting with the media.

Swofford touched on several different points during his introductory speech, including the NCAA's new bench decorum rules and this year's conference television schedule.

Here are some brief notes about the conference:

Continue reading "ACC Media Day Kicks Off" »

October 12, 2007

And We're Done...

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- With five minutes left in the scrimmage, former Tar Heel Melvin Scott rolled in, taking a seat on the bench. He looks like he's bulked up quite a bit since his playing days (which would be 2005). By that time, much of the original crowd was on its way out (Nice reverse traffic-beating, Melvin!). In the end, the Blue team -- which led the whole game -- blew their lead and the game ended in a 37-37 tie, and that does it for Late Night With Roy.

Only Tyler Hansbrough...

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Would stare down the referee in an intrasquad scrimmage because he thinks he got fouled (he might have). Still, they don't call him Psycho T for nothing. In case you're wondering, it's the Blue leading, 16-13, and Danny Green has eight of those 16.

Game On

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Late Night With Roy festivities here at the Dean Dome finished up with a 20-minute scrimmage between the Tar Heels (split up into a Blue team and a White team), the first glimpse the fans got of this year's team in action.

Continue reading "Game On" »

The Last Dance

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Always a fan favorite is the last dance before practice starts because each player gets to freestyle inside the circle of other players, and then comes the real treat.

Continue reading "The Last Dance" »

"Coke" Fiend

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Bar none the highlight of the night so far is a video spoofing Roy Williams' Coca-Cola commercial, starring Bobby Frasor as Williams...

Continue reading ""Coke" Fiend" »

Get Ready

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Now the Tar Heels are dancing in groups class-by-class (though redshirt freshman William Graves) got to go with the sophomores. Did somebody say sequins?

Continue reading "Get Ready" »

Eye Bleach, Please

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- As the Wayne's World fantasy skit continues, Quentin Thomas and Alex Stepheson went the Talladega Nights route, dressed up in full Wonder Bread-sponsored racing suits.

And they weren't done yet.

Continue reading "Eye Bleach, Please" »

West, West, Y'all

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- It's time for the first dance number from the men's team and they went with a track off the new Kanye West album. The players and the dance team are cutting a rug, er, hardwood floor, much to the delight of the crowd.

Continue reading "West, West, Y'all" »

Here Come The Tar Heels

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- It's finally time for the Tar Heels to be introduced, and it's quite a production. The players are announced one at a time and each one runs through the stands from the concourse level down to the court.

Continue reading "Here Come The Tar Heels" »


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Roy Williams' assistant coaches pulled a neat little trick on him on the way out to the bench. Stuart Scott was mid-sentence when Roy appeared from the tunnel.

Continue reading "Gotcha!" »

The Biscuit Man Cometh

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- While the UNC women were scrimmaging, perhaps the biggest media reaction came from the appearance of former UNC men's walk-on Dewey "Biscuits" Burke at the Dean Dome.

Continue reading "The Biscuit Man Cometh" »

The Day The Music Died

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Apparently, there are some problems with the musical selections the women's team selected. The music suddenly stopped during a skit, forcing the ladies on the floor to stand there awkwardly.

Continue reading "The Day The Music Died" »

Are You Smarter Than...

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Now the women's team is doing a spoof of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" with the "fifth graders" portrayed by team members pretending to be from other ACC schools. You can see where this is going...

Continue reading "Are You Smarter Than..." »


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The emcee for the evening, ESPN Sportscenter anchor Stuart Scott, has taken the floor at the Dean Dome. And in firing up the crowd about tomorrow's UNC vs. South Carolina football game, he has already dropped his first conversational "dawg" of the evening.

Continue reading "Booyah!" »

Carolina Tidal Wave

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The doors to the Smith Center opened a minute ago, and all the waiting fans came flooding down the arena steps -- seating is first-come, first-served -- sort of like the blood pouring out of the elevator in The Shining.

Continue reading "Carolina Tidal Wave" »

September 12, 2007

Wolfpack Lose Fab Frosh

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe got some devastasting news Tuesday when he heard that freshman Johnny Thomas will not suit up for the Wolpack this season.

The 6-foot-5 swingman underwent diagnostic arthroscopic surgery last week and still plans to have an additional surgery in the next few months to repair a knee injury that he recently suffered.

Continue reading "Wolfpack Lose Fab Frosh" »

September 04, 2007

Skinner's Flying On

When Boston College first made its lofty move from the Big East to the ACC, one of the biggest questions standing in the way was how the Eagles would fair in what many consider to be the country's toughest and most talented basketball conference.

But after spending the last two seasons against the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Georgia Tech, Al Skinner won't be flapping his wings away from Chestnut Hill anytime soon.

After all, the Boston College coach agreed to a contract extension Tuesday that will keep him with the Eagles all the way through the 2012-13 season.

Continue reading "Skinner's Flying On" »

August 22, 2007

Vasquez In Vegas

One of the reasons Maryland won its last seven regular season games in 2006, including back-to-back over North Carolina and Duke, and garnered a No. 4 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament was due to the maturity that Greivis Vasquez showed as just a freshman. Last season in 34 games, the 6-foot-5 Venezuelan averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds while leading the Terrapins in assists at 4.6 per contest -- good for sixth-best in the ACC.

Continue reading "Vasquez In Vegas" »

July 27, 2007

Tributes To Skip From All Corners

We probably shouldn't be encouraging libation of adult beverages on such a kid-friendly site, but there are exceptions to every rule. In memory and tribute to college basketball's own Skip Prosser, Hang Time would like to ask that the entire community raise a toast to Skip this weekend, preferably with a properly-poured Guinness. We'll be hoisting ours on Saturday night in the 10 p.m. hour.

Continue reading "Tributes To Skip From All Corners" »

July 26, 2007

Remembering Skip

I had decided it long ago and I'm pretty sure there were more than a few of my usually cynical media counterparts who agreed with my thinking.

If and when I was fortunate enough to have a son; and if and when that young lad was talented enough to play major Division I college basketball; and if there's a place for him - that young man would be strongly encouraged to play the game for George Edward "Skip" Prosser or a man of his make-up.

Continue reading "Remembering Skip" »

March 11, 2007

ACC: Atlantic Coast Champs

Technical difficulties conspired to sabotage the ACC subdivision of Hang Time on Sunday afternoon -- but your faithful narrator was still able to catch all the action from the St. Pete Times Forum while speaking (for the entire second half) with the surprisingly helpful if maddeningly deliberate Sony Vaio Tech Support people on my cell phone.

Perhaps not enough North Carolina State fans made travel plans for Tampa as the team struggled through its five-win campaign during the conference season because the Forum was Dean Dome South today. Each Carolina basket induced deafening cheers from all around, drowning out the small but spirited Wolfpack section tucked behind the basket near the North Carolina band.

Despite having played three games in three days to reach the championship round, the 'Pack were game early. The lead changed hands 12 times during the first half before the Heels used an end-of-half spurt to stake a 42-34 edge at the break.

Subbing as many as five players as a time, the Heels appeared to wear down their undermanned opponents during the second half as the lead ballooned to 16 points. But Brandon Costner, Gavin Grant and Courtney Fells headlined an electric 29-14 run that pulled N.C. State within a single point at 70-69 -- before the rested and collected Heels finished off the underdogs in the endgame.

Carolina's lights-out foul shooting -- the Heels were 23-of-24 (95.8 percent) from the stripe -- limited the drama in this one. And their de facto home crowd was no doubt a help to a team that won its first ACC title since 1998.

ACC: Title Game Notes

You can take the ACC tourney out of Carolina but you can't take Carolina out of the ACC tourney. Teams from the state of North Carolina have met 29 times in 54 years for the ACC championship. Such matchups occurred 13 times in the league's first 16 years of existence, and 12 times in the 20 years since UNC and N.C. State met in the 1987 final.

Here are some more newsy notes as the title game between top-seeded North Carolina and No. 10-seeded N.C. State draws near:

  • The Tar Heels and Wolfpack have met five previous times in the finals. UNC holds a 3-2 edge, winning in 1968 as the top seed, in 1975 as the second seed and in 1997 as the third seed. N.C. State won in 1959 as the No. 1 seed and in 1987 as the sixth seed.

  • North Carolina most recently won an ACC tournament in 1997. N.C. State last won in 1987.

  • Since N.C. State upset UNC to win the 1987 tourney title under coach Jim Valvano, the 'Pack have played for the title three times without a win (1997, 2002 and 2003) while the Tar Heels have competed for the title 11 times (collecting chips in 1989, 1991, 1994, 1997 and 1998).

  • This will be the first ACC tournament title game in which the coaches are both alumni of the schools they direct. Sidney Lowe played at N.C. State from 1980-83, and Roy Williams attended North Carolina and played on the junior varsity before graduating in 1972.

  • Sindey Lowe could become the third coach to win the ACC tournament in his first year as a head coach. Duke's Vic Bubas (an N.C. State alumnus) won in 1960, and North Carolina's Bill Guthridge won in 1998.

  • ACC tournament finals have not been kind to the top seed since 1980, when Georgia Tech joined the league. During that span, No. 1 has reached the championship game 17 times and posted an 8-9 mark. North Carolina has done notably poorly under such circumstances -- the Heels are 1-4 playing for the title as the top seed, losing in 1987, 1988, 1993 and 2001. Their sole victory as the top seed came in 1982, when they won both the ACC and NCAA titles. (Duke won the tournament last year as a No. 1 seed.)

  • UNC and N.C. State have met four times previously in the ACC tournament at venues outside of the state of North Carolina. They played twice in Atlanta (in 1983 and 1985). The Wolfpack won in '83 on their way to the title while the Heels exacted revenge in '85. The schools also played twice in Landover, Md., in 1981 and 1987.

  • N.C. State has appered in three of the last six finals -- 2002, 2003 and 2007. During that span UNC did not reach the finals. The Wolfpack lost to Duke in '02 and '03.

  • North Carolina is appearing in the title game for the 28th time in 54 tournaments -- but the school's first championship round appearance since 2001. The Heels are 15-12 in title games. Their five-year absence from the title game has been the school's longest since 1960-66.

  • UNC point guard Ty Lawson has more assists than turnovers in 11 consecutive games. He has 72 assists and 19 turnovers in those 11 games (and 16 assists against three turnovers in the two ACC tourney games). His assist-to-turnover ratio is 3.7-to-1 during that span.

March 10, 2007

ACC: Potent Quotables

A sampling from this afternoon's post-game pressers:

  • "By this time of year you should have been exposed to everything and you're not nearly as freshman-like as you were at the start of the year. We've played 33 games so they are experienced and kids these days are more worldly than they were 15 or 20 years ago. Most of the time -- even yesterday in their first ACC tournament game -- our first-, second-, and third-leading scorers were freshmen and today we had that same kind of scenario where all three guys in double-figures were freshmen." --North Carolina coach Roy Williams on his younger players stepping up

  • "We have team goals and intensity is a big thing. We always talk about it as a team. We haven't won an ACC tournament championship in a while and the guys on the team really want that." --UNC freshman Brandan Wright on the team's intensity at the beginning of the game

  • "I wouldn't say [that fatigue was a factor]. I would say that we just missed shots. I had good looks. I don't think fatigue has anything to do with missing lay-ups." --Boston College senior Jared Dudley on the impact of playing an extra period in his team's quarterfinal victory

  • "There are not many guys in the country his size that can run as well as [Brandan Wright] does. He's got good hands -- he catches the ball well in transition which is unique for a lot of big players. That's really what makes them go, because when he runs down the middle of the floor you have to be a little bit concerned about that -- it allows the wings to get open." --BC coach Al Skinner on Wright

  • "[A win on Sunday] would mean a great deal not just to N.C. State but to the fans and family. I think today is Coach Valvano's birthday so that's special. With the way we're doing it right now, it's very similar to what our fans saw in 1983. It wuld just be an outstanding accomplishment for this ballclub. As Gavin [Grant] said, we played 12 games without our starting point guard and, really, our only true point guard. These young men, they stayed in there, they hung in there and never complained. I told them keep fighting, keep staying together and good things will happen. I had no idea that we'd be playing in the ACC championship game but I told them every game here that special things happen in this tournament every year. Whether it's a player who emerges and becomes a great star or it's a team that does something special -- and I told them, 'Why not be that team?'" --North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe on being a part of N.C. State's ACC tournament legacy

  • "An area that we really concentrated on and that we've improved on more than any other area this seasn is free throws. In league [play], I think we were over 70 percent and to not be able to step up to the line and make a free throw is a turnover. Obviously it set us back a tad." --Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg on the impact of his teams poor foul shooting

ACC: A Cautionary Tale

Field goals: Virginia Tech 26, N.C. State 21
Turnovers: N.C. State 17, Virginia Tech 10
Rebounds: Virginia Tech 33, N.C. State 28
Offensive Rebounds: Virginia Tech 12, N.C. State 0

So how do the Wolfpack end up winning this game, leading for more than 39 of 40 minutes?

Free Throws: N.C. State: 24-of-28 (85.7 percent), Virginia Tech 8-of-19 (42.1 percent)

ACC: Tampa Bay 'Pack-ers

It took an entire Atlantic Coast Conference season for No. 10-seeded North Carolina State to notch five victories. It's taken the first three days of the ACC tournament for first-year coach Sidney Lowe's Wolfpack to get three more.

With today's 72-64 victory over the third-seeded Hokies, North Carolina State has returned to the tournament finals for the first time since 2002. Though the Wolfpack rank third in the conference all-time with 10 tournament titles, State not gotten a chip since 1987.

Lowe is looking to repeat history with this team's unlikely run toward the ACC crown. As a player, the stocky guard led the fourth-seeded 'Pack to a suprise tourney title in 1983 (just weeks before an even-more-improbable national championship victory over Houston). As a coach, Lowe looks to match predecessor Herb Sendek's accomplishment of winning three ACC tourney games in his first season at the helm (which the current Arizona State mentor achieved in 1997). That team, which employed a six-man rotation like this year's 'Pack, remains the only team that has played four games in a single ACC tournament. Until this year's.

More to come from the post-game pressers.

ACC: Closing The Door

Tech's Coleman Collins just went to the line for a one-and-one after getting a questionable call in his favor -- but missed the front end. On the other end, State's Gavin Grant got fouled and put down both fouls to open the Wolfpack's advantage to 58-50.

The Hokies responded with a Collins put-back at the 2:20 mark but Sidney Lowe's charges have possession and a six-point lead: a trip to the ACC tournament championship game is their's to lose.

ACC: Hokies Pull Even Again

A.D. Vassallo just canned a three-pointer near the corner to tie the score at 48 apiece heading into the eight-minute TV timeout.

Since State went ahead 46-39 on a pair of Dennis Horner free throws, Tech has made a 9-2 run to climb out of the hole for the second time since halftime. Can they break through and take the lead?

ACC: 'Pack Pulling Away

The game isn't over just yet but the 'Pack's most recent run -- an 8-2 spurt -- could be the coup de grace.

With 3:26 remaining in regulation, N.C. State holds a 56-50 lead over the Hokies.

ACC: Hokies Knocking

Virginia Tech's Lewis Witcher deposited a lay-up at the 14:55 mark which knotted the score at 35-35 -- pulling the Hokies out of the hole for the first time in an entire half. But Bryan Nieman's three-pointer put State back ahead and the 'Pack has taken a 40-38 lead into the 12-minute TV timeout (after leading by as many as 11 points during the first half).

Meanwhile, the Virginia Tech pep band is playing the "Hokie Pokey" while the cheerleaders are doing the dance at center court -- drawing a crescendo of boos and cat-calls that is drawing a reaction from the dancers as the song ends. Indeed, Tobacco Road xenophobia is infectious.

ACC: Hokies Strike Back

N.C. State took the lead at 7-6 with a Ben McCauley bucket and used a crowd-pleasing 18-6 run to split open the action. But the Hokies countered with a 9-2 run of their own -- with baskets from Nigel Munson, A.D. Vassallo, Jamon Gordon and Cheick Diakite -- to pull within four points of the lead at the four-minute TV timeout.

ACC: Second Semi Tight Early

Through four minutes we've seen three early lead changes as the Hokies and Wolfpack feel one another out. A.D. Vassallo has put down a 16-foot jumper and a lay-in for Tech, while fantastic frosh Brandon Costner is pacing the 'Pack with his three points -- including a pretty bank shot off the high glass.

ACC: Carolina Is Through

The Tar Heels are through to Sunday afternoon's championship game with today's 71-56 victory over Boston College. Carolina will face the winner of Saturday's second semifinal between third-seeded Virginia Tech and No. 10-seeded North Carolina State, who have just taken the floor for warm-ups. Tip in 15 minutes.

ACC: Too Little, Too Late?

Marshall and Dudley put down three-pointers on consecutive possessions before the four-minute TV timeout to pull their within 67-54. But Ty Lawson's steal and lay-up took the wind out of Boston College's sails.

The St. Pete Times Forum is sensing a victory -- and Carolina's first appearance in the ACC tournament championship game since meeting Duke for the title in 2001.

ACC: High Heels

The Eagles have shown signs of life with a 14-2 run that sliced the deficit to 50-41. But the Tar Heels have responded with a 9-3 spurt of their own -- capped by a Wayne Ellington three-pointer from the baseline -- to open their lead back up to a comfortable 62-44 going into the eight-minute media timeout.

Brandan Wright has 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting and four boards.

ACC: Carolina Cruisin'

The second half started just like the first: with a Brandan Wright basket from close range. This one was a breakaway dunk that jump-started the momentum that the Heels carried throughout the first half. (Wouldn't that dude look great in a Sixers uniform?)

Hansbrough and Danny Green have also gotten into the mix as Carolina has outscored Boston College, 12-9, to widen its advantage to 50-31. Only Jared Dudley, whose three second-half field goals have accounted for seven of his team's nine points, is keeping the Eagles afloat.

ACC: Three Halftime Numbers

Three numbers that pop out from the halftime box:

  • Boston College has been icicles from the floor during the first half, connecting on just 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) of their attempts from the floor.

  • North Carolina has dominated the glass in staking a 24-14 advantage on the boards.

  • The Heels have tripled up the Eagles on points in the paint, 18-6.

ACC: Eagles Lurking

Boston College is doing just enough to prevent this game from being a blowout. But not much more than that.

Tyler Hansbrough, wearing a protective mask for his non-displaced nasal fracture suffered Mar. 4 against Duke, just cracked the scoring book with a three-point play that put the Heels ahead 16 points at 30-14. But the Eagles scored four straight to narrow the gap as play broke for the last media time-out of the half.

The Eagles look more lazy than overmatched.

ACC: Heels Running Out

The Heels have sprinted out to a 19-9 lead at the 12-minute media timeout thanks to baskets from Brandan Wright (two), Reyshawn Terry, Wayne Ellington (two), Danny Green, Bobby Frasor and Marcus Ginyard. Boston College can't seem to hold on to the ball -- perhaps the hostile Carolina crowd is contributing to the early jitters?

ACC: Semifinal Saturday

As top-seeded North Carolina and fourth-seeded Boston College run through their lay-up lines -- before a decidedly pro-UNC crowd -- here are a few notes about today's action:

  • There have already been three 30-point scorers in this year's tournament, including two participants in today's semis: Boston College's Tyrese Rice poured in a career-high 32 points in yesterday's come-from-behind win over Miami and North Carolina State's Brandon Costner tallied 30 in his team's first-round victory against Duke. Georgia Tech's Thaddeus Young also scored 30 in his side's first-round loss to Wake Forest.

  • Costner, a redshirt freshman, has 52 points in two games -- and has an opportunity to catch the program's all-time leader for points in a single ACC tournament: David Thompson, who had 84 points in three games in 1975.

  • Boston College is bidding to return to the ACC tournament finals in its second season of membership. No other expansion team reached the finals in its first year. Virginia Tech seeks its first berth in the finals in its third ACC season.

  • N.C. State is third with 10 ACC tournaments won but has not been champion since 1987. The Wolfpack last appeared in the finals in 2003, when as a No. 4 seed it lost to Duke.

  • North Carolina has 15 titles, one fewer than Duke. The school's last championship came in 1998. UNC last appeared in the finals in 2001, when as the top seed it was defeated by Duke.

ACC: Potent Quotables

Some more notes from tonight's twinbill to come but in the meantime, here's a sampling from the post-game pressers:

  • "In the first half we were letting them dictate what we were doing on offense and we weren't being really aggressive with our cuts and our screens. In the second half we came out and took what we wanted instead of taking what they gave us." --North Carolina State's Brandon Costner on his team's offensive adjustments in the second half

  • "We came here to win the tournament, we didn't come because we had to be in the tournament. We beat Carolina this year, we beat Virginia Tech twice, and those are two teams that were at the top of the league. I thought throughout the year we were immature at times and that's why we lost a couple of games we shouldn't have lost. But guys like Brandon [Costner] and Ben [McCauley] and Courtney [Fells] are really maturing in front of our eyes and that's why we were able to win a lot of games." --State's Gavin Grant on team morale through Coach Lowe

  • "All you have to do is look around at games that are going on now and will be going on next week. As we've been talking about for two days, this game today, games yesterday and the day before, tomorrow -- whenever -- are not games that are played on paper. They're not played with records. They're played with competitiveness. If you don't compete, I can guarantee you the other team is going to figure that out and they're going to compete. We stopped competing, they kept competing and they never gave up down 14. As a result, they put it to us." --Virginia coach Dave Leitao on his team's lack of energy

  • "They just did things better. Fatigue was not a factor." --Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser on Virginia Tech's taking control in the second half. (The Demon Deacons had played a double-overtime game that ended in the wee hours of Friday morning.)

  • "I hope it's not. When I was sitting on the bench thinking that this could be the last time I wear the uniform, it's ... I don't know ... I hope it's not. It's out of our hands now." --Wake Forest senior Kyle Visser on Friday's game potentially being his last

March 09, 2007

ACC: Final Buzzer

Virginia Tech 71, Wake Forest 52. More to come from the press conferences.

ACC: Tech-nical Knockout

Virginia Tech leads 68-47 with 2:33 remaining in regulation.

Chase McFarland just replaced Kyle Visser in the lineup -- the symbolic white flag. Visser leaves to a standing ovation from the couple thousand fans still in the building.

ACC: Tech-nical Knockout

Virginia Tech leads 68-47 with 2:33 remaining in regulation.

Chase McFarland just replaced Kyle Visser in the lineup -- the symbolic white flag. Visser leaves to a standing ovation from the couple thousand (hundred?) fans still in the building.

ACC: "Step Up Right Now"

As Wake Forest's lone scholarship senior, Kyle Visser has every intention on finishing his collegiate career in the NCAA tournament. So when Virginia Tech strung together three quick baskets to open a 57-42 advantage and Wake coach Skip Prosser called a timeout, Visser was the one walking up and down the bench urging his teammates to, "Step up! Step up right now!"

But with the momentum Virginia Tech has been building over the past five minutes, that could prove easier said than done.

ACC: Washington Again

Washington just threw down an even more ferocious one-handed transition dunk off a Wake Forest turnover that gives Virginia Tech its largest lead of the game at 53-42 with under 11 minutes remaining.

ACC: Hokes Hold Ten

Deron Washington was held scoreless during the first half, handcuffed to the bench with two quick fouls. But the 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward has scored five quick points during a 7-0 run -- including a rim-rocking, timeout-prompring dunk in transition -- to help the Hokies open a 47-37 advantage with 14:30 remaining in regulation.

Wake may be starting to crack.

ACC: Wake Hanging Around

Virginia Tech hasn't trailed since 2-0 but the Hokies haven't led by more than 10 points either. Even though Seth Greenberg's group appears to be in control of the game, Wake Forest continues to linger within striking distance. At the first TV timeout of the second half, Tech holds a 43-37 lead over the Demon Deacons.

ACC: Wake Hanging Around

Virginia Tech hasn't trailed since 2-0 but the Hokies haven't led by more than 10 points either. Even though Seth Greenberg's group appears to be in control of the game, Wake Forest continues to linger within striking distance. At the first TV timeout of the second half, Tech holds a 43-37 lead over the Demon Deacons.

ACC: Hokies Ahead

Virginia Tech's Zabian Dowdell has eight of his team's 29 points as the Hokies have staked a 29-23 lead at the last TV timeout of the first half. The St. Pete Times Forum still has a very healthy amount of people -- but the somewhat tepid flow of action has the crowd sitting on its hands a little bit.

ACC: State Is Through

Tenth-seeded North Carolina State is through to the semifinals with 79-71 victory over second-seeded Virginia and will meet the winner of tonight's Virginia Tech-Wake Forest quarterfinal. The forward tandem of Gavin Grant and Brandon Costner combined for 42 points on 13-of-24 shooting in the winning effort.

The No. 3-seeded Hokies and No. 11-seeded Demon Deacons are a few minutes from the tip. Will the Demon Deacons still have any gas in the tank after last night's record-setting marathon?

ACC: 'Pack It Up, 'Pack It In

As State puts the finishing touches on its come-from-behind victory -- Gavin Grant's two free throws just opened a 75-66 lead with 31 seconds remaining -- the guy blogging for ACC Nation seated to my left (who outed himself as a Virginia fan with the second table slam a few minutes ago) looks like he wants to run towards the nearest living thing and kill it.

ACC: State Of Berserk

Maybe the eight-minute TV timeout can cool North Carolina State's shooters because Virginia's defense sure can't.

The Wolfpack have used a 19-2 run -- punctuated by Brandon Costner's trifecta from the top of the key just moments ago -- to swing a nine-point deficit into their biggest lead of the game at 60-52. State's shooters are throwing rocks in the ocean at this point.

ACC: 'Pack Pushing

An 8-2 run capped by a Bryan Nieman three-pointer has brought the 'Pack within one possession of the lead. Meanwhile, the St. Pete Forum appears to be as full as it's been during the event so far.

Dave Leitao's plea as overheard in the Virginia huddle: "What's so [expletive] hard about running a side screen?"

ACC: Running Like The Wolves

Whatever Sidney Lowe told his charges at the break has worked. The 'Pack have stormed out of the locker room with an 13-3 run that has cut their deficit to 43-39 at the 16:40 mark.

ACC: Four-Play

Sean Singletary just converted a three-pointer while getting fouled, putting down the free throw for a four-point play. The Virginia lead continues to balloon -- it's 36-22 with 3:11 remaining in the half.

ACC: Sidney's Fashion Statement

During the four-minute TV timeout (Virginia is ahead, 32-22), I pulled an AP photo of N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe from last night's Duke victory. The former Wolfpack cager is wearing the same sportcoat tonight.

ACC: Cavs Running Ahead

Since taking their first and only lead of the game (at 19-18) on an Engin Atsur three-pointer, the Cavaliers have run off 11 unanswered points to take a 27-19 advantage.

ACC: Virginia

Cain baseline jumper. Singletary from 18 feet. Cain dunk. Singletary transition lay-up.

Virginia 8, N.C. State 0 less than two-and-a-half minutes in.

Sidney Lowe, a vision in that candy apple red sportcoat, wants a twenty.

ACC: Game Seven

The seventh game of the tournament between third-seeded Virginia and No. 10-seeded North Carolina State is moments from getting underway. Looking forward to seeing Cavaliers floor general Sean Singletary in the flesh for the first time since kid torched my high school (Chestnut Hill Academy in Northwest Philly) for something like 35 in an Inter-Ac game a couple years back.

ACC: Potent Quotables

Food for thought: Through six of the 11 games of this year's ACC tournament, there have been three overtime games played. No ACC tourney has ever had four.

Here are some highlights from the afternoon session's post-game pressers:

  • "I haven't won an ACC tournament championship since I came back and I'd love to do that myself. Everybody always acts like I pooh-pooh the ACC tournament because there's that thought process that you play people for nine weeks, why do you have to play them all again in three days? But it is what it is and since we're here I want to win this sucker. There's no question in my mind I'd like to win it. I'd like the world's largest cocktail party, for the Carolina Blue people to have more bragging rights than anybody else." --North Carolina coach Roy Williams on the importance of winning the ACC tournament

  • When you look at our strength of schedule, there aren't many teams in the country that have played more Top 40 teams than we have. So last year, we were 9-7 in the league and won 19 games overall, and I'm assuming the reason we didn't get in was strength of schedule. I don't know if there are very many teams that have played the type of schedule that we've played, so obviously we've corrected that. We haven't lost to anybody out of the Top 40 or 50 in RPI. We have been successful against at least four or five teams ranked in the Top 25 in the country. I think we play in what is the best league in the country. We were four out of five, or five out of six until Toney [Douglas] got hurt. Obviously we played our best basketball and we lost a very integral part of our system. It was very difficult for us to overcome that. But even with that, of those four or five games that we lost, a couple of them were on last possessions and two or three points here or there. ... You asked me to state my case. I hope you don't feel like I'm trying to make excuses for what we are, but I think that we ran into some adversity. I think the statistics prove from a numbers standpoint that we're a pretty good basketball team. We have met most of the criteria as I see it and as I understand it, and that justifies us having an opportunity to play." --Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton on his team's NCAA tournament prospects

  • "They have some long defenders and they made it tough on me. I really just didn't get into an offensive rhythm. I had some great looks and the ball just wasn't going in for me." --FSU's Al Thornton on the difference between his performance in Chapel Hill and today

  • "I'm really proud of these guys and we've gone through so much in terms of losing guys through suspensions, through injuries and this ballclub has found a way -- even in the last month of the season, we've really been playing well. We haven't always won, but we've started to play better. I think if you look at our ballclub, we have a lot of young talent -- a lot of freshmen and sophomores. I've got to believe if we continue to build on what we did in this tournament and in the last month of the season, we could have a special team." --Miami coach Frank Haith on his team's performance in the tournament

ACC: Reversal Of Fortune

With Miami trailing 72-71 with possession, Jack McClinton drove the baseline and put up a scoop shot that didn't just miss the rim and glass -- but appeared aimed at the wrong side of the backboard altogether. (A shot so ugly that my friend Billy "just threw up in his mouth" according to his instant message.)

After a pair of Boston College free throws, Miami's last-ditch attempt falls awry and the Chestnut Hillers escape with a 74-71 victory -- and a date with top-seeded North Carolina in Saturday's semifinals.

ACC: Overtime

With one possession and a shot to win the game, Miami ran an isolation play for Anthony Harris whose initial driving lay-up missed off the high glass. The 'Canes couldn't muster a decent put-back attempt and we're headed to an extra frame -- our third overtime game in six ACC tournament contests so far.

ACC: Eagles Come Alive

After trailing 62-54 at the four-minute mark, Boston College put down six unanswered points to close the Miami lead to 62-60 and get the crowd abuzz. A Jimmy Graham dunk doubled the Miami advantage to four -- but John Oates made the second of two free throws, Boston College got a defensive stop and Tyrese Rice canned a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the score at 64 apiece.

Miami ball with 27.7 seconds remaining.

ACC: Endgame

Can No. 12-seeded Miami close the deal and advance to the ACC semifinals?

At the final TV timeout, the Hurricanes hold a 62-54 lead and have possession.

ACC: 'Canes Maintaining Advantage

Every time Boston College has made a push to crack Miami's lead, the Hurricanes have responded. When Jared Dudley knocked down a pair of fouls to pull the Eagles within single digits at 50-42 with 11:31 remaining in regulation, Jack McClinton answered with a three-pointer. When Tyler Roche canned a three on the ensuing possession, Anthony Harris answered with another trifecta for Miami to make the score 56-45.

The eight-minute TV timeout just broke for play and Tyrelle Blair sank a pair of free throws to pull Boston College within eight points. Will Miami answer back again?

ACC: Three Halftime Numbers

No. 12-seeded Miami holds a 38-28 lead over fourth-seeded Boston College at the break. Here are three numbers that jump out from the halftime box:

  • The 'Canes are lights out from the field, having connected on 15-for-24 (62.5 percent) of their attempts from the floor. With turnovers, rebounding and free throws pretty even, Miami's hot shooting has been the difference in the game.

  • Sophomore Tyrese Rice has carried Boston College, scoring 16 of his team's 28 points (on 6-for-8 shooting).

  • It hasn't exactly been a clinic for team basketball on either side: Five total assists on 26 combined field goals.

ACC: 'Canes Hanging Tough

Since Jimmy Graham drained a jumper at the 10:37 mark to give Miami a 13-11 lead, the Hurricanes have maintained a moderate but steady lead that has never cracked double digits.

Graham, the red-haired sophomore just threw down a monster two-handed dunk to open a 33-24 lead -- but got whistled for a technical foul for slapping the backboard. A pair of Boston College free throws narrowed the advantage to 33-26.

ACC: Game, Set, Match

Quentin Thomas just lofted an alley-oop pass that Brandan Wright received in traffic and gently directed into the goal to the delight of the vocal Carolina fan section. The lead extended a 7-0 run that opened the top seed's suddenly-insurmountable lead to 59-40 at the eight-minute mark -- prompting Leonard Hamilton to call a 20-second timeout as Florida State's pep band plays a never-more-appropriate rendition of Pat Benetar's "I Need A Hero."

ACC: Finishing Strong

Carolina closed the first half with six unanswered points -- including four in the last six seconds -- to open a four-point lead into a double-digit advantage. And Leonard Hamilton is irate.

After Wayne Ellington drained a jumper with 6.0 seconds remaining, Ty Lawson swiped the ball from FSU's Jerel Allen. Lawson's lay-up attempt missed the target but Deon Thompson was there for the put-back as the buzzer sounded. I'm sure you could hear Hamilton screaming from the nosebleed seats because the lower level heard the coach as clear as day. (The display earned the coach a technical foul that will be shot at the beginning of the second half.)

Three numbers that jump out from the halftime box:

  • This should probably be a lot worse for Florida State. Carolina is 6-for-14 (42.9 percent) from the line while FSU is a perfect 8-for-8.

  • FSU has just two assists on their eight field goals. They're not going to beat the tournament's top seed playing as individuals.

  • Roy Williams has a reputation for employing an extended player rotation and today is no exception as 12 of his guys have seen action so far. In an effort to match Carolina's fresh legs, Hamilton has used 10 of his players.

ACC: 'Noles Clawing

Just when it appeared the Heels were poised to break this thing open, Al Thornton coolly canned a three-pointer from the top of the key to close the Carolina margin to 30-22.

The 'Noles have connected on just 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) of their attempts from the floor -- perhaps a reason for optimism considering they remain withing striking distance -- but Carolina's energetic perimeter defense has a lot to do with that.

ACC: Yesterday And Today In Tampa

At the eight-minute media timeout, top-seeded and eighth-ranked North Carolina is holding a 21-17 lead over Florida State but the Seminoles are hanging tough thanks to All-American candidate Al Thornton. Some notes from last night's action:

  • This is the first time in ACC tournament history that the first four games -- or even the first three games -- were won by the lower-seeded teams. The lower seed won two of the first three games in 1973, 1977 and 1978 when the conference was a seven-team league and also in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2005.

  • Last night's Wake Forest-Georgia Tech marathon established a new tournament record with 226 combined points, trumping the existing mark (217) set by Maryland and N.C. State in their 1978 triple-overtime thriller. The 114 points by Wake and 112 points by Georgia Tech became the first- and second- highest totals for a single team in an ACC tournament game. The previous high was 109 (set by Maryland in that '78 game).

  • This is the second time that there were two overtimes in the same round of the ACC tournament. (The first occured during the '87 semifinals.)

  • N.C. State topped Duke for the first time since 1997, when the eighth-seeded 'Pack upended the top-seeded Blue Devils in the quarterfinals. Since then, Duke had advanced to nine consecutive ACC tournament title games (winning seven, including the last two).

ACC: Final-ly!

We have a final from Tampa: Wake Forest 14, Georgia Tech 12.

The game was like the movie Dreamgirls: overlong and a royal mess but ultimately a satisfying experience. The most bizarre basketball contest I've attended all season featured 74 field goals, 11 double-digit scorers, 48 turnovers and 30 missed free throws.

A quick glance through the tournament record book confirms that tonight's nightcap was the highest-scoring game in event history. More to come from the post-game press conference, where Wake coach Skip Prosser just used the word "Herculean" in an awkwardly funny way before quoting Tom Clancy. (Stay tuned, I promise I'll explain.)

Speaking of history, the four underdogs each won their first-round games Wednesday -- an ACC tournament first.

ACC: Scoring Quirk

Well, they did it. Wake Forest and Georgia Tech actually shot the lights out.

To explain: The scoreboard at the St. Pete Times Forum can't handle the triple-digit scores. So the display currently reads: Georgia Tech 4, Wake Forest 4. (Of course, the actual score is 104-104.)

ACC: The Night That Just Won't End

Tonight's nightcap has gone from interesting oddity to just plain insane.

Anthony Morrow just canned a contested three-pointer with 1.7 seconds remaining to tie the score at 99 apiece and force a second overtime period. There are maybe 2,500 people left in the building to see this.

The fans behind me are openly wondering whether they'll be able to wake up in time for the first game Thursday. And by Thursday of course I mean today.

ACC: Working Overtime

Everybody in the house is working overtime. But at this rate, there might not be a couple dozen people in the stands when the final buzzer sounds.

With Georgia Tech trailing 82-80, Javaris Crittenton drove to the goal with nine seconds remaining and scored the bucket while drawing a foul. But the freshman missed the potential go-ahead foul shot and Wake's Ishmael Smith rushed the ball downcourt for his own chance at a game-winner (before coughing up the ball in the paint).

Georgia Tech 82, Wake Forest 82. End of regulation.

March 08, 2007

ACC: Fourth Game Finishing Up

With 5:26 remaining in regulation, I'm starting to feel like Maryland appeared -- and No. 11-seeded Wake Forest has opened its largest lead of the game at 70-62. Should the Demon Deacons hold on, all four first-round underdogs would have earned passage in the quarterfinals.

ACC: Bang On The Drum All Day

After draining a 17-footer and a 20-footer on consecutive possessions, Wake Forest's Michael Drum has just shot the Demon Deacons back into the lead. Those five points turned a three-point deficit into a two-point edge. Wake leads, 60-55.

ACC: Tumbleweeds

Not quite. But more than half of the Forum had emptied by the time the second half got underway (including a healthy chunk of the media contingent). Georgia Tech has maintained a steady single-digit lead throughout the stanza as first-year point guard Javaris Crittenton has continued to impress. His primary beneficiary is fellow frosh Thaddeus Young, who has tallied a game-high 18 points (and counting) on 6-for-10 shooting.

With 11:58 remaining, the Yellow Jackets hold a 54-50 advantage.

ACC: Three Halftime Numbers

Sixth-seeded Georgia Tech holds a 37-33 edge over No. 11-seeded Wake Forest. Three numbers that jump out from the first-half box:

  • The good: Shooting percentages. For both teams. The Demon Deacons connected on 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) of their shots from the floor while the Yellow Jackets made 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) of their attempts.

  • The bad: Wake committed 17 turnovers. Tech wasn't far behind (12).

  • The ugly: Each team made mincemeat its opponents interior defense as indicated by the numbers for points in the paint: Wake scored 20 of 33 inside while Tech scored 26 of 37.

ACC: Every 'Dog Has Its Day

It's been a day for the 'dogs as the higher seed has prevailed in each of the three completed games. Will that trend hold in the Georgia Tech-Wake Forest nightcap?

The Demon Deacons had the lead during the early stages but the Yellow Jackets have staked a 29-23 lead thanks to an equal-opportunity approach that has seen six Tech players combine for the team's 11 field goals.

ACC: Duke Is Dunzo

The third underdog of the day has collected a scalp. Final score: State 85, Duke 80. More to come from the post-game press conferences.

Say what you want about Duke's vulnerability: This one's a surprise.

ACC: Duke Going Down

With DeMarcus Nelson sidelined with five fouls and Duke trailing 80-76, it seemed as if no one wanted to take the shot for Duke with a minute remaining. Josh McRoberts put up an off-target attempt which was collected by Atsur, who was fouled and sank both free throws to open the Pack lead to six points.

Martynas Pocius responded with a three-point play on the other end to close the margin to 82-79. But Duke was forced to foul again and Gavin Grant just made one of two shots to open the lead to four.


N.C. State had two shot to win the game at the end of regulation but couldn't connect and we've gone to overtime. Brandon Costner opens the extra frame with three the hard way: 'Pack 73, Devils 70.

ACC: Big Shot Takers, Big Shot Makers

Some high drama here at the Forum. After Brandon Costner's second free throw gave N.C. State a 67-65 lead with two minutes to go, Martynas Pocius drove to the goal and got fouled while converting a bucket. His made foul shot gave Duke a one-point lead that held up for 20 seconds -- when Engin Atsur drained a three-pointer that ignited the crowd and gave the Wolf Pack a 70-68 lead.

After a timeout, DeMarcus Nelson responded with a gutsy lay-up to knot the score at 70 apiece. State ball with 40 seconds to go.

ACC: Pack Pull Ahead

N.C. State has ripped off a 14-4 run over the past four minutes to turn an eight-point deficit into a sudden 66-64 advantage. Stay tuned.

ACC: As An Aside

Not that this affects either of the two teams playing this moment -- Duke is already in the NCAAs and N.C. State is out (barring a four-wins-in-four-days run through this tournament) -- but Air Force just dropped its first-round game against Wyoming in the Mountain West tourney.

If that loss doesn't put the Falcons on the bubble, they're awful darn close. The reeling flyboys have lost four straight games and six of their last 11 contests including a head-scratching setback against lowly Texas Christian.

ACC: Drama Building

The balanced St. Pete Times Forum crowd is starting to come alive as the lead has changed hands on the last five consecutive scoring possessions. Engin Atsur just canned an off-balance jumper from 20 feet to give the 'Pack a 47-45 edge.

ACC: Three Halftime Numbers

Three numbers that jump out from the first-half box:

  • Brandon Costner's 16 points (on an efficient 7-for-11 shooting) represent more than half of State's total offensive output.

  • Seven of Duke's eight participating players have committed turnovers -- only Lance Thomas (10 minutes) played mistake-free ball.

  • Both teams are enjoying impressive nights from the floor -- Duke is 12-for-24 (50.0 percent) from the floor while State is 13-of-24 (54.2 percent). But while the Wolfpack are outscoring the Blue Devils in the paint, 22-6, the boys from Durham have put down six shots from beyond the arc to State's zero.

ACC: Duke Widening Advantage

The Wolfpack countered Duke's eight unanswered points with a 9-3 run of their own to open a 23-21 edge. Could have been more but N.C. State point guard par excellence Engin Atsur -- who logged time with the Turkish national side at this summer's FIBA Worlds -- missed the front end of a one-and-one.

State's lead would prove short-lived as Duke responded with three longballs in succession -- Martynas Pocius, Josh McRoberts and Pocius again -- to stake its largest lead of the game at 30-23. Play just broke for the last media timeout of the half with 2:34 remaining.

ACC: Potent Quotables

With Duke and North Carolina State about to meet for a Tobacco Road tangle, here are some highlights from this afternoon's post-game pressers:

  • "After going through the experience we went through last year, what I've learned is to worry about the things I can control. As we enjoy this victory for a few moments, we have to go and start preparing to win as many games as we can. I thought we earned the right to go last year but unfortunately my vote didn't count. So what I want to do now is just worry about the things we can control. We need to go and be prepared for a very good North Carolina team." --Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton on the NCAA tournament implications of his team's first-round victory over Clemson

  • "I missed on the first one, I was kind of nervous there. I've never been in that situation before. I was able to shoot the second one very relaxed and I shot it with confidence." --FSU's Al Thornton on his game-winning free throw with 1.5 seconds remaining

  • "You fear [not being invited] and as I said yesterday -- and I don't change my mind about what I think -- we've done enough to be in the NCAA tournament. But you fear that and you want to win as many games as you can. If we would have today and lost tomorrow, that would have been a fear [also] but in my opinion we've done enough to get in." --Clemson coach Oliver Purnell on his team's NCAA tournament prospects

  • "I can't speak of what this does for Florida. I just feel like this was good for our program and what we're trying to do. We've had some tough times this year. I'm really proud of our kids, how we hung in there. McClinton gets four fouls, Harris gets four fouls, we got one point guard and our kids found a way." --Miami coach Frank Haith on both Florida teams advancing in the first session

  • "Shooting jump shots without going inside. That was it. We had no patience whatsoever to attack their basket." --Maryland coach Gary Williams on the effectiveness of Miami's zone defense

  • "We definitely thought we were going to go a lot further. I don't think it was a confidence issue. I think we know how good we are and how well we can play -- we've just got to go out there and do it." --Maryland forward James Gist on a possible lack of confidence in Thursday's first-round loss to Miami

ACC: 'Canes Don't Blow It

All of a sudden the small and relatively subdued Miami fan section mentioned in a previous post is sounding an awful lot louder as Jimmy Graham pops his jersey in jubilation. That's because the 'Canes just pulled off the first major upset of the event, withstanding a furious Maryland rally after the break to make a 14-point halftime lead hold up. Miami advances to meet fourth-seeded Boston College on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the throng of Terrapins that were seated to my rear aren't even waiting to get outside before hawking their ticket booklets.

RealTimeRPI.com calculates that Maryland's RPI has slipped to No. 11 with the loss -- so there's no danger of missing the NCAAs -- but who knows how lofty a seed the Terps could have secured with an extended run in Tampa. (As far as losses go, this is Maryland's worst loss of the season besides ... its loss to Miami on Jan. 10 in College Park.)

In the second season of the 12-team ACC tournament, the No. 12 seed has moved to 2-0 in the first round. Last season, No. 12-seeded Wake Forest rallied to upend fifth-seeded Florida State, 78-66.

ACC: Moment Of Truth

James Gist's tip jam with 23.2 seconds remaining just cut the Miami lead to 63-62.

Gary Williams has called his final timeout.

The Hurricanes will be inbounding from beneath their own goal.

ACC: Gut-Check Time For Terps

Mike Jones just received a pass from James Gist and deposited the ball off the high glass into the goal -- a basket which cut Miami's lead to 61-58. On the ensuing possession, Ekene Ibekwe was whistled for his fifth personal foul in a scrum beneath the basket with 2:01 remaining.

If the last-place Hurricanes hold on for this unlikely victory, Maryland fans will curse Karl Hess, Ray Natili and Mike Eades from their chairbacks to the parking lot all the way back to College Park. (Screamed one such zealot about five feet from my right ear, "Why do you guys hate Maryland? Every time you call one of our games you call against us!") But the Terrapins would have only their own uneven effort to blame -- if Miami holds on.

ACC: Maryland Comes Alive

The Terps have made a second-half run to close Miami's advantage to 58-54 using their animated full-court pressure defense to generate some offense. With just under five minutes remaining in regulation, both teams are in the bonus -- so look for this game to be decided from the charity stripe.

ACC: Terrapins Moving Slow Today

I don't even want to know what Gary Williams said to his kids at halftime and I'm sure his mother doesn't either. The Terrapins look like they didn't get any sleep last night.

Maryland got taken behind the woodshed on the glass during the first 20 minutes as the Hurricanes staked a 21-14 rebounding advantage (and 9-3 on the offensive boards). The Terps also committed 10 turnovers to Miami's six. The result? Miami attempted 12 more shots from the floor and used those extra chances to open a 13-point halftime lead. (A 6-for-12 performance from the charity stripe didn't help matters.)

ACC: Terrapin, Stationary

Maryland's deficit is just 12 points but the lackluster and imprecise play that has characterized this first half has Gary Williams irate. On the last series, a nifty D.J. Strawberry pass caromed off a cutting James Gist's hands and Miami's James Dews put down a three-pointer on the subsequent transition to give the 'Canes a 29-17 advantage. If this keeps up much longer, Williams might have to put in a visit to the Next Generation Hair Restoration Clinic on Kennedy Boulevard that I passed on my way from the airport to the Forum.

ACC: 'Canes Are Able

To paraphrase Al Czervik, maybe the Terps should have stayed home and played with themselves.

Miami's Jimmy Graham just threw down a ferocious one-handed dunk in traffic to give the 'Canes a 26-14 lead with under six minutes remaining in the half -- just seconds after D.J. Strawberry missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Gary Williams called a timeout to chew into his charges. Looks like the Terps are going to the full-court press.

ACC: Turtles Have Numbers

Who would've thunk that Maryland -- one of the northernmost schools in the ACC -- would have drawn more fans to its first-round game than Miami? (Besides anybody that has taken a look at the league standings, anyway.)

Indeed, hundreds of the Old Line State faithful are sitting right behind me (in full throat). Meanwhile, the diction of Maryland coach Gary Williams could make a sailor blush as his fifth-seeded Terps have fallen behind early, 10-9, to the conference's cellar-dwellers thanks to a listless effort out of the gates. ("You're dead! You're dead! You're dead!" bellowed Williams at Greivis Vasquez as the freshman guard walked to the bench after a substitution. "You've got to get a life!")

ACC: 'Noles Are Through

Clemson's desperation shot didn't even make the final horn and the Seminoles are through to the quarterfinals where they will face top-seeded North Carolina on Thursday at Noon ET.

Thornton was the hero of the day, notching game highs with 25 points and 11 rebounds. The tournament's first contest was a real pulse-pounder -- with eight ties and 22 lead changes.

Maryland and Miami have taken the court for warm-ups and will get underway in 14:15 ... 14:14 ... 14:13 ...

Quotes from the presser soon to follow. I'll be back directly.

ACC: Stripes

With the score tied and time winding down in regulation, Florida State's Al Thornton was just hacked in the act -- and heads to the line for two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining.

He just missed the first. Before sinking the second. 'Noles hold a 67-66 lead with Clemson inbounding beneath their own goal (with no timeouts remaining).

ACC: Speaking Of Thornton...

Florida State has been doing an awful job of getting the ball into their All-American's hands down the stretch but somehow has a chance to win this game. The Seminoles are about to inbound from midcourt with 8.3 seconds remaining and the score knotted at 66 apiece.

ACC: You Can Call Me Al

Al Thornton just snapped a personal eight-minute scoring drought with a gorgeous 16-foot jumper to cut Clemson's four-point lead in half. Clemson 60, Florida 58, Thornton 22 with 6:19 remaining.

There might not be a more magnificent-looking athlete in the entire conference than the lithe Thornton, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound senior.

ACC: Best Foot Forward

As February turns to March, college seniors around America are coming to terms with their approaching entry to the real world -- the inexorable and unnerving reality of life after beer bongs and date parties. One regular stage of the process involves the assembly of the resume, which is one of the more overt tactics Clemson has adopted in their push for NCAA tournament inclusion.

The South Carolina school's athletic department has been distributing copies of its basketball team's resume on high-quality orange stock resembling the resume paper that soon-to-be college grads have been buying at the local Staples. The three-column, single-sheet opus outlines the team's credentials -- from its respectable RPI (No. 36) to its six Top 50 wins to its road exploits to details involving its strength of schedule. In fact, I located a copy of the resume on Clemson's athletic site -- though you're going to have to supply your own fancy resume paper to get the full effect.

* Clemson's Men's Basketball Resume (PDF file)

ACC: A Back-And-Forth Affair

Florida State's Jerel Allen just canned a 20-footer that gave the Seminoles a 51-50 lead with 13:16 remaining in regulation -- the eighth consecutive scoring possession where the lead has changed hands. Despite the on-court excitement, the atmosphere inside the St. Pete Times Forum is surprisingly tame and reserved.

ACC: It's So Easy For Al Thornton

All-American candidate Al Thornton canned a 22-footer at the buzzer -- the 10th lead change of the half -- to give the Seminoles a 38-36 lead heading into the locker rooms.

The Perry, Ga., native finished the first half with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting and six rebounds in 18 minutes.

ACC: Switzerland

Final media timeout of the first half at the 2:01 mark with Clemson holding a 34-33 lead over the 'Noles.

Florida State fans seem to have traveled better than their Orange and Black counterparts for this Thursday midday event opener. (But then again, Clemson is twice as far as Tallahassee.) At any rate, neither fan section appears to be so overbearing as to affect the action -- this is a neutral site.

ACC: Do or Die

Clemson holds an 18-17 edge at the second media timeout in a contest that is living up to advance billing as a de facto elimination game (with the loser's NCAA tournament bubble likely meeting the dreaded needle). Five lead changes in this one so far, with both teams playing like they can feel the Nobody's Interested Tournament breathing down their necks.

ACC: Good Day Sunshine!

After stepping out of Tampa International Airport into the 75-and-temperate, palm-tree-lined Florida sunscape, I pulled the knit ski cap off my head for the first time in three weeks: The ACC tournament -- and my five-day respite from the consistenly lousy New York weather -- has arrived.

Arrived at the St. Pete Times Forum around two hours before first tip -- eighth-seeded Clemson and ninth-seeded Florida State get underway at Noon ET -- to see a couple hundred fans assembled outside the venue for the ACC FanFest, a free event organized by the conference, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and the Times Forum featuring interactive games, face painting, food, drinks and (at the moment) a cover band doing a passable job channeling Coldplay.

Nothing says conference tournament season than the annual behind-the-scenes, semi-illusionary game of oneupmanship that the media swag seems to create. Smaller leagues might give out a business-card holder or a personal organizer as a hospitality gift at their press events or tournaments. A one-bid conference that shall remain nameless distributed a pen at its media day last October which looked pretty nice but had stopped working before I could even board the plane back to LaGuardia. But the BCS conferences spare no expense for showcase events like postseason tournaments -- and the ACC might have just set a new benchmark with this year's gift. What appears to be a run-of-the-mill zipper binder is actually an executive style "E-Organizer" which includes a 5" x 8" pad and a 1 GB flash drive. Huzzah!

The Tigers and 'Noles get underway in about 20 minutes so I'm going to negotiate my way to press row. Catch up in a few.

February 18, 2007

Heels Hotfoot it to First Place in the ACC

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - It’s hardly an accident the North Carolina Tar Heels average the second most points in the country, to the tune of 88 points per game. Coach Roy Williams prides himself and his teams on running, gunning and generally causing mayhem on both ends of the floor.

Still, after all these years of Roy Ball, it is an impressive sight to behold when the momentarily jubilant opponent converts a basket and Williams’ charges charge up the court on the fast break. On many occasions, the shot clock appears to barely have time to re-set and UNC is already attempting - and often making - a shot at the offensive end. The jubilation turns to consternation pretty quickly.

“We work on it all the time,” said Williams after his No. 4 Heels assumed first place in the ACC with a hard-fought 77-72 win over No. 21 (and dropping out of the Top 25) Boston College. “We have a contest in practice for our big guys to get the ball out of the hoop and (advance it) down the floor. (Whoever does it quickest) gets a reward.”

The reward on Saturday night was consistently demoralizing the Eagles with fast breaks and baskets that were scored in 10 seconds or under.

“(UNC Point guard) Ty (Lawson’s) got a tremendous motor,” said Williams. “He was a tough little nut tonight. There was one point in the second half, where they made a basket to cut it to two and Ty attacked (at the other end).”

Continue reading "Heels Hotfoot it to First Place in the ACC" »

February 17, 2007

BC Falls Short

CHESTNUT HILL - A spirited comeback by BC fell short as Jared Dudley missed what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer with about 10 seconds left.

Tyrelle Blair fouled Ty Lawson with seven seconds left and Lawson calmly sank both free throws to ensure the victory for the now, first place Tar Heels.

. . . Dudley finsihed with 22 points and Rice had 20 for BC. Hansborough scored just four points in the second half and wound up with 17 for the game.

. . .UNC goes to 23-4, 9-3 and BC falls to 18-8, 9-4.

Rice Brings BC Within One

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - A high-arching lay-in off the top of the backboard by Tyrese Rice has brought the Eagles to within one, 73-72 with 30 seconds left.

BC will likely try and steal the in-bounds and then be forced to foul immediately and make UNC hit their free throws. Conte is loud and everyone is on their feet.

The steal chance failed and BC fouled Marcus Ginyard, a 72 percent free-throw shooter who sank both to put the lead at three points. UNC has now called timeout as BC will unbound under the UNC basket.

. . . An "Animal House" clip featuring John Belushi was played on the big screens during the timeout. Nothing inspires like Belushi.

Eagles Hang On

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - BC won't go away quietly and have trimmed the lead to 73-70 with 2:02 left. Conte Forum is at its loudest of the night and the BC players just huddled up at the top of the key with Sean Marshall's message being - "Buckle Down on Defense."

John Oates, however, committed his third personal on Tyler Hansborough, who missed the front end of the one-and-one.

On the ensuing trip down court, Jared Dudley once again drew a foul (on Reyshwan Terry) while shooting a 3-pointer, but converted none of the three free throws to leave the score at 73-70 in favor of UNC.

Tar Heels in Good Shape

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – North Carolina continues to dominate after made BC hoops, as they SPRINT out in what has to be the nation’s best fast break. With 3:38 left, the Tar Heels lead 73-66 and it's hard to imagine BC coming all the way back in this one.

. . . BC repeatedly has seen their possession come down to the final seconds of the shot clock and the rushed shots have resulted in some key misses.

. . . Trailing 70-66 with just under 4:00 left, Dudley stole a ball under his own basket and found a wide-open Rice at the top of the key. Rice’s shot rimmed out and Reyshawn Terry (10 points, all in the second half) answered at the other end with a 3-pointer for the seven point lead.

UNC has at least four players in double-figures scoring.

Continue reading "Tar Heels in Good Shape" »

A Dandy at Conte

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Really an enjoyable night of hoops as UNC continues to tease and taunt BC by letting them slip back into the game and then pulling away. With 7:40 left, the Eagles trail 68-63.

. . . A North Carolina fan was ejected form the upper bowl across from the UNC bench at the under-8:00 timeout. The crowd enjoyed that a bit.

. . . Great Brandan Wright block on Dudley with 8:56 left and UNC clinging to a 66-63 lead. He then hit a soft fade-away in the lane on the next trip down for the five point cushion.

BC Gets Close

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Tar Heels have an answer each and every time the Eagles get close and it’s inevitably a different guy every time down the floor.

The Eagles have managed to cut the lead to 59-57 on a breakout lay-up by Sean Marshall with 11:25 left in the game. Dudley (17), Rice (14) and Marshall (10) have 41 of BC’s 57 points at the under-12:00 media timeout.

Continue reading "BC Gets Close" »

Marshall Getting Into Groove

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Jared Dudley scored five of BC’s first seven points of the half and BC appears determined to get him the ball more inside the paint. Still, at the under-16:00 media timeout, BC trails 55-49.

. . . Sean Marshall needs to get into a groove for BC - he started off (0 for 4) and had just two first half points. His first field goal came on a baseline dunk in the 18:00 area of the second half. He currently has six points.

Continue reading "Marshall Getting Into Groove" »

Halftime Stats and Observations

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – This one is almost a carbon copy of BC’s struggle with Duke from Wednesday night. In that game, BC trailed by 11 at the break, tonight they trail by just six, despite being out-rebounded 17-8.

Both teams shot the ball well with UNC hitting on 53 percent (17 of 32 and 3 of 7 from 3-pointy land) and BC connecting on 59 percent (13 of 22, 5 of 8).

Continue reading "Halftime Stats and Observations" »

Quick Correction

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – We have to apologize for some misinformation that we've been perpetuating. The BC game notes indicated that it was the same officiating crew from Wednesday night. That is not the case.

Tonight's officials are Karl Hess, Earl Walton and Ray Natili.

The fact remains that both Dudley and Skinner were both unhappy with the officiating on Wednesday and some of their anger (Skinner's technical foul) and fouls (Dudley sat for 6:04 with 3 personals) could be some payback from BC's critique of the Duke officiating crew.

We apologize for the error and vow to learn our ACC officiatiing crews a bit better.

Tar Heels Lead at the Half

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College has been able to stay in the game, despite not having their “glue guy” Jared Dudley for the final six minutes of the half. The Eagles go into the half trailing, 44-38, but have managed to stick around with some timely 3-point shooting.

UNC went on a patented spurt after the under-4:00 to extend back to a seven point lead, but BC’s Marquez Haynes answered with a 3-pointer to cut it to four points.

Continue reading "Tar Heels Lead at the Half" »

Tight One at Conte

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Jared Dudley picked up his third personal foul of the game with 6:00 left in the half and again will miss key portions of the game because of foul trouble, just like on Wedneday vs. Duke.

We remind you again that this is two-thirds of the ref crew that worked the Duke game where Dudley late complained about the officiating.

At the under-4:00 media timeout, we are tied in a doozy, 33-33.

. . . Al Skinner picked up a rare technical with 4:48 left in the half and UNC leading 32-31. Skinner too was frustrated with the officiating on Wednesday night and he may have just reached his boiling point - which is saying something.

For the record the BC has been called for seven fouls thus far and UNC has been called for seven, also.

Continue reading "Tight One at Conte" »

BC Comes Back

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – BC has mounted a nice comeback and now trails 25-21 with 25-21. The lead was trimmed on a deep 3-pointer in transition by Tyrese Rice.

. . . Jared Dudley has become the all-time BC leader in career minutes with the 13 he’s played so far this game.

Continue reading "BC Comes Back" »

Tar Heels Build Lead

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Tar Heels are using their size and depth to their advantage as they have stormed out to a 19-14 lead with 11:14 left in the half.

North Carolina is absolutely crashing the boards, especially on the offensive end.

. . . After the first media timeout, Al Skinner placed Jared Dudley on Tyler Hansborough in place of the freshman Shamari Spears. Hansborough leads all scorers with eight points.

Continue reading "Tar Heels Build Lead" »

Tight One Early

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – BC’s John Oates has started out on fire again - similar to his torrid start against Duke when he had five points early on. Tonight he has seven of the Eagles’ first 10 points on a put-back in the lane, a 3-pointer and a jumper.

At the first media timeout, the game is tied 10-10 with 15:47 left in the half.

UNC clearly likes the TylerHansborough Shamari Spears match-up, having gone to it twice already in the early going. Hansborough now has six points.

Continue reading "Tight One Early" »

Let the Battle Begin

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – This is probably the most revved up the Eagles fans have been all season long and the Naional Athem led into a good amount of cheering from the usually reserved crowd. The arena is about 90 percent filled with tip on tap, which is quite an accomplishment for the late-arriving BC fans.

. . . Brandan Wright is, indeed, in the starting line-up for the Tar Heels. It is the freshman’s 26th start of the season. His lone miss was in the Arizona game when he was ill.

. . .There are several NBA scouts on hand, as you’d expect for UNC’s only trip to Boston. Included among the teams represented are the Celtics, Bobcats and the Raptors.

Continue reading "Let the Battle Begin" »

Tip in Fifteen

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – We’re about 15 minutes before tip and the Eagles entered the court to a rousing ovation, coming through the tunnel behind the visitor’s bench. The BC fight song was then played, as is customary. The upper bowl has filled in nicely, but the wine and cheese crowd is still late in getting to their lower bowl seats.

. . . BC is in their gold uniforms with maroon shooting jerseys, while the Tar Heels are in their sky blue unis with matching shooting jerseys.

. . .Still a late-arriving crowd, despite the hubbub surrounding the GameDay crew being here and it being a key ACC match-up. But, as we often point out when we’re here at BC, the Eagles fans are still not accustomed to big games.

Continue reading "Tip in Fifteen" »

Rece Davis Makes People Happy!

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – We checked out the GameDay set, which is just behind the Hang Time perch, in the 200 Level. The backdrop you will see on camera is half court at Conte and the BC logo on the floor.

Some fans were milling in the front of the set, just a few feet from the turnstiles. We heard one excited college-aged young man on his cell phone telling a buddy, “Dude, guess what? I just got my picture taken with (ESPN’s) Rece Davis.”

His excitement over the photo was similar to my chance encounter with ESPN’s talented Erin Andrews who is busy in her pre-game preparation, but kind enough to say things like “Excuse me,” and “Thank you." She's everything we dreamed she would be! (That will be my final Erin Andrews reference of this paragraph. Promise.)

. . . In real basketball news Brandan Wright came onto the floor with 55 minutes until tip and tied his sneakers at mid-court, something the ESPN camera man crowded Wright for and then proceeded to follow him around for a few minutes as he dribbled, shot and stretched.

Wright then proceeded to to some arm circles forward and backward, indicating that perhaps his shoulder is loose enough to play with. He followed with some light running from sideline to sideline and then some trunk twists just in front of the ESPN perch, which is a row ahead of the Hang Time position.

Continue reading "Rece Davis Makes People Happy!" »

Wright Slated to Play

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Word form the North Carolina folks is that Brandan Wright will be playing tonight, this according to ESPN’s Howie Schwab and Dick Vitale, who “Hang Time” caught up with in the bowels of Conte.

A few of the Tar Heel players are starting to filter onto the court for pre-game shooting and stretching, but no sign of Wright just yet. Jared Dudley and Tyrese Rice continue to shoot at the BC end

Welcome to an ACC First Place Showdown

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Welcome to the Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College for tonight’s ACC match-up between the host No. 21 Eagles (18-7, 9-3) and the visiting No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels (22-4, 8-3). It is the Tar Heels first-ever visit to BC and they can leave with first place in the ACC if they defeat the Eagles (who hold a half-game lead).

We’re still efforting confirmation on whether Tar Heel freshman Brandan Wright will be in the line-up for Roy Williams. Wright was reportedly hurt in practice on Thursday. Wright’s the Heels’ second-leading scorer (14.6 ppg) and rebounder (6.6 rpg) and his absence will even things up a bit (the morning line in the Boston Globe had BC a 7-point underdog).

. . . BC game notes are here

. . . UNC game notes are here

. . . Not a great deal of buzz in the arena even with the ESPN Game Day crew in the house. We know it’s the competitor and all, but the presence of the Worldwide Leader on a Saturday really does make a difference – even at usually staid, BC. The morning show was provided a great scene with a few full sections of gold-clad students. (It was much better than last night, when the backdrop was the Zamboni on the ice, a sure sign that your not in ACC country.)

However, now, 90 minutes before tip, the student sections (in each endzone) are only about half-filled and the rest of the arena is mostly empty. We'll take a cruise around shortly to find the GameDay Crew's set and report back with our findings.

. . . Four BC players are currently shooting around, including Tyrese Rice and Sean Marshall.

Continue reading "Welcome to an ACC First Place Showdown" »

February 15, 2007

Duke's Far From Dead

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – There were smirks and whispers and more than a few pre-mature shovelfuls of dirt tossed on the grave of the 2006-07 Duke University men’s basketball team earlier this week.

Dropping out of the Top 25 for the first time since 1995-96 and losing four in a row will start the vultures a picking at the supposed carcass - especially when the motionless body is wearing blue and black and hails from Durham.

So, it only seemed appropriate when one distinguished member of the media informed Duke’s Greg Paulus after his team’s 78-70 Valentine’s Day win over No. 21 Boston College that the Blue Devils are not dead.

“We never were,” said Paulus, who matched his season-best assist total with seven, while scoring 15 points and pilfering three steals. “We still believe in each other and we don’t pay any attention to that stuff. We wanted to get back on track and to do it against the first place team, at their place, in a hostile environment, it’s a big win for us and hopefully we can build on this one and get things going again.”

Continue reading "Duke's Far From Dead" »

February 14, 2007

Duke Gets Its Much Needed Sixth League Win

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – A tremendous late effort by BC wasn’t quite enough to overcome the deficit that Duke had built in the early portion of the second half as BC falls, 78-70 before a packed house at Conte.

Gerald Henderson scored a key basket with the shot clock expiring for Duke as he penetrated and laid in a bucket with about 35 seconds left in the game. It put the Duke lead at eight and sealed the monster win for the Blue Devils, who are now even at 6-6 in league play (19-7 overall). BC falls to 9-3 in league and 18-7 overall.

Continue reading "Duke Gets Its Much Needed Sixth League Win" »

Duke Re-Assumes Control - Barely

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Eagles are not going quietly, but every time they sniff a chance to bring the lead to under-10 points, Duke responds with either a lengthy possession, a basket or both. At the under-4:00 media timeout, Duke leads 74-63.

Jared Dudley was whistled for his fourth personal foul just before the stoppage in play.

. . . Al Skinner is as demonstartive and exuberant as we have seen him during his BC tenure and the usually mild-mannered, Easy Al, is certainly being overcome by the emotion of his club's comeback.

Continue reading "Duke Re-Assumes Control - Barely" »

BC Battles Back

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – BC has made things interesting, highlighted by a deep corner 3-pointer by Sean Marshall to cut the Duke lead to 65-53 with 8:05 left in the game. Now, with 7:32 left in the game, Al Skinner is loudly complaining about a foul call on Tyrese Rice after a solid 30 seconds of defense on Greg Paulus. However, Duke has been whistled for five more foul calls in the second half than BC (8-3).

Conte is jumping a bit now and those handful of fans who did leave, are probably starting to regret it a bit.

Jared Dudley has turned it up in the second half and now has 11 for the game (all but two in the second half). Sean Marshall has 13 points now (after five int he first half).

. . . David McClure has four fouls for the Blue Devils.

. . . Russert is starting to feel a bit of a comeback and he’s getting back into the game. His travel call is legendary with its exaggerated rolling of the arms. With an out-of-bounds throw in near his seat, he urged along Jared Dudley with words of encouragement. ESPN should just keep a camera on him - Meet the Press-cam would be priceless. He looks like he’s just played 30 minutes of ball.

Duke Not Dead by a Long Shot

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Garbage time has come early and often to this one, as the Blue Devils are running the Eagles out of their own building with a 65-41 lead and 12:47 left in the game.

BC has been flat from midway through the first half and some of the fans are starting to sense it as they prepare to face the cold Boston night.

Continue reading "Duke Not Dead by a Long Shot" »

Duke Pouring It On

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Josh McRoberts continues to assert his will upon BC, scoring the Blue Devils’ first four points of the half (18 for the game). At the under-16:00 media timeout, the Blue Devils lead 57-38.

The lead ballooned to 51-36 with less than two minutes gone by in the half and BC continuing to be plagued by inopportune turnovers and sloppy play. The lead went to its current 19 with 15:58 left in the game on a Duke steal and lay-in.

Continue reading "Duke Pouring It On" »

Halftime Stats and Observations

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Dick Vitale stopped by the Hang Time perch to say hello at the half and was stunned by the amount of lay-ups that BC gave up in the first 20 minutes.

The numbers support Vitale’s viewpoint: Duke scored 24 of its 43 points in the paint, out-rebounded the Eagles 19-8 and had 10 second-chance points to the Eagles’ three. Eleven of Duke’s 19 rebounds came off the offensive glass.

Both teams shot well, with BC hitting 58 percent from the field (3 of 5 from 3-point land) and Duke connecting on 55 percent (5 of 11 from the field).

Continue reading "Halftime Stats and Observations" »

Duke Up Big at Half

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – A spirited first half saw Duke pull away a bit in the second part of the half and built a 43-32 lead with under a minute left. Turnovers and fouls contributed to the BC deficit, as did the play of Josh McRoberts who finished the half with 12 points.

Jared Dudley was whistled for his third personal foul (on a block) with 1:03 left in the half and was immediately removed from the line-up. He has been a non-factor in the first 20 minutes of the game. In fact, without, Tyrese Rice’s 13 points, the Eagles would be in a whole lot worse shape.

BC is 3-5 when trailing at the half.

Continue reading "Duke Up Big at Half" »

Blue Devils Extend lead to Six

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The ever-emerging Tyrese Rice continues to show his improved game skills - both in terms of game management and shot selection. He leads BC with 13 points in the half. Duke leads 35-29 with 3:41 left in the half. It is Duke’s biggest lead of the game.

Rice, a sophomore, can both penetrate and shoot the jumper and he’s getting better at using one to set up the other.

Continue reading "Blue Devils Extend lead to Six" »

Duke Edges Ahead

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Greg Paulus has seven points to lead the Blue Devils to a 25-22 lead in a game that has already seen five ties with 7:49 left in the half.

. . . Jared Dudley picked up his second foul of the game, setting a screen, with just over 8:00 left. He’s a smart enough player that Al Skinner can afford to keep him in the game.

Continue reading "Duke Edges Ahead" »

Even at the Second Media Timeout

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Duke has been in a good flow on both ends of the court from the tip and was able to extend to a 16-12 lead before Jared Dudley’s first jumper of the game in the 12:00 area.

At the second media timeout, the game is tied at 16.

Continue reading "Even at the Second Media Timeout" »

Even at the Second Media Timeout

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Duke has been in a good flow on both ends of the court from the tip and was able to extend to a 16-12 lead before Jared Dudley’s first jumper of the game in the 12:00 area.

At the second media timeout, the game is tied at 16.

Continue reading "Even at the Second Media Timeout" »

Good Start at Conte

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – BC's John Oates, who averages a little over four feild goal attempts per game has taken four shots in the game's firt 4:02, as BC leads 7-5 at the first media timeout.

Oates started his night with a shooter’s mentality, missing his first attempt form top of the key, then hitting a 3-pointer and then being fouled on a 3-point attempt. He had five of the Eagles first seven points (Sean Marshall had the other field goal).

. . . Duke has opened in a man-to-man defense with DeMarcus Nelson opening up on BC’s Jared Dudley. They are also picking up their men full-court. The Eagles are in a 2-3 zone

Continue reading "Good Start at Conte" »

Tip in Two

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – NBC’s Tim Russert is in the house - his son attends BC - and he’s frequented several of BC’s “big” games in recent times. Doug Flutie has also been spotted and he's a Hail Mary form the Hang Time perch.

A better job of getting in the building on time by all the BC fans - especially considering the icy conditions. Now if they could only learn how to sustain the cheering throughout and make this a real homecourt advantage.

. . . A wonderful version of the Star-Spangled Banner by S. Dennis, Mass. youngster, Jordan Leandre, a patient at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The student section chanted his name after he was finished. Nice touch.

Chilly Conte ready to Heat Up

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The building is quite chilly with about 20 minutes until tip, but we're expecting things to warm up qucikly once the game gets underway. BC entered the arena with 20 minutes until tip and the fans cheering loudly. A chant of "Let's Go Eagles" started soon thereafter.

Both end zones are filled with students and the traditionally late-arriving remaining portion of BC fans is holding form. Roadways in and around Boston (and Conte Forum) are covered with slush that, because of rapidly dropping temperatures, is turning into ice. We saw three separate cars that had spun out within about 10 miles of Conte , so we’re expecting an even later-than-usual crowd, despite the 9 p.m. tip.

For those of you on Tobacco Road who can’t understand this laissez-faire attitude, you are now beginning to understand the difference between ACC Basketball every where else and ACC Basketball in Boston.

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Blue Devils Stretching it Out for HUGE One

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – We’re about 75 minutes from tip and both student end zone sections are approximately 75 percent filled. The students are mostly clad in gold t-shirts and a large number of yellow wigs are also being sported. From afar, they look like Donald Trump toups.

Duke is stretching on its end of the floor waering black warm-ups and blue road uniforms. BC’s Tyrese Rice has been out shooting for quite a while and has been joined by a smattering of other Eagle players. They are in home whites with Jared Dudley wearing a maroon shooting jersey, but most of the other players are in white shooting shirts.

. . . Speaking of Dudley, FOXsports.com’s Jeff Goodman makes a compelling argument for Dudley being the national player of the year. While we’re not in the habit of steering you away from Hang Time or CSTV.com, we are confident enough in our ability that you’ll be coming back to us after you’re done reading Goodman’s column.

One thing that Goodman overlooks - and we agree, it shouldn’t have a bearing on such things of POY - is that BC has never been a school that self-promotes or one that promotes the individual over the team. It stems from Al Skinner’s personality, but the athletic department’s media relations staff is not the kind that pounds you over the head with Player Resumes or marketing campaigns.

Several of the other players in the discussion are at institutions who set aside funds just for such endeavors (Texas comes to mind) and even Duke has one page sheets for three of its “Awards Candidates” - Jon Scheyer, DeMarcus Nelson and Josh McRoberts.

. . . Tonight’s officials are Jamie Luckie, Mike Wood and Sean Hull.

Continue reading "Blue Devils Stretching it Out for HUGE One" »

Tip in 40 Minutes

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – With about an hour to go before tip, Dickie V donned one of the gold wigs and was schmoozing the students sections while signing autographs. The kids still swarm to him like bees to honey and every game he is at becomes an event.

We had the chance to tag along for a couple of days with Vitale (in Sarasota and Ann Arbor) last year for a story that appeared in new Jersey Monthly last year. Love him or hate him - and there’s usually not much of an in-between - the guy’s passion and energy can never be doubted.

. . . Jared Dudley, coming off his second straight ACC Player of the Week honor 9and third of the season) is leading the conference in scoring (20.0 ppg), rebounding (9.0) and minutes played (38.33 mpg).

Continue reading "Tip in 40 Minutes" »

Welcome to Conte Forum

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Welcome to the Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College for tonight’s ACC match-up between the host No. 21 Eagles (18-6, 9-2) and the visiting (and desperate for a win) Duke Blue Devils (18-7, 5-6). Duke is unranked for the first time in 10 years and Wednesday’s game snaps a string of 380 straight games played as a ranked team for the Blue Devils.

It is also the official debut of what we’re calling, “Tobacco Road North,” as BC faces Duke and UNC tonight and Saturday evening.

A wimpy Nor’easter has hit Boston, but the brunt of the blow is going north and west of the city. Still, icy conditions and fierce wind welcome Coach K and his crew for a monster match-up, especially for the Blue Devils, who need some quality road wins to reinforce a diminishing resume.

. . . Duke game notes are here

BC game notes are here

Continue reading "Welcome to Conte Forum" »

February 03, 2007

Dudley the Basketball Player Opens Eyes

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Quiz time, hoopsheads: Which ACC player is among the Top 5 in scoring (fifth), rebounding (second), field goal percentage (fifth) and minutes played (first)?

Go ahead give a guess. Tyler Hansborough of North Carolina? Nope. Josh McRoberts of Duke? Wrong again.

It’s Boston College’s Jared Dudley and the senior from San Diego understands if you may not have had his name at the top of your ACC Individual Leaders list.

“I don’t think I’m underrated, but maybe unknown sometimes,” said Dudley after putting up 30 points and 13 rebounds on Virginia Tech (16-7, 6-3 in the ACC) to bring BC to 16-6, 7-2. “If I played at UNC or Duke everyone would know who I was.”

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Eagles Wrap it Up

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Gold uniforms are 1-0 for Al Skinner as the Eagles used a tremendous first half of basketball - and a wonderful late surge - to down the Hokies 80-59.

The Hokies cut the lead to 13 with 4:00 left in the game, but BC and Jared Dudley were too much to overcome. After the Hokies trimmed it to 13, Dudley came down court and nailed a deep 3-pointer to again put the lead at 16. It was the final dagger on a day of daggers from the senior heart-and-soul of teh Eagles.

Dudley finished with 30 points and Tyrese Rice added 20. For Va. Tech, Zabian Dowdell finished with 17 and Deron Washington had 18(all but two in the second half).

. . . "Over Rated" chants began with about 1:30 left in the game. Probably deservedly so.

. . . Dudley made the motion as if someone needed to cool him down after his fourth 3-pointer of the game which gave him 30 points on the day on 4 of 5 from beyond the arc and 11 of 15 from the field.

Continue reading "Eagles Wrap it Up" »

BC Continues to Lead

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – With under eight minutes to go in the game, BC maintains a 64-50 lead and has started to run clock on each possession. The Hokies have not been able to get it under 14 points, despite some much better team play in the second half. They hodl a seven point scoring edge int he second half.

. . . The BC threesome of Jared Dudley (18), Tyrese Rice (16) and Sean Marshall (10) have combined for 44 of BC’s 62 points and, through the 10:28 mark of the half are outscoring the entire Hokie team, 44-43.

Continue reading "BC Continues to Lead" »

Hokies Scrap and Claw

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Hokies continue to chip away at the 21-point halftime lead and are making a concerted effort to drive the lane more and take some more 3s, an obvious necessity.

Still, BC has managed to maintain a 14-16 point lead and with 11:21 left in the game, the Eagles lead is 57-43.

. . . The progression and maturation of BC sophomore guard, Tyrese Rice has been most noticable over the Eagles past dozen games or so. Rice is taking batter care of the ball, distributing with aplomb and also knocking down key 3-pointers.

Hokies Steadying the Ship

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Virginia Tech came out of the locker room with a more intense attitude and better full-court defensive pressure. They still trail 51-35, but are looking more like the team that came in having won three of its last four ACC games. They have outscored BC, 9-4 in the first 4:36 of the second half.

Deron Washington especially appears to be more assertive for the Hokies. He’s had five early points in the half, after scoring just two in the first stanza.

. . . Zabian Dowdell has not been able to yet get on track for Va. Tech and has 11 points with 15:24 left in the game.

Halftime Stats

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – An incredibly impressive first half performance from BC, highlighted by the play of Tyrese Rice (4 of 9 from the field, 3 of 7 from 3-point land for 11 points, five assists and two steals). Jared Dudley, in just 13 minutes of play, leads all scorers with 16 points on 6 of 7 from the field.

The Eagles have outscored the Hokies, 15-3 on second chance points and the eight Hokie turnovers have lead 11 BC points.

Eagles Rolling at the Half

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Well, the Eagles are looking pretty golden in the Gold uniforms, as they have absolutely dominated the first half, leading 47-26 at the break, on a 3-pointer by Sean Marshall at the buzzer.

The Eagles’ 47 first half points are impressive, but BC scored 50 points in the first half against Wake Forest earlier this season. BC is 13-0 this year when leading at the half. VT is 20-41 under Seth Greenberg when trailing at the half.

Continue reading "Eagles Rolling at the Half" »

Eagles Extend Lead

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – BC, which set a school record for 3-pointers early this week (14 vs. Hartford), continues to stroke it well from beyond the arc.

Sophomore guard (and team 3-point leader with 38 in 22 games) Tyrese Rice is 3 of 6 from 3-point land and as a team, the Eagles have connected on 6 of 11 to help build the 23 point lead they now hold with 3:36 left in the half (41-18).

. . . BC is starting to get good bench contributions from the likes of Tyrelle Blair, Tyler Roche and Marquez Haynes - something that will be key for the Eagles going forward this season and into the post-season.

Eagles Bombing Away

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Eagles have played inspired ball in the games first 12 minutes, led by a spirited, crowd-encouraging, Jared Dudley, who is leading BC with 14 points. The Eagles hold a 31-14 lead at the under-8:00 media timeout. They are 12 of 22 form the field and 4 of 9 form 3-point land.

Zabian Dowdell has seven points for the Hokies, who appear unsettled and a step slow - including back-to-back possessions with awful turnovers on errant passes. The Hokies have six turnovers in the early going and haven‘t had a field goal in almost four minutes.

BC is out-rebounding the Hokies, 12-5, early on.

Continue reading "Eagles Bombing Away" »

Eagles Come out Quick

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – BC got out to a 10-1 lead, powered by two 3-pointers from Tyrese Rice. Seth Greenberg was forced to call an early timeout with 17:37 left in the first half to stem the tide.

It’s now 10-5 at the first media timeout with 15:55 left in the half.

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Tip Time

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – We’re just a few minutes from tip and Conte is slowly filling (it holds 8,606). The Hokies are in their road maroon unis with white trim and, as we’ve discusses, the Eagles are in gold with maroon trim.

Considering the last result when wearing gold, there’s a bit of anxiety on the part of some BC supporters, chiefly the dedicated radio play-by-play voice of the Eagles, Ted Sarandis, who is on record as “not liking the gold.”

We’re guessing Ted’s tune will change if the Eagles can pull out the W.

. .. BC athletic director, Gene DeFilippo, just made the rounds up and down press row and exchanged high fives with several of the BC supporters, including the radio team. There are few Ads in the country as prominent and friendly as DeFilippo.

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Thirty Minutes til Tip

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – As is usual at Conte Forum, the crowd arrives fashionably late-borderline-actually late, and that includes the late arriving students, who are only numbering about 40 with 30 minutes ‘til tip.

BC may be in the ACC (its second year), but its fans still have trouble playing the role of real ACC fans.

. . . The game is being broadcast on TV via Raycom Sports and on satellite radio at XM Channel 193.

. . . Click on over to this Seth Greenberg column for a look at how the Hokie Head Man sees the rest of the season unfolding.

And, in the interest of equal time, check out this nice one-on-one with Sean Marshall conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann at the BC site.

Continue reading "Thirty Minutes til Tip" »

Eagles Going Gold

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Welcome to Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College for today’s ACC showdown between visiting No. 16/18 Virginia Tech (16-6, 6-2) and the host Eagles (15-6, 6-2). Both BC and VT stand behind 6-1 UNC (20-2 overall) in league play and even with 6-2 Virginia (14-6). So, clearly, we’ve got several clubs jockeying for position as the second half of the ACC season commences this weekend.

Both teams are shooting around on the Conte Forum floor and the sight of BC in home Gold (see below) is a bit odd, but we're adjusting.

BC is still the biggest enigma of the ACC contenders, having now gone 1-2 in its last three ACC games – all without the services of Sean Williams and Akida McLain, who were kicked off the team by Al Skinner. Al Skinner’s bench is not deep and the question lingers as to how the Eagles will be able to manage in a tournament-type situation with the potential for back-to-back-to-back games on successive nights.

The Eagles remaining schedule after today includes games at Miami (2-6), at Florida State (4-4), at Va. Tech and the regular season capper at Georgia Tech (2-6). The three remaining home games are Duke (5-3), North Carolina (6-1) and Clemson (4-4).

Continue reading "Eagles Going Gold" »

Eagles Going Gold

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Welcome to Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College for today’s ACC showdown between visiting No. 16/18 Virginia Tech (16-6, 6-2) and the host Eagles (15-6, 6-2). Both BC and VT stand behind 6-1 UNC (20-2 overall) in league play and even with 6-2 Virginia (14-6). So, clearly, we’ve got several clubs jockeying for position as the second half of the ACC season commences this weekend.

Both teams are shooting around on the Conte Forum floor and the sight of BC in home Gold (see below) is a bit odd, but we're adjusting.

BC is still the biggest enigma of the ACC contenders, having now gone 1-2 in its last three ACC games – all without the services of Sean Williams and Akida McLain, who were kicked off the team by Al Skinner. Al Skinner’s bench is not deep and the question lingers as to how the Eagles will be able to manage in a tournament-type situation with the potential for back-to-back-to-back games on successive nights.

The Eagles remaining schedule after today includes games at Miami (2-6), at Florida State (4-4), at Va. Tech and the regular season capper at Georgia Tech (2-6). The three remaining home games are Duke (5-3), North Carolina (6-1) and Clemson (4-4).

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January 17, 2007

BC Eagles Dismiss Two, Including Shot Blocker Sean Williams

UPDATED 11:55 p.m. 1/17/07:

The following statement was released by the Boston College Athletic Department in the 7 p.m. hour on Wednesday night:

Boston College Media Relations
January 17, 2007

Williams, McLain Dismissed from BC Basketball Team

Boston College Basketball Coach Al Skinner has announced that junior center Sean Williams and junior forward Akida McLain have been dismissed permanently from the team due to a violation of team rules.

Williams had played in and started 15 games for the Eagles this season, averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. McLain had played in two games, starting one, averaging 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. McLain missed six games due to an ankle injury this season before returning to play two minutes against Miami this past Tuesday.

Neither Skinner nor Athletics Director Gene DeFilippo will comment further at this time.

Currently undefeated in ACC play at 5-0 and 13-4 overall, the Eagles have relied on the defensive presence of Williams, who will be 21 in September, throughout his playing time this year (which began late after an early-season suspension that ended with a dozen block debut at Providence). The potential NBA first rounder had 75 blocks through 15 games (5.0 bpg) and was improving his NBA stock (as the nation's third-leading shotblocker) with almost each outing - despite some "character issues" which have dogged him. McClain, who turns 21 in two months, who also suspended for a portion of this early season, has had trouble bouncing back, but did give Skinner a body off the bench.

Continue reading "BC Eagles Dismiss Two, Including Shot Blocker Sean Williams" »

December 22, 2006

One Devil Of A Pick

National championship picks in December are for suckers. Go on record at your own risk.

But when backed into a corner at various holiday engagements over the past couple weeks I’ve taken Duke and last night’s unpretty victory over No. 22-ranked Gonzaga showed why. Here are five more specific reasons I think the Devils have the juice to play into April:

  • The best defense in the country (or close to it)

    The Blue Devils rank second in adjusted defensive efficiency among the 336 teams in Division I, surrendering just 77.8 points per hundred possessions. Consider that Duke trailed just 21-20 at the break Thursday despite making 7-of-31 shots from the floor — an abysmal 22.6 percent clip — and going close to nine minutes without a made basket. The reason that’s possible is because the Blue Devils play some of the most energetic and fundamentally sound perimeter defense in the business and force the opposition to work (and concentrate) for each and every bucket. It’s as much a mental exercise as a physical one. Make no mistake: This defense is Final Four good on Dec. 22. If the offense catches up in time for March, watch out. But in the meantime the Blue Devils have a defense outstanding enough to weather extended stretches of offensive mediocrity and, in the case of the Gonzaga game, downright ineptitude.

  • The didactic effects of a confection-free schedule

    The casual fan might not bristle at the sight of Duke’s non-conference schedule (which just happens to rank as the second-most difficult OOC slate in Division I), but the youngest Blue Devils team of Krzyzewski’s 28-year tenure has been cutting their teeth on an array of reputable major-conference, mid-major and special-preparation teams. Duke’s last nine opponents ranked in the RPI Top 80 and eight played in last year’s NCAA tournament. (The one that didn’t, Holy Cross, lost to Bucknell in the Patriot League championship game.) Coach K breaks his players down and builds them back up with teeming confidence during November and December — and the youthful Blue Devils will emerge from their baptism by fire as prepared for the rigors of league play as any Atlantic Coast Conference team.

Continue reading "One Devil Of A Pick" »

December 10, 2006

What A Difference A Year Makes

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - It was all new to BC last season when it launched its inaugural ACC season with a game at Maryland before 17,950 fans at the Comcast Center one year ago. The pomp, the circumstance and that old ACC aura probably took the Eagles by a bit of surprise.

They lost that game 73-71 and it was the start of three straight league losses to begin the campaign. They eventually bounced back for an 11-5 ACC record, but those early games were a cause for concern in Chestnut Hill.

This season - year No. 2 of BC in the ACC - concern has turned to optimism and enthusiasm for a dangerous Eagle squad. With a 73-62 win over those same Terps, at lively Conte Forum before a sell-out of 8,606, the 6-2 Eagles have served notice that two early season, surprise losses at home - to Vermont and on the road at Providence - are well behind them.

Continue reading "What A Difference A Year Makes" »

Eagles Win

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - BC bent but never broke as Maryland could never get closer than three points in the second half. The Eagles knock off the No. 22/23 Terps, 73-62, behind a gritty performance from Jared Dudley and another defensive display by junior Sean Williams (10, points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks).

Maryland certainly played a better second half than its dismal first half, but DJ Strawberry was held 10 points below his scoring average of 15 ppg with just five points. Strawberry never got on track after picking up two quick fouls in the game’s first minute.

BC got double-figure scoring from Dudley (game-high 20 and 11 rebounds), Tyrese Rice (17), Sean Marshall (12) and Sean Williams (10). Maryland was led by junior James Gist’s 17 points (one off his career high) and Mike Jones‘s 10.

Continue reading "Eagles Win" »

Williams Swats Away

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - Maryland continues to linger and hover, keeping the game to two possessions, 56-50, with 7:54 left in the game.

. . . BC's Sean Williams has once again been a force in the paint with two blocks on the same possession (at just under 8:00) and an altered shot at the end of the sequence that led to it being BC’s ball. A made field goal would have cut the lead to four.

Continue reading "Williams Swats Away" »

Halftime Thoughts and Observations

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - The halftime box score bears out the BC domination in the first half, as the Eagles out-rebounded (24-15) the Terps and absolutely dominated in second chance opportunities (13-2).

Both teams shot 44 percent for the half and BC connected on 4-of-11 from 3-point land, with Maryland taking just six 3-pointers (hitting two).

Maryland will need to get more aggressive on the boards and they probably wouldn’t regret pressuring the turnover-prone Tyrese Rice (better than 3 per turns per game coming in).

Losing DJ Strawberry in the first minute of the game to two fouls, clearly disrupted the Maryland gameplan.

Continue reading "Halftime Thoughts and Observations" »

BC Imposing Its Will on Maryland at Half

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - Maryland, which averages three-and-a-half more rebounds per game than the Eagles (40.0-36.4) has been getting out-rebounded on both ends of the floor and the result is a 38-29 halftime deficit for the Terps.

BC completely outplayed the Terps in the first twenty minutes and you wouldn’t want to be a fly on the Terps locker room wall when Gary Williams gets a hold of his club. He could be peeling paint right now.

Continue reading "BC Imposing Its Will on Maryland at Half" »

Dudley Taking Control

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - A tremendous display of offensive rebounding and glass-pounding by BC resulted in a Jared Dudley put-back in the lane with 3:21 left in the half, to give BC a 34-27 lead. Dudley now has nine points for the Eagles.

. . . Al Skinner chose to sit his red-hot point guard, Tyrese Rice afte rthe 8:00 media timeout - a curious move with Rice absolutely killing the Terps from all over. Marquez Haynes gave him the breather as Rice came back in with 5:14 left in the half.

Continue reading "Dudley Taking Control" »

Maryland Comes Back

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - An up and down, fast-break first half has broken out in Conte Fourm and Maryland has made a nice first-half comeback after trailing by nine. BC now leads 25-23 with 7:45 left in the first half.

Tyrese Rice has 12 points through the games first 12 minutes and Maryland can not find a defensive answer for him. (Rice’s career high is 23, which he got last year at Wake Forest.)

Continue reading "Maryland Comes Back" »

BC and Maryland Start Off Fast

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - Some fast-paced action to start off as BC leads 8-7 at the under-16:00 timeout.

Jared Dudley has been playing particularly inspired ball for BC, starting off with four of BC’s first six points. James Gist has four of the Terps first 7.

. . . BC has started in a two-three zone, Maryland started off in full court press and then fell back into a man-to-man.

Continue reading "BC and Maryland Start Off Fast" »

Wimp and Andy and Jeff, Oh My!

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - The pre-game clock tells us there are 30:00 until tip of this early season ACC match-up.

The traditionally late-arriving BC crowd (forgive us if you’ve heard this before) is, late-arriving. Not to mention the fandom is a bit glum after a demoralizing afternoon loss by the local faves, the New England Patriots (21-0 at Miami).

Couple that with the fact that BC lost its football coach (to an IN-CONFERNECE school), and these BC fans that will fill Conte tonight, could use a little holiday cheer.

. . .Tonight’s game is also on XM Satellite radio, Channel 191, with Andy Demetra on play-by-play and ex-coach Wimp Sanderson on color

Continue reading "Wimp and Andy and Jeff, Oh My!" »

Robert Novak is in the House!

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. - We’re about an hour from tip at Conte and we have our first celebrity sighting of the evening.

Standing in the catacombs of Conte, just outside the Maryland locker room was DC insider, Robert Novak. Novak is an Illinois alum, but his wife and son are Maryland alums.

Novak, a full 90 minutes before tip, was positioned behind the Maryland bench in his red Terrapin sweatshirt. We’re guessing he came on the team bus, seeing as he was so early in arriving to the arena. If you’r e ooking for him on TV, he is between the fourth and fifth seat of the Terp bench.

Mike Gminski, with his left ear hoop earring in tact, went over and shook the hand of Novak and his two friends on either side of him.

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December 09, 2006

Runnin' Rams Get Out Quick

KINGSTON, R.I. - Utah’s Luke Nevill is living up to the hype early. He’s a determined beast on the boards, he hit his first two of three from the field and sank one of two free throws before six minutes had elapsed. He has seven points at the under-12:00 timeout. URI leads 19-12 with 11:28 left in the half.

The Utes are clearly content with dumping it to Nevill on the block and letting him either score or get banged for the free throws (he shoots 70 percent from the line on the season).

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December 02, 2006

"Super Saturday" Turns Sour for UMass

AMHERST, Mass. - There was a time when this was exactly the kind of game the UMass program would have taken to the Mullins Center Court and absolutely throttled its BCS conference opponent. The place would have been going wild, the indoor humidity would have been climbing and John Calipari would have been exhorting the fans, his team and probably a few ushers into “Refusing to Lose.”

But that time is long ago (the early 1990s) and far away (six years and counting since a post-season berth) and second-year head coach Travis Ford has to settle for the moral victory of filling the house and keeping it close - for about eight minutes of game time. His Atlantic 10 Minutemen fell well short against the ACC’s Boston College on Saturday night, 84-73, before the first sellout crowd (9,493) in Amherst in almost five years.

Continue reading ""Super Saturday" Turns Sour for UMass" »

Garbage Time Ensues

AMHERST, Mass. - Well, so much for Cindex No. 10 UMass’s return to the national spotlight - at least for now. The Minutemen continue to trail 72-59 with just under four minutes remaining in the game and BC managed to expose the Minutemen a bit by slowing down the game and defending the 3-point shot.

UMass will still be fine in-conference, but this was the opportunity for a statement game against an ACC opponent and coach Travis Ford’s troops didn’t answer the bell. There’s no other way of stating it.

Continue reading "Garbage Time Ensues" »

Eagles Regain Control

AMHERST, Mass. - The Minutemen are more active on defense (the sign of a good halftime speech) and were managing to stay with the Eagles, but a regrouped Eagles team has once again extended its lead to 57-44 with 11:44 left.

Jared Dudley, who had five points, four rebounds and a team-high six assists in the first half, has stepped up his scoring in the second half and now has 10 points for BC. Rashaun Freeman continues to pace UMass with 16.

The re-energization that UMass’s mini-run gave the building has been all but extinguished.

Continue reading "Eagles Regain Control" »

Minutemen Battle Back

AMHERST, Mass. - UMass has been able to run a bit more to start the second half and the full court press after made baskets has rattled BC to some extent, as the Eagles half time lead has dwindled to five points, 46-41, with 15:43 left in the game.

. . . James Life hit s a three-pointer for UMass, with 15:47 left to cut the BC lead to 46-41 and bring the Mullins Center crowd back into the game. This is more of what the Minutemen were hoping for and BC is going to need to answer with some up and down play, as well.

Continue reading "Minutemen Battle Back" »

Halftime Stats and Observations

AMHERST, Mass. - BC leads 39-27 at the half and controlled the pace and tempo of play for much of the first 20 minutes.

BC is led by Sean Marshall’s 13 points, and Rashaun Freeman leads UMass with 12 points. Sean Williams has 10 points for BC and Stephane Lasme has 10 points for the Minutemen.

UMass has struggled mightily from 3-point land, hitting just 1 of 12 (8.3 %) - they shoot .355 from 3-point land for the season.

BC scored 12 points off of eight UMass turnovers, while the Minutemen had four points off five Eagle turns.

Continue reading "Halftime Stats and Observations" »

Minutemen Struggling

AMHERST, Mass. - Stephane Lasme and Rashaun Freeman have kept UMass in the game with 10 points each through the first 17:30 minutes, but BC has taken the air out of the Mullins Center with its 34-25 lead with 2:31 left in the first half.

. . . Through the first 12-plus minutes of the game, BC turned six UMass turnovers into nine points. Coach Travis Ford had expressed concern over his team’s turnover problems during the week (as well as his club’s free throw shooting ability).

Continue reading "Minutemen Struggling" »

BC Out Ahead Early

AMHERST, Mass. - The early pace is favoring UMass who likes the up-tempo style. BC likes the half court set better, and, in the early going, is using their interior people with more efficiency to take the 18-13 lead with 11:35 left in the first half. Both teams appear determined to get it inside the paint.

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Tippin' at the Mullins

AMHERST, Mass. - Tip is just a few minutes away and the Mullins Center is buzzing a bit as many of the 17,000 fans who witnessed a last second defensive stand by UMass football for a 24-17 win over UNH, have been able to beat the traffic over to the 9,493 capacity on-campus arena.

The day is being billed by the outstanding UMass SID, Jason Yellin, as “Super Saturday” in his comprehensive game notes package.

. . . Senior Associate Athletic Director, Thorr Bjorn, worked the student section, pressing the flash and even getting a full-band wave form the UMass pep band. Bjorn, an ex-Minuteman football player has the body and name of a fierce warrior, but the heart of a teddy bear. (The preceding paragraph is good for two beers, minimum, post-game.)

Continue reading "Tippin' at the Mullins" »

Official Word from the Official Scorer

AMHERST, Mass. - Hang Time was able to visit briefly with the Mullins Center official scorer, Howie Davis. (We actually had title of Official Scorer for several games in this building and often was forced to wear a sleeveless, ladies size medium, referee’s vest at the Scorer’s Table (for identification purposes, they say). We are still scarred from that experience, by the way, and have been considering suing the State of Massachusetts for un-due duress on formerly sane-minded individual.

Anyway, Davis, the former UMass Sports Information Director reports that this will be a great test for UMass to determine whether or not they are “ready for prime time.”

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The Co-Eds are in the House!

AMHERST, Mass. - We’re about an hour from tip and many of the good folks who were enjoying UMass football’s 24-17 win over UNH in the Division I-AA quarterfinals at nearby Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium are filtering into the Mullins Center.

At about 6:00, Boston Colleges players began shooting around on the Mullins’ parquet and so too did the Minutemen. UMass stopped about half an hour later, BC continued on.

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Welcome to Amherst (and my Alma Mater)

AMHERST, Mass. - A few ground rules are in order for this particular evening of live-blogging from the UMass-Boston College intra-state battle (LIVE on CSTV at 7:30 P.M. EST).

I am both a Massachusetts native (grew up 30 minutes north of Boston) and a University of Massachusetts graduate (1993 plus/minus). During my years at UMass as an undergrad and a few months of post-graduate employ, I was an assistant in the school’s sports information office. I left the two years before John Calipari and Marcus Camby took the Minutemen to the Final Four and I haven’t been back inside this building - The Mullins Center - in about a decade. I used to park in the building’s back lot EVERY day.

So, needless to say, there’s a history here for me. In addition to giving me a degree (thanks, in large part to the honorable Ralph Whitehead, Jr.), the once proud ZooMass gave me an identity. A decade and a half later, I actually still write the same column that I did for the student paper, The Daily Collegian for about the same number of readers and at about the same maturity level.

I grew up here to some degree - probably devolved a good bit, too. So there are some serious emotions rolling around as we chronicle this battle for Mass. Bragging rights.

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November 29, 2006

Izzo Hates Dudley - NOT!

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - In the aftermath of getting out-Spartaned by the Boston College Eagles 65-58, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo sought out Eagle co-captain (and 30-point scorer) Jared Dudley, for a few choice words.

“You’re one of my favorite guys,” the 12th year State head coach said to the senior, Dudley, “and I hate your guts.”

Recalling the brief conversation in the post-game, Izzo laughed at his own joke.

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BC Hangs On

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Jared Dudley has been Mr. Do-Right all night long for the Eagles, hitting huge shot after huge shot (most of the 3-point variety) and at the 9:29 mark of the second half had 25 points. MIchigan State had just 10 more than that as a team.

BC, at the under-8:00 media timeout now holds a commanding 52-36 lead and seems well on its way to giving the ACC its fifth win of the Challenge. With Virginia Tech leading Iowa by a similar margin, Hang Time is projecting another ACC win, in this the eighth challenge. We repeat, Hang Time is projecting an ACC win in the ACC-Big Ten challenge. Someone call Cronkite!

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Spartans Stay Scrappy

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - MIchigan State had been keeping things close, but a surge by BC has put the Eagles ahead 41-32 with 11:48 left in the game.

Drew Neitzel's first field goal of the game came at 12:22 and out of the timeout called by Izzo. At the under 15:00 mark, Neitzel had come down on a fast break and missed an open 3-pointer that would have been huge for him and his team. On the other end, Dudley answered with a transition two (almost a three) to keep BC comofrtably ahead.

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Halftime Stats and Observations

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Hang Time has to admit our surprise at the Eagle's 26-18 halftime lead. BC has out-rebounded the Spartans 21-15 and equalled the beefy Spartans in paint-scoring (14 for each).

MSU's leading scorer Drew Neitzel (17.7 ppg) has been held scoreless in the first half, while Jared Dudley paced the Eagles with 13 points and six rebounds.

BC has managed 11 points of the 11 State turnovers and MSu has turned nine BC turns into five points. Maybe the most telling stat of the half is BC scoring half of its points off second-chance opportunities (10 of the Eagle's 21 renounds have been on the offesnive end). State has just four offensive boards.

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BC Leads At the Half

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - BC senior co-captain Jared Dudley has been showcasing his skills that have NBA scouts seriously considering his value at the next level. Dudley, at 6-foot-7, 225-pounds, isn’t asked to shoot much froim the outside, has been crashing the boards and generally controlling the offense for BC. He is an intriguing NBA possibility because of his nose for the ball, but many scouts are still wondering about his outside shooting ability.

Dudley has 13 in the first half to lead all scorers as the Eagles lead 26-18 at the half.

Dudley’s probably a second-rounder at this point, but with a strong season could find himself in the mix for a first-round pick.

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Nip 'n Tuck

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - It’s been pretty much what you’d expect from two teams who don’t see each other often. The game has been an FX production, strictly Nip ‘n Tuck, and at the under-4:00 timeout, BC leads 21-18.

Michigan State has found success in the paint against BC’s defense, as its big men are highly skilled in the post. BC continues to struggle form 3-point land.

Jared Dudley is pacing BC with 11 points and Morgan leads MSU with seven.

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Tight One to Start

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - BC’s getting one shot and no more on the offensive end, as Michigan State pounds the boards on both ends of the floor. Still, the game is 8-8 at the second TV timeout, with 11:54 left in the first half.

. . . Michigan State’s sophomore center Idong Ibok picked up two early fouls (his second at 15:41), which should remove him from Izzo’s gameplan for the rest of the half. Big Red, junior center, Drew Naymick replaced Ibok.

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BC Fans Arrive Late - Per Usual

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Watch for the 3-ball to play a big part in the game tonight. Michigan State shoots the 3-poiner at a .446 clip, while BC has struggled from beyond the arc at just .263. The Spartans also defend the 3-ball particularly well (opponents shooting .290) and BC is at .377 in the category.

. . . The traditionally late-arriving BC crowd is, as tradition dictates, late in arriving. Traffic patterns around the Conte Forum are always a nightmare and parking in the area is virtually non-existent. With six minutes before tip, the building is less than one-fifth full.

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Twenty Minutes Til Tip

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - We are about 20 minutes from tip and Van Morrison is being played on the PA system, asking us to “come on and dance.”

Speaking of dancing, this is just the kind of match-up you get come Dance Time in March, say in a good Sweet 16 or Elite 8 contest. Two power teams from two power conferences who rarely meet, yet share similar beliefs.

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Wave That Gold Peak Hanky Proudly

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Both teams began shooting around about 5:30 - the Spartans in their all-green warmups, the Eagles with home white shorts and various maroon, white and black tops.

State’s got much more a of a structured pre-game scheudle, including lay-up lines. BC seems to be more loosely structured.

A few of the faithful BC students (face-painters and non) have entered the student seating section in the Hall of Fame endzone of Conte and for a few moments were razzing the Spartans as they went through warm-ups. They quickly stopped when they saw the size of the State frontline. Better wait til reinforcements come.

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Greetings from Conte Forum

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Welcome to the Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College for tonight’s ACC/Big Ten challenge match-up between 2-2 BC and 6-1 Michigan State.

We’re about 90 minutes from tip and Conte is starting to buzz a bit. Student workers have already placed gold Gold Peak Iced Tea rally towels on all of the seat backs, so expect to see a sea of gold hankies flapping in the background of the game.

. . . The game tips at 7 p.m. on ESPN with Sean McDonough and Hall of Famer Bill Raftery on the call. That alone, makes the game worth watching. And we don’t say that lightly.

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November 25, 2006

Eagles Air Grievances Virtually and In Reality

Hang Time

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Back in the day, before email, text messaging and instant messaging, the co-captain of a team that found itself in a funk might call a team meeting. Usually it would be "Players Only" and most of the time it would unfold like the Costanza’s “Airing of the Grievances” during Festivus (on the Seinfeld show). Go around the room, speak your peace and move on. (Wrestling between father and son is strictly optional.)

The hope is to clean the slate and build team unity.

That is exactly the kind of meeting that BC senior co-captain, Jared Dudley called for after the Eagles fell in lackluster fashion to Providence, 73-64, on Wednesday night. The loss dropped the Eagles to 1-2 and put a certain amount of panic in the streets near Chestnut Hill’s Conte Forum, as the Runnin‘ Rams of Rhode Island visited for a Saturday afternoon tilt.

Continue reading "Eagles Air Grievances Virtually and In Reality" »

Eagles Roll

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Today's romp over Rhody, 86-68, should serve as a good springboard for BC as it enters a meaty portion of it schedule. After Wednesday night's showdown with Michigan State (7 p.m., ESPN and live-blogged here at CSTV.com), the Eagles visit rising UMass next Saturday, then face Fairfield at home on Dec. 6 (a homecoming for former Skinner assistant, Ed Cooley), Maryland at home on the 10th, Sacred Heart on the 17th and then at Kansas on CBS, Saturday the 23rd.

That slate includes four games that, if won, will put BC right back in the Top 25, likely even in the Top 15, prior to the heart of the ACC schedule.

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Eagles in Cruise Control

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The Rams were decidedly spunkless coming out of the locker room to start the second half. A runway clapping circle was awfully quiet - more golf clap than motivational - and the Rams seems a bit despondent to open the second twenty.

BC's Sean Williams started out with a big boy block in the first minute of this half as well. Talk about setting a tone. Williams was credited with three blocks, two steals, an assist and four rebounds. He then blocked another one just under the 18:00 minute mark.

. . . BC leads 53-38 with 15:26 left in the game.

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Marshall Law

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - BC senior guard, Sean Marshall, has been BC's go-to guy in the first half, notching 18 points. His career high is 23 (at St. John's in 2004). BC leads 47-30 at the half and seems to have bounced back fully from the pitiful performance at Providence.

Marshall has done it from the outside and on the offensive glass as well, leading all scorers. Tyrese Rice has nine for BC and Jared Dudley has six. No one has more than eight points for Rhody (Will Daniels).

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Eagles Ease Ahead

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - BC has built its lead in the second half of the first 20 minutes and holds a 32-25 lead with 3:52 left. The Eagles are shooting 50 percent from the field and have been aided by the three-ball.

Sean WIlliams has been active on both sides of the court, but is again dominating on the defensive end.

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Eagles Rising

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - BC coach Al Skinner was disappointed in his teams un-aggressiveness on Wendesday night, but the Eagles seem to have mostly overcome that tryptophan-like state. With under eight minutes left in the first half, the Eagles hold a one point lead, 24-23.

BC is still struggling to find a flow on offense, as evidenced by a possession at the 8:00 minute mark, where the shot clock wound down all the way down forcing a long, shot clock beating three from Sean Marshall. It clanged harmlessly off the front rim.

Point guard Tyrese Rice has started with three staright 3-pointers for the Eagles and forced Jim Braon into a time out at the 11:49 mark. The message of that huddle: "Guard No. 4."

. . . Sean Williams had another monster rejection, which he kept in bounds and which a few on press row were claiming was goal-tending. Williams, on Wednesday night, discussed his appreciation of Bill Russell and the fact that a friend of his had made a highlight DVD of Russell that Williams watched frequently during the summer. Like Russell, Williams is shwoing a knack for not only getting the blocks, but keeping them in play, which can often leaqd to fast-break opportunities for the Eagles.

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Alive and Kicking

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Our pre-game technical difficulties seem to have been alleviated and we're back in blogging business. Thanks for your patience.

Conte Forum, which holds 8,606, is about half-filled at this point with a traditionally late-arriving crowd. (It also happens to be a perfect Fall day in New England, whihc could keep a few folks away on this Holiday weekend.)

. . . The Rams have been off since a Nov. 19 win over Centenary at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. BC last played on Wednesday night in its disappointing loss at Providence.

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BC-URI Set To Tip

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - We're experiencing some minor technical difficulties from the Conte Forum - despite some earnest efforts by the tremendous IT staff here at Boston College.

We might have a more sporadic posting schedule in-game, for this battle of BC (1-2) and the Univeristy of Rhode Island (3-2), but we promise to deliver post-game, should my wireless problems persist.

Meantime, the game is on NESN in the New England region, with Don Orsillo and Ron Perry.

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November 22, 2006

Turkey Day Will Be Sweet for Friars

PROVIDENCE - Both Boston College and Providence College were facing bounce back games on this, Thanksgiving Eve, 2006.

BC had lost AT HOME to Vermont, 77-63 nine days prior. PC had lost AT HOME to Brown, 51-41, just four days earlier.

So the “quicksand” that PC coach Tim Welsh said his Friars were walking around in the past few days was probably doubly quick and doubly sandy for Al Skinner’s Eagles.

The difference after 40 minutes of spirited play (mostly by the Friars) is that Welsh and his team (2-1) will enjoy their turkey, stuffing and desserts just a bit more because of the 73-64 win. Skinner and his Eagles (1-2) will likely have trouble even looking at the bird on their table.

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Friartown Not Friendly to Eagles

PROVIDENCE - The Dunk has been rocking a bit this second half as Providence extended its lead to eight, midway through the stanza and has not looked back since. The lead now stands at 65-58 with 1:33 left in the game

PC continues to win the battle of the boards with about six more total rebounds than BC. The Eagles are also struggling from 3-point land, where they are 2-of-14 for 14 percent.

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Friars Cling to Lead

PROVIDENCE - The second half continues to be a back and forth affair with BC starting assert itself a bit more, but Providence clinging to 49-45 lead with 11:45 left in the game.

Sean Williams for BC continues to fly all over The Dunk and has seven blocks and a couple of goal-tendings.

. . . The lingering question for the NBA-types on BC’s Jared Dudley is whether or not he can shoot it form the outside, something he’s not asked to do a lot of in BC’s system. Usually, though, it’s been our experience that feisty, hard-nosed players like Dudley manage to get onto someone’s roster and stick around the league a bit.

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Deadlocked at the Half

PROVIDENCE - This one very much feels like an old Big East brawl with PC and BC notched 33-33 at the half.

The Friars have played a spirited 20 minutes of basketball and continue to pound inside on the BC defense, especially with wide-body sophomore Jonathan Kale (who we earlier mis-identified as Herbert Hill. Kale’s got a few pounds on Hill, for sure).

Providence out-rebounded Boston College 24-17 in the first half, and despite shooting 36 percent in the half, the Friars still led for most of the stanza (BC shot 45 percent). Jared Dudley had 11 points and Sean Marshall added 10 for BC. For PC, Kale scored nine, Geoff McDermott had eight and Weyinmi Efejuku scored 7.

Sean Williams' line for BC was most impressive: zero points, five rebounds, six blocks, two assists, two turnovers and three fouls.

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Tight One at The Dunk

PROVIDENCE - The Friars are clearly looking to take it to he paint against BC, no matter what line-up Al Skinner sends out.

Sean Williams of BC has made his presence felt in his debut for the season, with at least three blocks in the first ten minutes of the game.

PC maintains a slim lead, 20-18, at the under-8:00 timeout.

. . . Six-foot-10, 240-pound senior Herbert Hill (Kinston, NC) for PC is a space-eater for sure. He’s been dominant inside early, backing down freshman Samari Spears (6-foot-6, 245).

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Friars Surge Out Early

PROVIDENCE - The Dunk has filled in nicely - no late arrivers these Friar Fans.

PC’s pounding the boards early with Geoff McDermott and Herbert Hill helping the Friars to an 11-4 lead at the first TV timeout.

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Tip from The Dunk in Five Minutes

PROVIDENCE - We’ll be keeping an eye on the point guard match-up for sure. BC’s sparkplug PG is Tyrese Rice, a sophomore from Richmond, who opened eyes as a freshman, garnering All-ACC rookie team honors last season.

For PC, sophomore Sharaud Curry from Gainesville, Georgia, led the Friars in assists last season and was an All-Big East rookie team pick.

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Twenty 'Til Tip

PROVIDENCE - Fans are trickling into the building formerly known as the Providence Civic Center and we’re about 20 minutes from tip.

PC is in their black warm-ups going through lay up lines and BC is doing the same in maroon gear. The PC band is playing just behind the Hang Time perch and this meeting of former league rivals is starting to build with a bit of tension.

Both teams come in needing the win (for self confidence and RPI purposes), but it’s also one of the oldest rivalries in college hoops and the teams have had their share of doozies over the years, during 100 meetings.

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Welcome to the Dunkin' Donuts Center

PROVIDENCE - We’re about an hour from tip between Boston College and Providence College and we’ve secured internet access over a network id’d as “P(rovidence) Bruins Locker Room.” We believe this means that we’re stealing signal from the Boston Bruins organization and it makes us quite happy to think that all these awful recent years of Beantown hockey are being avenged by me squatting on the Baby Bruins’ WiFi. (If we’re suddenly booted, we’ll know that the ghost of Bobby Orr is omnipresent.)

But we’re here at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for college hoops and an important night for both the Friars and the Eagles, who enter with matching 1-1 records.

. . . PC assistant coach Steve DeMeo stopped by the Hang Time perch. “Anyone read that thing?” he asked.

“Does my mom count?”

DeMeo, whose name surfaced for a few head jobs over the past couple of seasons, said his guys appear to be ready and understand the task at hand. He also thinks the Brown loss might have woken up his guys a bit.

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Dunkin' on over at The Dunk

EN ROUTE TO PROVIDENCE - Two of the Big Three of New England’s hoops’ elite - Boston College and Providence College - meet tonight in what can best be described as an “intriguing early season match-up.”

Both teams are coming off humiliating losses for their respective leagues. Most recently, the Big East’s Friars got whacked around by in-state “rival” Brown in a 51-41 home loss. Over a week ago, ACC power, BC got thwacked (77-63) at home by the America East’s upstart, Vermont Catamounts.

To re-cap: The Bears and the Catamounts pounced on the Friars and the Eagles in the course of six days, throwing all sorts of RPI computers into bronchitis-like, coughing fits.

. . . We’ve heard that WiFi can be sketchy inside The Dunk, so we can only guarantee that we will be filing at some point before, during and after the contest. Hopefully it will be from courtside and not the nearby Starbucks.

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October 22, 2006

Wrapping Up In Greensboro

Things are tapering down at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center. Below are some parting thoughts before heading out:

  • The polar opposite to the chattery Jared Dudley was Florida State's Al Thornton, who conducted his interviews in a sotto voce that befit his unassuming demeanor. No individual player around the ACC not named Tyler Hansbrough is receiving more preseason hype than Thornton, but it would seem that the versatile 6-foot-7 swingman is more interested in doing his talking on the hardwood. ("I'm really looking forward to getting out there and playing," Thornton said. "Playing every game like it's my last.")

  • Said Duke's DeMarcus Nelson of forward Josh McRoberts, whose decision to spurn the NBA for a second collegiate season was met with an overwhelming sense of relief in Durham, "I believe Josh made a great decision coming back. He can still improve and evolve into the player that he's going to become, and it's going to be an exciting time for him." (Then added the junior tri-captain, with a wry smile: "I'm selfish about it because it makes my job a lot easier with him out there.")

  • North Carolina State's Engin Atsur, who competed for Turkey in the FIBA World Championship this summer, intimated that playing college basketball wasn't the most sound financial choice -- but the correct personal decision: "Personally, for me, it was the best decision because I wanted to have my degree and also play at a high level of basketball. But if I really wanted to play just professional basketball, I could have just stayed with my club team and signed a contract, which would have been better for a professional career maybe. I could be at that [professional] level right now -- you're talking about four years that you're not playing professional basketball. Some people could see that as a large economic loss but, personally, I see it as a positive because I have a college degree now."

Getting Defensive

Last season, the ACC sent four teams to the NCAA tournament -- as many as the Missouri Valley Conference. Today, Maryland coach Gary Williams was one of several coaches who got defensive when the subject was brought up.

Williams mentioned the importance of an open campaign on behalf of the ACC, even entreating the league's television announcers to do their part.

"You’re the third-ranked conference in the country and you get four teams in. Why should anybody but the two conferences ranked ahead of us get more teams than us in the tournament?," Williams opined. "As a coach I’m saying right now -- and this is legitimate -- that we should get six or seven teams in the NCAA tournament.

"But I think it has to come from our league office, too. It’s one thing to send out facts and information, but the ear is really important. It’s important that the announcers in our regional games talk about the ACC like the Big Ten announcers do. It’s OK to be a homer when you’re talking about a league. If you’ve got two league teams playing or whatever, we shouldn’t worry about being politically correct about how we feel about the ACC."

Continue reading "Getting Defensive" »

Preseason Predictions Revealed

Attending members of the media voted for preseason predictions earlier in the afternoon. The results have since been tabulated and distributed around the workroom. Here's what were looking at:

North Carolina was a comfortable favorite to win the conference, collecting 59 of the 62 first-place votes cast and 741 total points. (Two dissenters voted for Duke to finish first, a third for Boston College.)

Continue reading "Preseason Predictions Revealed" »

Special K

Sure, Duke lost their All-American tandem of J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams to graduation. Yes, the Blue Devils don’t have a single senior on the roster.

But is Mike Krzyzewski’s establishment in Durham ever really down?

“I’d rather be expected to do well than to not do well,” the Hall of Fame coach said during an interview session with the print media. “There would be a high expectation if we returned everybody. There’s a high expectation with us just having one junior and no seniors. That just comes with the territory.”

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Going Coastal

There's a word for the weather in Greensboro this morning and I'd better not use it.

But cold wind and rain notwithstanding, your faithful narrator has arrived at ACC Operation Basketball at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center.

The media and players are upstairs eating for another 25 minutes before interview sessions get underway. Among the players in attendance are Boston College's Jared Dudley and Sean Marshall, Clemson's Vernon Hamilton and Cliff Hammonds, Duke's DeMarcus Nelson, Florida State's Al Thornton and Jerel Allen, Georgia Tech's Anthony Morrow and Mario West, Maryland's Ekene Ibekwe and D.J. Strawberry, Miami's Anthony Harris and Anthony King, North Carolina's Wes Miller and Reyshawn Terry, North Carolina State's Engin Atsur, Virginia's J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary, Virginia Tech's Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon and Wake Forest's Michael Drum and Kyle Visser.

October 13, 2006

White Takes Scrimmage, 38-22

"You can talk about it all day," said one of my fellow reporters, a seasonsed Carolina beat guy, "but when you see it out there, holy [expletive].

"What a bunch of talent."

Late Night with Roy Williams has wrapped up for the night. Thought the outcome of a mid-October scrimmage represents the very definition of meaningless, Danny Green scored 10 points and Tyler Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington added nine apiece as the White team topped the Blues, 38-22.

Continue reading "White Takes Scrimmage, 38-22" »

Scrimmage Looms

The skit portion of "Late Night" wrapped up with seniors Dewey Burke, Wes Miller and Reyshawn Terry each channeling his inner Baby to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" to the delight of the raucous crowd.

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"Late Night" Presses On

The variety show -- which, in all honesty, is more like a pep rally on steroids -- continued as Wes Miller and Reyshawn Terry led a group of players a series of silly skits performed to dance numbers like Skakira's "Hips Don't Lie" and Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" -- all with choreography as detailed as the most elaborate motion offense.

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Tobacco Road Two-Step

After spending the afternoon in Winston-Salem at Wake Forest's team media day, your faithful narrator high-tailed it down Interstate 40 to Chapel Hill for Late Night with Roy Williams, North Carolina's version of Midnight Madness.

Ninety-percent of the schools in college basketball would kill to draw this many fans (upwards of 20,000) for a home game. Any home game. In the bowels of the Dean Dome, I find myself in a tunnel behind the Carolina players dressed in blue jeans and warm-up jackets as alum Stuart Scott introduces them one by one. The atmosphere in the dark gymnasium is more Phish concert than sporting event -- smoke machines, dark-blue rolling lights and glowsticks strewn throughout the crowd.

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